Hinchinbrook grant applications surge following webinar.
The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) has revealed a significant upsurge in grant applications from the Hinchinbrook Shire as local businesses take a proactive approach to disaster recovery.
Local applications for the $10,000.00 Small Business Disaster Recovery Grants have increased considerably following a Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism webinar in June that featured Ben Verning from the Townsville Small Business Recovery Centre and Tish Andrews from DESBT.
Chamber President Rachael Coco said the spike in grant applications was an excellent outcome that indicated Hinchinbrook businesses were prioritising innovation, recovery and resilience and she commended business owners for “taking advantage of the support available to them”.
“When chamber saw how quickly funds under round one of the adaption grant program and QRIDA loans were exhausted, we thought it was important to focus on some of the other under-utilised grants and support mechanisms that are available” said Ms Coco.
“The Small Business Disaster Recovery Grant was actually released in 2019 to assist businesses who were impacted by the monsoon event, but chamber realised that any business being affected by COVID-19 was most likely impacted by the monsoon so we needed to remind the business community that this assistance was still available” she said.
“Sharing information has formed an important part of chamber’s role in the community, especially in the face of the pandemic, but COVID-19 forced us to leverage technology to get our message out there and we’re really pleased to learn that our webinars were effective.”
Chamber recently organised a Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant workshop, delivered by Small Business Financial Counsellor Russell Lowry, where attendees also learned more about the disaster recovery grants.
“Some businesses have realised that they’re not eligible for the adaption grants but they can tap into similar assistance through the disaster recovery grants, which has different eligibility criteria” said Ms Coco.
“I urge business owners to reach out to chamber or the Townsville Small Business Recovery Centre or Russell Lowry to learn more about how these grants can be utilised, because sometimes we can’t appreciate or visualise the potential benefits until someone appraises your individual, personal circumstances and explains how you can take advantage of the support and add value to your business” she said.
The Small Business Disaster Recovery grants are open until June 2021 – unless funds are expended beforehand – and as of 10am Monday the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant program has only reached 44% of the funds allocated to regional Queensland under Round Two.
“There’s definitely still time to lodge an application under either program so don’t hesitate to reach out for more information or assistance” said Ms Coco.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anyone who is capable of running a business is capable of writing a grant application, so don’t let your fear of the unknown stop you from reaping the rewards of any assistance you might be eligible for” she said.
“Small businesses provide the employment and community support that regional communities rely upon, so it’s only fair that when times are tough they get the support they need to resume normal trading and improve their operations for the future.”