Whether it's the allure of being your own boss or nursing a beyond brilliant idea that nobody else has thought of (yet), starting a business is something that almost everyone daydreams about at some point or another. But, for fear of failure or — more likely — lack of funds, most never make the leap. And it's understandable — as most small business owners will tell you, the first few years are tough. This is particularly true for people with innovative ideas that break from tradition, but that's exactly the kind of business Frankston City Council is looking to invest in. The city's offering grants of up to $30,000 for entrepreneurs who want to invest in Frankston and start up viable businesses by the bay. Huge news for businesses right there.
Why Frankston? Well, the southeast suburb is undergoing what can only be described as a cultural and culinary renaissance. Savvy entrepreneurs and hospitality renegades are finding their feet not in the big smoke of Melbourne but in the smaller communities, which are becoming testing grounds for experimental ideas. And it makes sense — cheaper rent, better access to services and plenty of hungry locals make a perfect breeding ground for new businesses and hospitality startups.
In a bid to revitalise the waterfront, Frankston City Council has been doing its bit to support vibrant businesses in the little bayside 'burb. Its grants are designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses get a leg up — and, according to the council, it's generated 421 new jobs and $41.7 million in economic output so far.
This year, the council has doubled the grant money on offer which will help startup businesses and ambitious hospitality entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life. Business operators can apply for up to $30,000 in funding if it can prove the business will contribute value to the people of Frankston and create vibrancy in the entrepreneurial scene. To a hungry hospitality entrepreneur, $30k is a lot of money and can be the difference between success and failure in those fledgling days of a business venture's life.
And thanks to a development boom, Frankston has a surplus of retail and hospitality venues to fill. Plus, it has supremely easy access to the best wine and produce of the Mornington Peninsula region, which puts it in prime position to become a hub for the region's foodies and hospitality businesses.
One such business is Cuvée Chocolates, which was awarded funding in 2016. Its business premise is simple: create artisanal chocolate pairings in partnership with the region's best wineries and watch them walk off the shelves. It now supplies product to 107 wineries and boutiques across the Mornington Peninsula. The grant was also previously awarded to a hospitality group who wanted to open the region's first Korean barbecue joint. It's tragic that Frankstonians were living without Korean BBQ in their lives but Geonbae soon changed that. With a little leg up, the business was able to purchase equipment and bring family-style barbecue plates to the table at the same time.
Hospitality businesses do it tough in this corner of the world, with fierce competition, hefty set-up costs and a discerning epicurean audience, but we're always stoked to see investment in small business and startups, especially if that means more artisanal chocolate and Korean barbecue for all.
Brewing with business ideas? To apply for this scheme, your first step is to attend a compulsory information session on one of the following dates: Thursday, August 23; Tuesday, August 28; Wednesday, September 12; and Tuesday, September 25. If you can't make it in person, the council is also hosting two webinar sessions on Friday, September 7 and Monday, October 1. Check times and register for a session over here.