Sunday, June 23, 2024

Brisbane powers female business growth

Fifty-two women-led businesses will share in a grants pool of $250,000 to help grow their business impact in Brisbane, the city’s council has announced.

Beekeepers, hat makers, lawyers, and Christmas tree farmers are among the diverse group of female business owners receiving Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grants in 2023.

Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner said the funds will be used by female business leaders to purchase vital equipment, business services, and training to help grow their business impact in Brisbane.

He said the diversity of sectors represented among this year’s recipients illustrated the impact women were making to strengthen the local economy.

“No area is off-limits for women in business and this year’s grant recipients are proof there’s growing representation and ownership across sectors including health, legal, human resources and the creative industries,” Lord Mayor Schrinner.

“Brisbane is one of the most progressive, small-business friendly cities in Australia and we want to support people with great ideas, no matter their background, age, or gender.”

Deputy Mayor, Krista Adams said the grants were critical for what is one of Brisbane’s fastest growing business sectors.

“Women now account for just over a third of business ownership locally. Part of being the most small business friendly city is making sure female business owners have the tools and support they need to grow, evolve, and thrive,” Cr Adams said.

“Last year’s recipients have told us they’ve used their grants to grow their customer base and enhance their services. In a number of cases this has resulted in increased revenue, new jobs for local people, and stronger connections in the community.”

Now in its second year, the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant has supported more than 100 female business owners.

This year, 81% of all the businesses supported are wholly owned by women. These include 14 businesses offering professional services, including legal and human resources, 11 businesses focused on healthcare, and 10 businesses in retail.

(Photo: Lovestar).

One of this year’s recipients, Helen Bayley, started her business, Lovestar, to help cope with post-natal depression after the birth of her third child in 2013.

Now based in Northgate, Lovestar sells its vases – shaped like Beyonce, Dolly Parton and Frida Kahlo – around the world. 

“I started posting my creative endeavours on Instagram… When I took my first batch to a market they sold out,” Ms Bayley said.

“The creation of the business literally saved me and helped pull me out of my depression.”

Helen says she has overcome countless challenges, including a devastating warehouse fire, to build her business into the success it is today.

Beyond financial support, all Brisbane recipients will benefit from a 12-month development program, delivered by Brisbane Business Hub, to help boost leadership skills and make vital connections within the community. 

Jennifer McIntyre, who received a grant last year, said the support to buy new machinery had meant she could hire an extra staff member at her stitchery – 57 Perches. 

“I am very grateful for the boost this grant has given me as a businesswoman,” Ms McIntyre said.

“With our new equipment, and bigger team, we have the capacity to service more clients and to fill client orders more efficiently. The connections we’ve made have been invaluable and have led to several business contracts and collaborations.”

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the number of female business owners in Brisbane is growing with women accounting for 36% of business ownership in 2021, up from 34% in 2016. Nationally, women represented 34% of business owners in 2021, compared to 33% in 2016.

For more information on the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant program, and a list of this year’s recipients visit: https://businessinbrisbane.com.au/women-in-business-grant-recpients/.

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