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Victoria’s small businesses to get digital boost

A local hospitality tech start-up recently won a place alongside global software giants in an Andrews Labor Government program that will give Victorian businesses emerging from the pandemic a major digital boost. The Collingwood-based company provides digital menus and ordering for restaurants, cafes and bars and its services will now be available to fellow Victorian businesses as part of a unique rebate program launched on 16 November 2020.

The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program will help eligible sole traders and micro and small businesses in all sectors to build digital capability and support their day-to-day business operations. Businesses can trial selected digital products including website, e-commerce, finance and business management products and will be able to sign up for one of the available products with a rebate of up to $1,200 available for 12 months’ access.

Software applications offered by the tech companies are part of the program. The hospitality tech start-up has experienced significant growth as more businesses adapt to online and contactless practices – the company, established in 2018, now has more than a million users a month and 1,000 participating hospitality venues on its books.

Hospitality venues Welcome to Thornbury in Northcote and The National Hotel in Richmond have both been using the app as they reopen following the easing of restrictions, making their premises safer for customers and staff.

Software providers will give businesses access to product-specific support and training during the trial period and once the product is purchased under the rebate program. Businesses will also be able to participate in free digital workshops offered through Small Business Victoria and in face-to-face workshops once it is safe to do so.

The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program is part of the Labor Government’s commitment to helping businesses build their digital capability which will be essential as we continue to move towards COVID Normal.

The Minister for Small Business stated that the government is giving businesses the chance to get a tech edge they might not otherwise have had, which will help operators adapt, recover and grow. She added, “it’s fantastic” that the tech start-up is on board to provide its digital products to hospitality businesses adapting to new ways of doing business.

The co-founder and CEO of the hospitality tech start-up stated, “It’s so exciting to be part of this program, helping hospitality venues across Victoria adapt the latest digital menu, ordering and payment technology, to make them safer and boost their bottom line.”

The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program 

On 13 September 2020, the Victorian Government announced the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program, a $20 million initiative to help Victorian sole traders, micro and small businesses adapt to a digital operating environment. The program is open to Victorian businesses from all industry sectors and places are limited. Businesses must register for this program online via the Business Victoria website.

Registered businesses may then access selected products for trial and view the workshops and training calendar. They can attend free digital adaptation workshops offered via the Business Victoria website. Workshops will be delivered across Victoria in face-to-face (subject to COVID restrictions) and online formats.

Moreover, registered businesses can trial their digital products on offer via the Business Victoria website. Available digital products include online website, e-commerce, finance and business management tools. These businesses must purchase a digital product available under this program before applying for a program rebate.

A registered business will be invited to apply for a rebate and will be asked to provide evidence of purchase. Applicants will be contacted six weeks after applying for a rebate to ensure their business has established product use and begun its digital adaptation journey.

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