Funding available to support innovative business projects in city CBD

Funding available to support innovative business projects in city CBD

Projects designed to draw people into the Newcastle CBD and Darby Street will share in around $800,000 as part of a funding program driving visitation and vibrancy across Newcastle.

City of Newcastle’s Special Business Rate (SBR) program uses levies paid by business owners for the promotion, beautification, and development of precincts in the City Centre/Darby Street, Hamilton, Mayfield, New Lambton and Wallsend.

More than $1.6 million was distributed through the SBR program in 2020/21 to 19 projects successful under the contestable funding rounds, as well as funding and support services for Business Improvements Associations in the five precincts.

Modelling by REMPLAN shows last year’s SBR funding generated a total economic impact of $5,821,261 for the city with a return on investment of 349 per cent.

Applications are now open for the new City Centre and Darby Street funding round, with around $800,000 available for projects that deliver the most effective, creative, and innovative ideas to boost local businesses.

City of Newcastle’s SBR selection panel also recently assessed 10 suburban project applications for the Hamilton, New Lambton and Wallsend precincts. The panel approved four project proposals in Hamilton to share in the funding pool of $50,000.

Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said the SBR program provided invaluable support for the business precincts, with outcomes that flowed through to the wider Newcastle area.

“City of Newcastle recognises the integral role and contribution of local businesses to the city’s economic development,” Nuatali said.

“The Special Business Rate program is an important way to involve local businesses and the community in the development and promotion of their local business precincts.

“The creative and innovation projects delivered with SBR funding add to the vibrancy and activation of Newcastle, while also driving increased visitation and expenditure.”

Categories of focus include industry and business development; place activation and events; beautification and infrastructure development; and promotion.

Online public information sessions will be held on 20 and 21 July.

Angela Hailey from the Makers and Traders Newcastle said the SBR funding program had made a tangible impact on customer numbers as well as collaboration between independent businesses in the City Centre and Darby Street.

The group received City Centre funding in a previous round for their beautifully illustrated Makers and Traders “Treasure Map”, which provides visitors and residents with a navigational guide to local businesses and experiences.

An updated version of the map featuring significantly more businesses is expected to be released later this month.

“The SBR funding enabled us to create this map, which promotes our group of independent traders to tourists while also encouraging lapsed locals to come back into town, and it’s been really well supported,” Angela said.

“The SBR funding also encouraged us to formalise our casual connections into this group, which enables us to do things on a collective level that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve on an individual level.”

Applications for the City Centre / Darby Street funding close on 31 July 2021.

IMAGE | Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Councillor Carol Duncan and Angela Hailey from Makers and Traders (left-right).

City of Newcastle

In 2030, Newcastle will be a smart, liveable and sustainable city.

Council developed and adopted a suite of strategic documents to guide delivery of Council's seven key strategic directions, outlined in the Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan.

  •  A Connected City
  •  A Protected and Enhanced Environment
  •  Vibrant and Activated Public Places
  •  A Caring and Inclusive Community
  •  A Liveable and Distinctive Built Environment
  •  A Smart and Innovative City
  •  Open and Collaborative Leadership

This planning strategy has assisted in the delivery of a City Revitalisation Program that has encouraged a large investment in the City by both Government and private investors that are willing to prove that Newcastle is ready for change.   

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