Some weeks ago I learned that there has been an ongoing HCC funded project for the past 3 years called Hello Hobart. It is designed to promote and support Hobart small businesses. It’s a program that costs ratepayers $70,000 per annum. However, very few small business owners have ever heard about it.
Hello Hobart is centered on a very small area in the CBD. The borders are Harrington, Argyle, Brisbane and Macquarie Streets. Only businesses in that area have had access to free online and social media promotions, interviews, networking events and training.
The select group of businesses don’t pay a fee for all this extra support, they just happen to be located in the right place. I operate a small firm just two blocks outside of this small exclusive border. Along with many other business owners including retail, hairdressing, cafés and restaurants none of us are considered “Hobart” enough by the Hobart City Council to access this support. We are also at a disadvantage because we don’t benefit from the large scale council parking facilities in the way businesses in the CBD do.
Australia Post classifies our addresses not as West Hobart or North Hobart. We are located just 2 blocks from Brisbane Street we are all considered to reside in Hobart.
Hobart ratepayers reside anywhere from Lenah Valley, South Hobart and West Hobart to New Town and Sandy Bay. Why, then, are businesses outside of this exclusive area considered unworthy of this free support?
I am happy to see that the Hobart City Council recognizes that small businesses need support, but it is disingenuous of them to just select an elite few leaving the rest of us business owners, who take significant personal risk to have a go, to our own devices.
My vision is to see small businesses in the HCC municipality given equal access to these promotional and educational services. We are, after all, contributing rates to the same council!
Louise Bloomfield is running for Deputy Lord Mayor in the upcoming Hobart City Council Elections.