A newly launched business hub aimed at driving growth and enterprise has celebrated its official opening, with a visit from Senator for South Australia Andrew McLachlan CSC.
'The Hub', based in Goolwa, provides businesses in the Alexandrina region with a variety of support services including access to industry experts, a business network and the use of professional, modern facilities.
Developed by the Alexandrina Council, The Hub was announced alongside an innovative businesses program and the 'Our Local' tourism website, as part of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jointly funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as part of the Drought Communities Funding Program and the Alexandrina Council, The Hub celebrated its official launch on Tuesday, September 15.
Speaking at the launch, Mr McLachlan said the project would support and promote economic development in the region.
"Our regional communities are the backbone of South Australia but continue to face drought conditions and now the effects of the pandemic," Mr McLachlan said.
"The federal government provided $400,000 to this project under the Drought Communities Programme - Extension, which has committed $301 million to community infrastructure projects over three years.
"The construction phase of this project has already supported 15 jobs and will continue to offer employment opportunities into the future to boost the economic prosperity of Alexandrina."
Alexandrina Mayor Keith Parkes welcomed local business leaders and industry experts to the launch and said The Hub would provide much needed support for enterprise across the region.
"This is an excellent outcome for those small businesses affected by recent bushfires and ongoing drought, and highlights our government's commitment to continue with recovery in light of the COVID-19 impacts," Mr Parkes said.
"With more than 2100 businesses across the Alexandrina region employing up to 7500 people, we need to ensure the right support measures are in place to accelerate recovery and build resilience into their business models."
Located adjoining Centenary Hall in Goolwa, The Hub has already proven a hit since it opened its doors in late August.
As part of the project, The Hub hosts 'Experts in Residence' and key partners including Regional Development Australia, Tourism Industry Council of South Australia, South Australian Department of Trade and Investment, and Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism.
The Alexandrina Council has additionally secured a new partnership - the first of its kind in local government - with the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia, who will support local tourism operators to capture a projected new regional wave of visitation.
Alexandrina's Chief Executive Officer Glenn Rappensberg said The Hub had been launched at a crucial time.
"The Hub will provide unique and new opportunities to learn, grow and take advantage of an exemplary network of like-minded business people. In a region that relies on local businesses to support a range of industries, the launch of the Hub is a conscious initiative of Council to support local business in general," Mr Rappensberg said.
The Department of Trade and Investment is now set to work alongside the Alexandrina Council to develop a pipeline of exporters that will support further growth in the region.
Events in The Hub and across the region kicked off in July, in Goolwa and Strathalbyn, with the latest workshop to be held at Strathalbyn Community Oval, focused on 'Smart Digital Marketing and Understanding What My Customers Want'.
For more information about The Hub and Alexandrina Council's business programs, visit: businessalexandrina.com.au