More than 200 matches between businesses and mentors have been made, with each engagement involving up to four two-hour sessions, Victorian Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said in a statement.
Further, more than 90 mentors have been signed to provide guidance in five key areas, including:
- business recovery
- market transformation
- digital literacy and engagement
- market and supply chain diversification
- reskilling and training
The Victorian government launched the program in August in partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“There is no handbook for a pandemic, but there are experts that can help businesses adapt their strategies and operations,” Ms Pulford said.
“This program offers one-on-one sessions and produces an action plan, and I encourage businesses from across Victoria to consider if it could help them.”
Other mental health support programs established by the Victorian government include the $26 million wellbeing initiative with St John Ambulance to provide accredited mental health support training to chambers of commerce across Victoria.
In response to the program, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said local chambers of commerce have direct links to the small-business community, and that it’s logical to provide them with training to not only respond to small-business owners experiencing stress and identify the signs of someone who needs support.
“I would encourage all small-business owners to seek help if they need it — there are plenty of free support services out there. You don’t have to face this alone,” Ms Carnell said.