Applications open to shine a light on small business

By Jess Carrascalao Heard

Longstanding small businesses in the City of Melbourne will be celebrated and recognised for their contribution to Melbourne, with applications for the Lord Mayor’s Commendations program now open.

Eligible businesses have until early May to apply for the program, which sees winners enjoy publicity and marketing support through the council’s channels, as well as networking opportunities.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said small businesses “are the beating heart of the city”.

“Melbourne’s small businesses have had their toughest year in decades, and we want to celebrate their resilience as the city recovers,” she said.

The commendations program was suspended last year due to COVID-19.

It was a tough year for businesses in the local area, with foot traffic in the CBD sinking to just 10 per cent of the previous year’s figures during the second lockdown.

Cr Capp said that the council would continue to support business through the economic recovery, with the pandemic creating “the most difficult trading conditions in living memory”.

She said small businesses were critical to the city’s economy and created lots of job opportunities.

“[Small businesses] are crucial to a thriving, buzzing and creative Melbourne,” Cr Capp said.

“Small businesses are the beating heart of our city. They keep our residents, workers and tourists well-fed, expertly styled, and immersed in culture.”

To be eligible for the commendations, applying businesses must employ 20 people or less, have been in continuous operation for more than 10 years, and be located within the City of Melbourne.

There are five categories for the commendations:

  • 10-plus years
  • 25-plus years
  • 40-plus years
  • 50-plus years
  • Generational.

Any business venture which fit these criteria are encouraged to apply, with more than 620 small businesses receiving recognition through the commendations since the program began more than 15 years ago.

Past recipients of the commendations including Nicole Papasavas at Stalactites Restaurant (pictured), Jeff Gordan from the Lady Cutler Melbourne Showboat, and barrister and solicitor James Mapleston, who operates his own legal practice in the CBD.

The Lord Mayor said the council was proud to support independent and family-owned business.

“Whether you’re a hairdresser, physio, accountant, shoe cobbler, dentist, dry cleaner or sell the freshest produce, I encourage all small businesses with a long-standing connection to our city to apply,” she said.

Applications for the commendations opened on April 14 and businesses have until Tuesday, May 4 to get their applications in.

For more information: melbourne.vic.gov.au

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