Raising capital for major expansion, local traineeship programs, getting correct advice on pay rates and penalties… these were three of the many relevant topics discussed by local businesses at the Business SA forum last week in Kingscote, hosted by Business Kangaroo Island.
Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride, AusIndustry representative Deepak Joshi, along with Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Wendy Campana and Business Kangaroo Island chair Sharon Kauppila, all hosted tables at the event.
The informal round-table discussions at the Ozone Hotel, unearthed a variety of issues and possible solutions we as well as providing a networking opportunity for businesses to share about common problems and opportunities.
“You can always pick up a few helpful tips at these events,” said Seaside Beauty owner Mandy Johnson. “Yes, there are familiar faces... It’s good to see a few new ones and to spend a little time networking with other people who are serious about their businesses. It’s particularly important for sole traders and those of us in micro-business to stay in touch with others in business.”
“It’s a valuable opportunity,” said Century 21 principal Michael Barrett. “If nothing else, it reignites enthusiasm for your own business.”
As one of the largest private employers on the island, Tom Fryar of KI Free Range Eggs said the opportunity to find out about assistance for business expansion was timely for him. “Just getting information about where to start and how to go about it has been great.”
Mr McBride spoke about Business SA’s new push in the regions, recognising that small and medium-sized businesses are the “heartland” of the State’s economy.
He said Business SA managed the only SA-based and not-for-profit traineeship program in the State and it was open to all businesses, whether members of Business SA or not.
Business SA also offered a free business helpline to its members among a range of benefits.
He encouraged local businesses to john Business Kangaroo Island as Business SA forged stronger links with regional chambers of commerce. He noted that BKI members would receive a 50 per cent discount on membership if they joined Business SA.
Business Kangaroo Island chair Sharon Kauppila said BKI was just starting to hit its straps as it moved from the establishment phase to providing more tangible member benefits.
“We’ve organised this event with Business SA, we’re putting out regular email newsletters with interesting information for businesses and we’re investigating a significant partnership opportunity to provide better electricity deals for local businesses.”
BKI was also collaborating with other industry groups to support island businesses.
Ms Kauppila thanked the more than 100 businesses who had signed up as members and encouraged them to renew their membership when it expired (mostly in June) to allow BKI to continue its work.
“We have a strong committee which represents many sectors on the Island and has the best interests of members at heart.”
The rest of the committee is Rodney Bell (Deputy Chair), Tom Fryar (Treasurer), Shauna Black (Secretary), Sandra Lampard, Ray Wadsworth, David Connell, Lisa Collins and Ken Rowe.