Supporting small business

Many people with technical skills or a good idea set up a business only to find their venture floundering due to lack of support and business knowledge.

Studies have found approximately 80% of new ventures go to the wall within the first two years. Business planning, marketing and financial management skills are vital for success. Few people go into business with all these attributes nor can they usually afford to buy this expert advice. Mentoring and support during the first few difficult years can make all the difference.

A solution is business incubators. Proving very successful overseas, an incubator environment can reduce the failure rate of fledgling businesses from the current 80-90% to around 10-20%.

With over 2,000 new small business ventures being established in Darebin in the past two years, Council is currently undertaking a feasibility study into how business incubators might assist these and future ventures. Requiring the purchase or lease of appropriate accommodation, an incubator would help small businesses to establish, flourish and become big business.

“Business incubators reduce the stress and loneliness of the starting up period of small business,” said Sue La Greca, Economic Development Manager. “This is not a case of providing cheaper rent. Rents are charged at market rates but what the incubator offers is the sharing of resources, such as clerical support and equipment; computer hardware and software; pooling ideas and networking with others; plus invaluable mentoring, support, advice and training from the incubator manager and from the incubator business support program.

“Where a number of incubators are established, there is greater opportunity for networking and the sharing of skills and expertise across the various businesses, involved.”

Dr Bob Meeda, manager of a major network of 19 incubators in the USA, is adamant that incubators are not ‘artificial respirators’ but rather they are a support service where businesses can grow and flourish.

Incubators cannot perform miracles, some ventures will still fail however many others will thrive and prosper with the vital support an incubator environment can provide.

Darebin is aiming to have its first incubator operational by the end of the year.

For further information contact Sue La Greca, telephone (03) 9230 4444.