COVID-19 Fast Response Grants guarantee on-line success for native companies

The Greater Shepparton City Council’s COVID-19 Quick Response Grants have helped several local businesses thrive by switching online during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant was launched in April 2020 as one of 21 measures under the Council’s Phase 1 Economic Response Package to COVID-19. The grant, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses in the Greater Shepparton area, should help improve the e-commerce profiles of local businesses to ensure they can 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 advertising, improving social media presence, or mentoring and training be used in online activities.

With a total funding pool of $ 170,000, 60 local businesses received support through the program. The successful companies came from a number of industries including tourism and visitor industries, hospitality, beauty therapy, professional services, and retail. A snapshot of the various companies supported by the program is highlighted below:

BelCibo owner Belinda Amodio said the grant ensured they could keep staff busy during last year’s lockdowns.

“The proceeds from the grant were invested in our website and social channels, which enabled us to keep our customers informed about our service offerings during the periods affected by COVID-19,” she said.

“When we were forced to switch take-out only, we were able to share that information and keep customer orders up, keeping our staff busy during each lockdown.”

It was a similar story for Asthetique Skin Care owner Shellie Pearson, who said she took the opportunity to receive the Quick Response Grant when COVID-19 hit.

“The money I received through the scholarship enabled me to set up an online store on our website which became essential for us not only to survive the blackout but to thrive,” she said.

“It has always been something I wanted to do. When COVID-19 hit it was the perfect time to start and then it was even better to have the Greater Shepparton City Council pay for it.”

Mayor Cr Kim O’Keeffe said the council was delighted to see several local businesses benefiting from the grant, not only during the height of the pandemic but also now during the economic recovery.

“We got a fantastic response from companies applying for a Quick Response Grant last year,” she said.

“The council was pleased to provide some funding to local businesses to ensure they can keep trading going during a difficult time.

“While we were all experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our small businesses suffered the most. It is encouraging to see how companies have used this funding to change the way they work and reach customers in different ways while leaving a legacy for the future. “

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