Have you ever harboured a dream of opening a café or bar? It’s something many people think about at some stage – the lure of being our own boss, transforming a little venue with your sense of character and style, and posting up the ‘open’ sign.
While most of us never act on the impulse, for those budding entrepreneurs who do, Lake Macquarie City Council has made the process of pursuing that dream a little easier by streamlining the application process for cafes, bars and restaurants.
We were the first regional council to adopt Service NSW’s Easy to do Business program, a digital platform that can cut out the need to deal with up to a dozen different government agencies when applying for licences and approvals to establish a new business in the hospitality industry. Following on from the success of that program, council is now working with Service NSW on a pilot program to offer a similar service to the building and construction industry.
This is one of the many ways council is working to assist business in our area, a topic I addressed at a function hosted by the Newcastle Business Club last week.
Councils take an active role in encouraging and steering the economic development of their cities, both through targeted programs and by providing infrastructure and services that help business to thrive.
Lake Macquarie has an independent economic development organisation, Dantia, dedicated to identifying new business and investment opportunities and working with the business community and other stakeholders to create new industries and job opportunities.
In July 2016, we established the Dantia Smart Hub, or DaSH, a co-working hub in Charlestown that now hosts more than 50 start-ups, freelancers and small businesses.
We host large-scale events that boost local business and build tourism opportunities, such as the Australian Offshore Superboats Championships and the NSW State Surf Life Saving Championships.
Council also stimulates business through infrastructure projects such as the improvement of our town centres, and the imminent building of the Munibung Road extension, which will create a direct link between the commercial growth areas of Boolaroo and Cardiff.
Lake Macquarie is a thriving, evolving city, and council is always interested in hearing from people with ideas and proposals that will enhance economic development.