News

Backing for business hub Incubator would support entrepreneurs

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January 17, 2018

FIFTY people have completed a survey measuring the demand for a Business Incubator Hub in Heathcote, with the results finding there is a high level of interest for such a facility.

The City of Greater Bendigo and Advance Heathcote Inc. surveyed the community in December last year after the idea of a business incubator was raised during community consultation to update the Heathcote Community Plan.

Advance Heathcote Inc. secretary Sandra Slatter said the survey responses came mainly from current business owners or people who were considering starting a business in the next 12 months.

“We’ve received a fantastic response from residents who agree there is a need for a business incubator and better support for business owners,” Ms Slatter said.

In summary, the findings from the survey suggested:

■There is a high level of interest and support in the community for the project

■Fifteen of the respondents are considering commencing a business development in Heathcote in the next 12 months

■There is a significant group of existing home-based micro businesses in Heathcote whose owners would potentially benefit from an incubator

■The sources of incubator demand come from a wide variety of business types

■There is a high level of concern in the business community for the provision of reliable and fast wi-fi services

■The requirement for a shared, fully equipped conference room was highlighted as a major priority in an incubator for both internal and community use

■Availability of quality office space has also been identified as a high demand priority in any incubator development

■Responses indicated the presence of a number of home-based existing and start-up businesses that need commercial kitchen facilities

■Hot desking was a popular area of demand for inclusion in an incubator

■Incubator services identified a need for business mentoring, financial management services, marketing, sales and government support programmes

There was also reference to the lack of childcare facilities in Heathcote, which was seen as an inhibitor for business development and growth.

City Regional Sustainable Development Manager Trevor Budge said the next step is to inform the broader community at a community discussion this month.

“The discussion will establish the next steps for the project and if there is a commitment to continue with the business incubator initiative we’ll be looking for further input from those surveyed to determine the types of facilities and services local entrepreneurs want.”

The community discussion is on Monday, January 22 from 7pm-8.30pm at the Heathcote Community Bank Stadium Oval Room on High Street.

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