Inner West councils join forces for regional business expo

By Austin Mackell

Five Sydney councils have pooled their resources to steer local communities through the recession.

Councils from Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Leichardt and Strathfield, joined forces to host the first Inner West Business Expo.

Held over two days at various locations across their municipalities, the expo featured a selection of high profile business guru’s and commentators including host of Channel Seven Sunrise program, David Koch, and Westpac chief economist Bill Evans, speaking on the inaugural theme of ‘Surviving the economic crisis’.

Mayor of Strathfield Council Keith Kwon said councils were responsible for helping local businesses work through the economic downturn.

“We realise that in our role as councils, we have an important part to play in assisting our wider community navigate through the economic crisis, and arming them with information on how to do that is an important part of that process,” Cr Kwon told GovernmentNews.

The project relied on the cooperation of councillors across the political spectrum, including Labor, Greens and Burwood Community Voice, as well as Ashfield’s independent mayor Ted Cassidy.

Each council contributed $10,000 towards costs and partnered with the Sydney Business Enterprise Centre and Business Advisory Services Incorporated to host the event.

A spokesperson from the councils’ working group said that the event was planned following feedback from small businesses in the region about the effects of the financial crisis.

He added that their impression was that the event had been a “tremendous” success, but that they would be seeking feedback from the businesses that participated before deciding when the next such regional forum would be held.

The spokesperson said that the event was a great example of what “regional collaboration on economic development” could achieve.

The council working group described the speaker lineup, which included networking Guru Robyn Henderson and consultant Rob Hartnett, as a “dream list”. 

Events included a business breakfast and cocktail night, free one-to-one clinics with lawyers, accountants and business consultants and workshops on topics ranging from ‘How to Recession-Proof a Business by Using Strategic Marketing’ to ‘Managing Recession-Related Stress’.

The expo also provided a networking opportunity for local businesses and councils.

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