Abundant business opportunities

Yarra Ranges enjoys a wide range of industry, including many small businesses producing goods ranging from gourmet foods and wine, arts and craft to timber. With large numbers of young people in the community, Council is keen to promote new business opportunities which will provide employment and blend with the many natural assets of the Shire.

Ann Norton, Acting Manager Economic Development, said the last two years have been spent building partnerships with industry from the ground up rather than the top down. In conjunction with other bodies, such as Jobs East and the Business Enterprise Centre, Council aims to support new and existing businesses by providing facilities to help them to do business more easily.

Ann said that Council is particularly keen to promote value adding of existing industries in the area. She said this fits with the environmental policy of the Shire.

"Many of the existing industries have been established here because the people wanted to live and work in the area," she said. "Likewise, new industries setting up see it as a place where they would be happy to live and where they can attract staff."

Council is active in promoting links and networks between businesses in the region. Many local traders in wine, food, tourism and associated activities have great opportunities to network. A business incubator at the Dandenong Ranges Community Cultural Centre assists fledgling businesses to get going and promotes networking.

Another is to be established in Lilydale, which will focus on developing small business enterprises. Ann Norton said one of Council's most effective projects saw over 120 businesses coming together to discuss impediments to growth in the region and how these might be overcome.

"This gave us excellent feedback," she said. "Not only did we look at ways to facilitate more economic activity, it made businesses aware of what was happening and other businesses operating in the area.

"Many people became quite excited about the prospects when they came to realise how much is happening here."

For further information contact Ann Norton, telephone 1300 368 333.