The Illawarra Business Chamber has welcomed the expansion of NSW Government Small Business Support Fund grants to include wineries, cellar doors, spirit distilleries and microbreweries.
The fund is overseen by Service NSW to provide cash to small businesses that are struggling with bills and key expenses in the aftermath of the pandemic lockdown.
The expansion of the assistance comes just two weeks after a survey of independent breweries raised concerns about them surviving COVID-19.
That survey of 650 breweries by the the Independent Brewers Association found many independents were facing permanent closure and massive job losses as a result of venues, retailers and non-essential services being forced to close their doors.
93 per cent said they were operating at a loss and struggling to survive.
Wollongong's Five Barrel Brewing was among those who said it was finding it tough to navigate a way through the effects of COVID-19.
Owner Phil O'Shea said the brewery had to let go of staff.
Illawarra Business Chamber executive director Adam Zarth said there was a high take up of the Small Business Support Fund grants, worth up to $10,000 per business, in the Illawarra.
And the expansion of eligibility to include wineries, cellar doors, spirit distilleries and microbreweries.was a win for some of the region's hardest-hit businesses.
"The Illawarra is known for its excellent microbreweries, cellar doors and small-batch distillers; many of whom have been hurting during the lockdown, so the inclusion of these business types under the $10,000 grants scheme is very welcome," Mr Zarth said.
"To be eligible, businesses need to prove a reduction in turnover of 75 percent compared against the same period of last year, have between 1 and 19 employees and be beneath the payroll tax threshold of $900,000."
"We highly recommend that eligible businesses use part of this funding to seek financial advice from a local accountant so that they can prepare a recovery plan."
"The funds can also be used for paying utilities, salaries, rent and marketing activities to help the business through these challenging times."
"My advice to businesses, particularly microbreweries and the others included is to put in an application. The government has already approved 20,000 applications from the 29,000 received, so you stand a good chance of being successful."
Businesses have until June 1, 2020 to apply at https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/small-business-covid-19-support-grant-guidelines.
- Survey of independent breweries raises concerns about them surviving COVID-19
- Small brewers and wine producers on the South Coast offered a lifeline by Dan Murphy's and BWS
- Easing of COVID-19 dine-in restrictions at eateries from Friday welcome in Wollongong
- Wollongong's Headlands Distilling Company expands its range of spirits
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.