City of Sydney to Help Struggling SMBs Tackle Digital Economy

April Davis By April Davis | 06 Feb 2019

The City of Sydney has teamed up with an investment firm to launch its first ‘Retail Innovation Program’, which is aimed at helping small-medium retailers thrive in the growing e-commerce market.

The City of Sydney is looking to help embattled bricks-and-mortar retailers enter/accelerate their growth within the digital market with the launch of its first ‘Retail Innovation Program’.

Working with investment firm, Investible, the local government will be running an eight-week accelerator program that combines face-to-face learning and mentoring with innovative online modules that are designed to help businesses make the shift to online trade.

Commencing with a boot camp in March 2019, 15 Sydney-based SMBs will reportedly be pushed to re-think their traditional business models, transforming staff into forward-thinking, entrepreneurial teams.

The City’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore believes the program is a reflection of Sydney’s commitment to supporting small retail companies.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Investible to bring this new and innovative retail program to Sydney,” he said.

“The partnership reflects our commitment to supporting our retail businesses to remain competitive in the digital age and maintaining our billion dollar economy.”

According to Investible, the program will teach retailers how to manage all aspects of digital business, including data analytics, financial modelling, growth marketing, customer traction analysis, and more. Throughout the eight-weeks, attendees will also have the opportunity to review their business models, test their ideas and develop effective solutions for successfully scaling their operations within a cross-channel space.

The City of Sydney and Investible will also be sharing each of the SMBs journeys across their digital channels, to ensure the teachings reach beyond the program and benefit NSW’s wider retail ecosystem.

With NAB estimating that Australia’s retail sector was worth $320.1 billion in the year to November 2018, with $28.6 billion of this coming from online channels, digital operations are a valuable source of revenue for businesses of all sizes.

In fact, a number of high-profile businesses, such as Myer and H&M have been reporting stronger growth in their online channels than their physical shop fronts, while SMB retailers like Nimblewear Activewear and EasyShed have been tracking strong progress in the digital retail space over the past few years.

This comes after the National Retail Federation’s CEO, Dominique Lamb called for the government to provide assistance for struggling SMB retailers after disappointing December trade figures were released on Tuesday.

“Given we are just months out from a federal election, these results should serve as a warning to all sides of politics that parts of the retail sector are struggling as we enter 2019,” she said.

“Retail is the second biggest sector in the Australian economy, so when it goes through a challenging period there is a knock-on effect throughout the economy. While the retail community certainly doesn’t look to government for all the answers, it is during slow periods such as these that measures are required that assist small business.”

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