Even though we are a relatively new organisation, with an executive of just five people, the team have been working hard behind the scene looking for ways to help local businesses. Our activities since Christmas include:
Along with the Chamber Chairs/Presidents of other fire affected regions, our Chair attended a meeting with the Prime Minister, other Federal Ministers and relevant organisations to ensure the plight of our local businesses was recognised. This resulted in the development of strong relationships with federal Stakeholders and the acknowledgment that businesses were being neglected in the bushfire assistance programs.
We invited Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills and Family Business, and the Hon Karen Andrews, Minister for the Department of Industry, Science and Technology to come to Braidwood and see the region first hand. We took the opportunity to highlight the inadequacy and red tape issues of the funding that was ignoring the plight businesses who were fire affected rather than impacted. Senator Cash actively promoted the "More than a cul-de-sac" weekend and shopping in Braidwood to her extensive social media network and actively pushed for fire affected businesses to be considered in the allocation of resources and funding.
We sought a donation to assist with businesses who were struggling, and, with thanks to the Anglican Church, we were able to donate, in total, $2000 worth of vouchers, able to be spent in any Braidwood Business. This was promoted to all members by email, and to all Braidwood businesses regardless of membership via Facebook and word of mouth. Registration was simply by emailing your name and contact details to our secretary, and, other than for auditing purposes, they have been sealed to ensure privacy.
We invited leaders from Regional Development Australia Southern Inland, Small Business Ombudsman’s Office and Dept of Industry Science and Technology to lead a panel discussion for businesses to understand some of the assistance available. Businesses who have followed up on those opportunities are experiencing positive benefits.
By invitation, our Chair represented Braidwood at a Tourism Stakeholder gathering in Braidwood and at the Australian Chamber of Commerce Tourism Recovery Summit in Batemans Bay. This gave us valuable insights into the direction of tourism post fires, the likely impact of COVID19, and allowed us to gain a direct voice with the ACCI.
We gained significant media coverage in Canberra and attracted a significant number of visitors to Braidwood over the January long weekend with the “More than a cul-de-sac” event.
We met with Council to discuss opportunities to drive business to the region.
We arranged representation of our food producers with a stall (at no charge to the producers), at the Food in the Capital event in Canberra (postponed to November 2020)
We worked with Bragging Rights Events to hold a workshop for regional women in business, supporting them in the growth of their marketing and social media strategies.