NSW Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King has partnered with the NSW Business Chamber to launch the Small Business Friendly Councils pilot program, which aims to increase the number of councils working proactively to engage with small businesses.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner said the program is the first of its kind in Australia, giving councils in NSW the opportunity to be formally recognised as ‘Small Business Friendly’. The pilot program will be developed in collaboration with Lismore City Council (regional representative), Boorowa Shire Council (rural representative), Tenterfield Shire Council (rural representative) and Parramatta City Council (metropolitan representative), before being rolled-out to councils across NSW.
Kings said the program recognises that not all councils engage with small businesses in the same way.
“There is now an opportunity for councils that are willing to make small businesses a priority to provide leadership in the development of ‘Small Business Friendly’ best practice,” King said. “The premise behind the ‘Small Business Friendly Councils’ initiative is simple – where councils are proactively supporting and engaging with small business, the local community and economy will be thriving, more vibrant and more resilient.”
The Small Business Friendly Councils pilot aims to achieve four outcomes:
1. Develop a “Small Business Friendly Charter” outlining key principles for becoming “Small Business Friendly”. All councils seeking recognition under the scheme will be required to adopt and adhere to the Charter.
2. Provide a diagnostic evaluation tool to assist councils to identify their strengths and weaknesses in becoming “Small Business Friendly”. The diagnostic will also identify opportunities for councils and make recommendations for enhancing service and engagement with small businesses.
3. Provide a tiered recognition system for councils to visibly recognise their efforts in engaging with the small business community. The recognition system will be based on the outcomes of the diagnostic evaluation, local appraisal, and adherence to the Small Business Friendly Charter.
4. Identify other forms of recognition to encourage participating councils to work towards higher levels of accreditation and to encourage other councils to submit themselves for evaluation as part of the “Small Business Friendly Councils” program.
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