The grant was introduced in April 2020 as one of 21 measures in Council’s Stage One Economic Response to COVID-19 Package. The grant, aimed at small to medium businesses in Greater Shepparton, aimed to help improve the e-commerce profiles of local businesses to ensure they could continue trading during the uncertainty of COVID-19.
The grant funded projects of up to $3,000 and could be used for website design and development, e-commerce platforms, online content development, digital marketing and promotion, improving social media presence or mentoring and training in online activities.
A total funding pool of $170,000 saw 60 local businesses receive support via the program. The successful businesses were from a range of industries including tourism and the visitor economy, hospitality, beauty therapy, professional services and retail. The below are just a snapshot of the diverse businesses supported via the program:
BelCibo owner Belinda Amodio said the grant ensured they were able to keep staff employed during the lockdowns last year.
“Proceeds from the grant were invested in our website and social channels which enabled us to keep customers updated with our service offering during the COVID-19 impacted periods,” she said.
“When we were forced to move to takeaway only we were able to relay this information and keep customers ordering, which kept our staff employed throughout each lockdown.”
It was a similar story for Asthetique Skin Care owner Shellie Pearson, who said she jumped at the opportunity to receive the Quick Response Grant when COVID-19 hit.
“The money I received through the grant enabled me to put an online shop in place on our website which was something that became essential to us, not only surviving the lockdown period, but left us thriving,” she said.
“It was always something I had wanted to do, so when COVID-19 hit it was the perfect time to start it, and then to have it paid for by Greater Shepparton City Council was even better.”
Mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe said Council were extremely pleased to see several local businesses benefit from the grant, not just during the height of the pandemic but also now during economic recovery.
“We received a fantastic response last year from businesses applying to receive a Quick Response Grant,” she said.
“Council were pleased to be able to provide local businesses with some funding to ensure they could maintain trade during a tough time.
“While we all experienced the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our small businesses suffered the most. It is encouraging to see how businesses have utilised this funding to change the way they operate and reach customers through different means, while leaving a legacy for the future.”