The future for business looks bright in Geelong.

By: Stan Corner

All of us living and working in the Geelong region are very aware of the changes our economy has seen in the past decade. It’s been challenging for the whole community to witness the decline of our manufacturing base, which has been such a big economic driver for so long.

What has been positive, however, is the growth in other industries that has taken place. I was thinking about this after someone shared with me a recent report from Deakin University that focuses on business confidence in the Geelong region. The key take-away from the report is that business confidence is surging and is predicted to improve further. This is a great report card and one that is backed up by the positivity I’m hearing from businesses across the local area.

Rise of the Geelong entrepreneur

What’s become apparent to me is the rise in entrepreneurial spirit across our region. It’s the small business boom that, in my opinion, really is the way forward for Geelong.

Like many regional centres, we’ve had to face some hard facts. The days of multinationals being the major employer in any town are numbered, or in cases like ours, already in the past. This shift has caused us to re-evaluate what employment looks like in our region.

The fact that I’m seeing such a tremendous growth in the small business sector is really pleasing. This growth is being fuelled by small businesses rising to the challenge, particularly in the service industry, and the move towards ‘services for people’ is one that Geelong has embraced.

There are some fantastic support programs in place that are also helping to drive this change. One, in particular, is the Runway Geelong project, a government supported program to help start-up businesses launch and grow in our region. The program aims to accelerate entrepreneurial ideas towards market reality. The opportunities this provides are endless and it’s an important example of the support that’s available.

Geelong is an attractive destination

The G21 region is primed to benefit for a number of reasons. Our proximity to Melbourne makes Geelong an obvious candidate for those people wanting to live outside the daily grind of a major city, but still be close enough to reach it when required. Geelong is such a liveable city and quality of life is a huge driver for people coming to the region. It certainly was a factor for my family and I when we moved here in 2005. The benefits we could see in being part of a growing region are now driving others to take the same journey.

There’s no doubt that this is being noticed. Alongside the entrepreneurial growth we’re seeing government agencies moving into the region, such as the TAC, Workcover, and the national headquarters of the NDIS scheme, bringing jobs with them and proving valuable additions to our community.

The future looks bright

The old adage of checking the skyline for cranes as a sign of economic health is an apt one for our region. Construction is booming and there’s plenty of investor activity. Examples such as the Miramar project and the G1 development show the strength of interest, among both Geelong locals and people coming over from Melbourne.

I’m excited by the future as these new industries grow across our region and we’re in an amazing position to see this growth continue in the years ahead. If you have an entrepreneurial flair, it’s plain to see that Geelong is the place to be!