Small business incentives to transform Sydney’s laneways

Posted by Isobel Drake on 30th July 2008

The City of Sydney is hoping new measures will help stimulate activity and interest in CBD laneways and forgotten spaces.A report to Council’s Cultural Community Services Committee on Monday 28 July 2008 recommends offering business development grants of up to $30,000, encouraging the creation of small retail, service and hospitality businesses.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the City will also host a new temporary laneway art program By George! from October 3, as part of this year’s Art & About festival, with artists transforming four laneways off George Street.

“Enlivening our laneways is part of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision to create a more vibrant city centre,” Ms Moore indicated. “The City is excited about the potential to reactivate these forgotten pockets throughout Sydney and By George! is an exciting program building on the City’s successful Live Lanes program in 2007.”

One-off cash grants could be available to businesses to build diverse and innovative ideas for small CBD spaces which can activate blank, vacant or empty areas.

Businesses will need to match the City’s cash grant dollar-for-dollar and meet the selection criteria. The business can then use the grant to help fund capital works such as fit out, new equipment or other costs associated with setting up the business.

The program is designed to promote development within a number of retail sectors. “This issue is about more than small bars,” Ms Moore added. “Our initiatives such as the Laneways Business Development Program encourage everything from small-scale specialist retail and fashion, to entertainment and creative uses that will add a new dimension to the types of businesses in the city centre.”

A Business Development Officer will also advise potential business operators, property owners and other local stakeholders on creating successful businesses in laneways and how to navigate through the various approvals. “These measures will help innovative small businesses get started, work with property owners to identify potential spaces and draw in residents and visitors through inspiring creative programs like By George!,” Ms Moore proclaimed.