As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic saw regional centres across the country boom with city dwellers migrating from the major cities that were seeking refuge from harsh city lockdowns. Technological advances and the rise of remote working have allowed for more permanent migration – which ultimately, sees a new demographic, new businesses and community cultures across many local districts.
Local regional governments are now in the position where they need to wrap their arms around, and build, tight knit communities of businesses, people and services. The first option is to throw money around. But, as with some of the great regional councils we work with, there are many ways to achieve this.
Some of our regional local governments have developed ingenious solutions for small businesses, some of which go beyond just helping businesses survive. They are actually positioning businesses in their communities for a stronger market position even in a post-Covid-19 world. Here are some other ways:
Gaining federal funding for local communities is often challenging and based on a multitude of factors. However, based on our experience, regional communities who are promoting and prioritising local business and tourism programs – as opposed to using federal funding for government expenses – are seeing great results.
Some regional councils in the country are issuing local business grants to help business owners to build ecommerce and online trading sites, thus allowing them to expand their revenue generating capabilities outside of the council geography. This then benefits the local council as the business operations are held there, creating jobs, improved economic output and local expenditure.
Some local regional councils are utilising the benefit of extra migration to shape their future workforce and small business development. Some of these include workforce training programs in computing skills, or remote customer service skills that allow local workers to gain long term remote employment. Others include support for local businesses to hire local staff and fund their training on-site – and source talent from nearby districts.
With a large new population and vast geographic layout, regional local councils can benefit greatly from implementing a digital community function that caters for job seekers, business marketing, local business sales and local projects up for tender. Localised customer Goldfields-Esperance Shire runs this successfully – covering a huge 770,000+ square kilometre region, the G.E Business Register connects over 55,000 people and thousands of local businesses with engaging content, community interaction and business opportunities.
Innovative regional local councils that have created centralised and user-friendly digital communities, such as Localised customer GROW Shepparton, have created a digital environment that makes it easy for new and existing regional businesses to learn what government and private work tenders are coming up, and also for local businesses to support each other through services and projects.
These pioneering councils and governments give businesses better access to information, as well as resources on how they can support their regional businesses to operate online.
Before the pandemic, regional councils and government agencies were scratching their heads trying to figure out how they can bring new businesses and people into their local communities. Post-pandemic, it is now clear that the forward-thinking local governments are the ones that are incorporating digital strategies, flexible funding models and building business-value programs for the long term.
Localised partners with local councils to empower local business growth, grow local spend and increase job opportunities through end-to-end delivery of digital communities. We collaborate with council leaders to ensure they have the best opportunities to execute on their economic development strategy by implementing their local digital community and ensuring they are enabled from day one.
For examples of the councils we’ve been working with, go here.