Small Business Friendly local governments are working to support their local business community and create exciting spaces and events, through a variety of grants.

The City of Cockburn, Town of Claremont and City of Perth – all members of the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly program - have been rolling out grants to their local small businesses. Successful businesses, as well as community members and visitors, have been reaping the benefits.

The focus of the local government grants ranges from business innovation to creating alfresco areas and economic development to revitalisation.

Grants are introduced by local governments to encourage growth of local businesses, and provide them with the funding they need to boost their profiles, as well as create benefits for their wider community of ratepayers. With most grants programs, applicants can be creative with their ideas as long as they meet the criteria set out by their local government.

City of Cockburn

The City of Cockburn has recently wrapped up a round of Local Economic Development Grants, providing eligible micro, small and medium size businesses with funding of up to $5,000. The aim of the grants was focused on innovation and establishing new enterprises, training initiatives, upgrades to shop fronts and assisting businesses in their recovery from COVID-19.

Photo of the Stellar Lights drone show event in the City of Cockburn.
The City of Cockburn's Stellar Lights drone light show.

Throughout April and May 2022, 65 grant applications were submitted, with 27 businesses successful in receiving a shared total of $99,500 in funding from the City.

The grants were used in a variety of different ways including:

  • Developing an e-commerce website – Balanced Living Enterprises, Caroline’s skincare Pty Ltd and Walkey’s Water Covers each received $3,000 towards their website upgrades.
  • Creating pop-up alfresco areas – CuppaShack Coffee Lounge received $4,990 to implement a pop-up alfresco area.
  • Staging a drone light show innovation – Global Unmanned Systems, trading as Stellar Lights, choreographed drone light shows for the Fremantle Biennale. They received $5,000 in funding and have so far delivered Tasmania’s first ever drone light show.
  • Offering training programs – the types of training included mentorship, online business training and workforce training. Skills For Your Career, Asset Reliability Inspections and Wanderkind each received between $2,500 -$3,000 towards their new training programs.

Town of Claremont

The Town of Claremont launched night-time activation grants, awarding $100,000 to local small businesses to create events and activities to attract people to the Town after dark. Sixteen grants, funding more than 30 events, were distributed. The aim of the night-time grants was to help invigorate, inspire, collaborate, and deliver exciting night-time offerings to provide social, economic and cultural benefits to the Town of Claremont after 6pm.

Local business feedback about how they used the grants was very positive:

“We had a lot of people asking after the event about when the next one would be, so we’d love to put on another one if there was the opportunity. Thank you so much for your support!” - Tamara Yoga

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for this AMAZING opportunity. I had an absolute ball setting up these classes and I am hoping to continue these in the following months to come.” - Joanne Coleley Beginners Art classes

“The event was a complete success. Everybody loved it. Thank you again for support. - Mauricio Alpizar - immersive fashion show at ICON

Applications for the grants will continue to be available through this financial year until June 2023.

The Town of Claremont also staged a Neon Night Trail in April 2022, encouraging families to participate and follow a trail map around the town centre with local small businesses hosting activations or special event menus. The event significantly contributed to the local night-time economy by attracting visitors of all ages to the town centre.

Photo of the Town of Claremont's Neon Night Trail event.
The Town of Claremont's Neon Night Trail event.

City of Perth

The City of Perth opened the second round of the $4 million CBD Revitalisation Grants on 1 September 2022, aimed at encouraging events in the City and Northbridge until the end of March 2023. The first round of applications, for events held up until 31 December 2022, received 76 applications which are currently under review. The aim of the grants is to increase foot traffic in Perth CBD by utilising empty and unused buildings and activating the Perth night-time economy.

Applicants can apply for funding of up to $100,000 through Round 2 of the program, which is being administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC). They can also apply to the WA Government for use of Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square and the Cultural Centre Precinct as part of their application.

Round 3 of the CBD Revitalisation Grants program will open to applications in February 2023, for event held until 30 June.

Tips for local governments offering small business grants

While grants programs benefit small businesses by offering them external funds to stage events, create new areas and raise their profile, there are also benefits to local governments from offering grants, such as:

  • Making their region attractive to both businesses and the community.
  • Creating new events and activations cost-effectively, without using LGA resources.
  • Introducing new ideas and approaches through innovative businesses.

When designing Small Business Friendly grant programs aimed at local businesses, LGAs should consider not only how the sponsored events and activities contribute to their own strategic objectives, but how they will benefit the successful applicants and other businesses in the area.

More information


Images supplied by the City of Cockburn and Town of Claremont.

Small business friendly
09 September 2022