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City of Sydney local business support: Apply now

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The City of Sydney has launched the third round of the Retail Innovation Program as part of a $72.5 million package to support local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivered over 12 weeks and at no cost to participants, the program empowers small business owners to adapt and innovate in the face of unprecedented change.

It has been developed alongside early-stage investment group Investible and is now accepting applications for its third cohort. 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the Retail Innovation Program provides local businesses with an opportunity to adopt new ways of thinking, gain new skills and work collaboratively to support economic and social recovery. 

Now more than ever our local businesses and community organisations need access to support and services that will help them recover and grow,” The Lord Mayor said.

“Our program has been developed to support our local retail and hospitality businesses, which like many businesses throughout the city, are struggling.

“Sadly, many workers have lost their income as businesses closed. This program is an opportunity to adapt to the current environment and develop skillsets that will enable them to thrive.”

Related: “How to make physical retail stores relevant again”

The first two rounds of the Retail Innovation Program assisted 35 local businesses through the peak of the pandemic. One of these businesses was SOUL Dining in Surry Hills who used the funding to create BOWL by SOUL, a delivery sub-brand.

“We knew takeaway was our only option to survive, but our contemporary food couldn’t be experienced in the same way in a takeaway container,” said owner Daero Kim. “The Retail Innovation Program provided a framework to help us prioritise our focus.”

“The new BOWL by SOUL concept was such a hit that we’re now working to find a separate location for it. It’s quite amazing that through this program, we were able to turn COVID restrictions into a new business opportunity.”

A virtual information night for those looking to apply will be held on 28 October 2020.

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Ellie Dudley
Ellie Dudley
Ellie Dudley is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in the startup space and current affairs reporting . She has a specific interest in foreign investment and the Australian economy.