Business Events and Support


Business Events

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We host a range of events for our business community here in Darebin.

To help you develop and grow your business in Darebin, we host a range of events that focus on areas such as networking, training, mentoring and much more.  These are all great opportunities to keep your business growing and connect you with our thriving business community.

Business Events Listing 2017
Event Date Location Cost
Marketing For Growth Workshop Thursday 20 April

Council Conference Room

Darebin Council Offices

350 High Street, Preston

Business Mentoring Thursday 27 April

 artDECL Meeting Room

43 James Street, Northcote

(in between Northcote Town Hall and St Joesph's Primary School) 

Innovation - Marketing and Product Development Workshop Wednesday 3 May

R&D Technology Centre

Latrobe University

2 Research Avenue, Bundoora

Start Me, Grow Me Small Business Forum Wednesday 17 May

Darebin Council Function Room

Level 1 350 High Street, Preston

Best Business Practice Workshop Wednesday 24 May

Darebin Council Function Room

Level 1 350 High Street, Preston

Business Mentoring Tuesday 30 May

Green Room

Darebin Council Offices

274 Gower Street, Preston

CONNECT- Darebin's Big Night of Business Tuesday 6 June

 Mantra Bell City

Grand Ballroom

215 Bell Street, Preston

Your Business in a Digital World Wednesday 21 June

Darebin Council Conference Room

Level 1 350 High Street, Preston

Business Mentoring Tuesday 27 June

 artDECL Meeting Room

43 James Street, Northcote

(between Northcote Town Hall and St Joesph's Primary School) 

 Tax Essentials Thursday 27 July

Darebin Council Function Room

Level 1 350 High Street, Preston

 Record Keeping for Small Business Thursday 12 October

Darebin Council Council Chambers

Level 1 350 High Street, Preston


Download the printable version

Further Information:
Phone: 8470 8344

Business Opportunities

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Below are some current business opportunities including any current Tenders

Expression of Interest for Darebin's food and beverage producers 

An opportunity exists for local food businesses to showcase product to Darebin’s business community at this year’s annual business event: CONNECT – Darebin’s Big Night of Business. This event is a celebration of Darebin business attracting more than 100 guests. 

We invite local brewers to occupy ‘Brewery Lane’ and local food makers to occupy a ‘Taste of Darebin’ with a selection of food businesses where we will showcase local food products. (Please note sales will not be allowed on the night due to venue licensing but you are welcome to take orders).

Places are limited so positions will be granted on a "first in first served" basis.

Expression of interest form

Please note expressions close Friday 12 May 2017

Request for Tenders

Keep an eye on our open tenders for opportunities to do business with Council.  

Applications have now closed for the recent Ad Hoc Catering tender and submissions are now being assessed.  

Metropolitan Partnerships

The Victorian Government is establishing partnerships across Victoria to enable communities, including business to have a greater say about the issues that matter to them and ensure their needs are heard by government. Applications are now being sought from business and community leaders to become members of Metropolitan Partnerships for the Northern region, covering Darebin. Becoming a member of the Metropolitan Partnerships presents a new opportunity to collaborate with your community, identify priorities, engage with government and positively shape the outcomes of your region.  Up to 8 members, from both business and community are being sought with applications closing Sunday 13 November.  There will also be Council representation from all of the Local Government Authorities making up the Northern region. See the Victorian Government website for full details, including the application process.  


What's new for small business?

In August, the ACCC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Taxation Office and the Fair Work Ombudsman took part in the free and interactive ‘What’s new for small business?’ webinar.

Some of the topics discussed included:
• start-up businesses – what you need to think about in the first few months
• franchising – how the new Code of Conduct will affect you
• the new business-to-business unfair contract terms law taking effect on 12 November 2016
• new government initiatives including online resources
• red tape reduction – how this affects your business.                                                                                                                                                                    

A video of the webinar is now available on the ACCC YouTube channel.

Small Business Regulation Review

In July 2016 the Minister for Small Business, Innovation & Trade, announced a government wide review into regulation affecting Victoria's small business community.

The Small Business Regulation Review (SBRR) will examine the impact of regulation on small businesses in a number of business sectors, aiming to reduce the burden of unnecessary and inefficient regulation by 25% across the two year review. The retail sector will be the initial focus for the review.

There is an opportunity to provide your feedback on experiences with regulations which are ineffective, redundant, or difficult to administer or comply with. Small Business owners can participate in the review by completing a survey to establish the baseline costs of regulatory compliance.

 Complete the survey

Industry Capability Network

Industry Capability Network The Industry Capability Network (ICN) is a business network that introduces Australian and New Zealand companies to projects large and small.

The ICN is an independent organisation financially supported by Australian, New Zealand, state and territory governments. Since it started 30 years ago, ICN has helped local suppliers find $30 billion worth of contracts.

ICN bridges the information gap between buyers and sellers by providing advice and services to clients in all industries by:
  • Finding the best Australian products and suppliers
  • Facilitating import replacement
  • Assisting with Victorian Industry Participation Policy enquiries and plans (VIPP)
  • Supporting major industrial, energy and infrastructure projects
  • Accessing Global Supply Chains
  • Providing Tariff Concession Order applications services
  • Offering Enhanced Project By-Law Scheme research services
  • Administering industry and sectoral research
To find out more or to register go to the ICN website.

Darebin Pitch IT

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Darebin Pitch IT has now closed for 2016. Register your interest for our 2017 intake!

If you have a great idea for a new digital start-up, or like Jessica Thomas you are looking to take your digital business to the next level, stay tuned for Pitch IT 2017!

Register your interest here. Read Jessica's story from the Leader Newspaper!

Darebin Council's inaugural digital business support program 'Darebin Pitch IT' was a huge success. It’s a kick-start program with a ‘shark-tank competition’ element for digital businesses in the Darebin community that offers investment, working space, industry workshops, services and networking opportunities. The Pitch IT program is part of Council’s Digital Strategy, which aims to maximise and foster local innovation. Darebin is committed to supporting local industry and innovation because the digital economy is a huge growth area. By supporting local start-up businesses we are helping to strengthen the economic development of Darebin, which in turn provides employment opportunities for our residents. 

The first local Council initiative of its kind, Pitch IT brings residents, students and businesses together with innovative industry partners. Our 2016 partners included La Trobe University, The REA Group, Melbourne Innovation Centre, Pozible, General Assembly, Delphi Bank, Hawkers Beer, Clearpoint Counsel and many more! Our program partners are highly sought after in their field of expertise, which strengthens the offering and increases the benefits of the program for participants.  Without our judges and mentors the Pitch IT program would not have been possible. Judges and mentors gave their time to provide valuable mentoring advice and equipped applicants with the digital tools to succeed in today’s digital economy. 

Local start-ups take part in 3 competitive stages to pitch their innovative digital idea to a panel of industry judges to battle it out for the prize. The $10,000 prize (and six month co-working space) went to Preston resident Jessica Thomas for her website and app – Dogshare – which dog owners or potential dog minders can join to find a suitable match. 

... And in case you're wondering how to say it, it's Pitch IT - 'IT' short for ‘Information Technology!

For all business development enquiries email Business Development team.


Active Spaces in Darebin

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The Active Spaces in Darebin program works with real estate agents and property owners to transform areas which have an overabundance of vacant shops, graffiti tagging and bill posters, into economically stimulated and culturally charged destinations.

We do this by welcoming and incubating a range of creative business options in vacant shops and properties, encouraging short term occupancy, which lead to long term leases.

The program has worked with a broad range of creative business options in vacant shops & properties including: retail, not for profit projects, studio spaces, product designers, workshops, rehearsal spaces, art exhibitions, shop window galleries, installations and performances.

Coming into our fourth year, we have found that short term occupancy allows time for a small business to trial its business idea to determine if it is sustainable, and also allows time to conduct one off creative projects in otherwise vacant properties, whilst at the same time, stimulating the space & the economy around it.

The Program supports: assisting in sourcing a vacant property; the process of negotiating the rent with the property owner/real estate agent;  providing a short term lease agreement; business setup 101; information and support around permits with in council; assistance sourcing public liability insurance; marketing and promotion and networking opportunities. 

Council has identified specific ‘priority areas’ which are in high need of street activation. We encourage you to visualise your new creative business idea in one of these areas: 

  • Preston - Along High Street from Dundas to Murray Road.
  • Reservoir - Oakhill Village: on Plenty Rd, either side of Tyler St.

Up until June 2016 he program has facilitated a total of 26 short term leases: with 50% taking on long term leases. This has generated over 100 jobs, over $300,000 in rent for landlords of vacant shops.  Also we have facilitated over 55artists to exhibit their artworks in vacant shop windows.

Industry recognition:  

  • Finalist in the 2013 and 2014 EDA National Awards for Economic Development Excellence in Business and Industry. 
  • In 2014 the Program won the Mainstreet Australia Award for Mainstreet Activation. 
  • In 2015 the Program won an LGPro Award for Excellence for a Service Delivery Initiative. 
  • The Program presented the Program at the national ICTC & Mainstreet Conference in Wollongong in July 2015. 

Current Active Business in Darebin:

How to get involved:

Read the Information Sheet and contact us by phone, email or Facebook and have a conversation with us about your creative project or business idea.

Further Information 
Brodie Butler-Robey 

The Future Workforce: Melbourne’s North and the Food and Beverage Plan: Melbourne's North

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NORTH Link and Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA), proudly announce the launch of a unique report on the future workforce in Melbourne's North. The report has been prepared in collaboration with the industry, education and local government in Melbourne’s North.

The Future Workforce: Melbourne's North 

The report was the vision of Northern Melbourne RDA, the eight councils of Melbourne’s North, Metropolitan Planning Authority, NORTH Link, La Trobe University, RMIT University and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development who also funded the project.

Launched by the Hon Colin Brooks MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Premier of Victoria on 18th November 2015, report identifies:

  1. Current composition and capabilities of the Melbourne’s North workforce. 
  2. Where the future opportunities are and the likely industry requirements.
  3. The infrastructure investments required to increase in-region employment.
  4. A 7 STEP employment and skills strategy for Melbourne’s North over the next decade.
A regional action plan is being developed with La Trobe University; RMIT University; Melbourne Polytechnic and Bendigo Kangan Institute with the aim of ensuring that local industry has access to a skilled workforce and modern infrastructure for innovation and growth.

An Executive Summary and Full Report are available for download at no cost.  

To order your copy of a printed report they may be purchased for $110 (incl. GST) by contacting Deb Redmond or (03) 9479 3339.

The Food and Beverage Plan

The Food and Beverage Growth Plan – Melbourne’s North has been prepared on behalf of the Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committee by McKINNA et al.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the food and beverage processing and distribution sector in the northern Melbourne region, covering seven local government areas. It concludes that there is a wealth of opportunity to be built on despite the many issues facing the industry and area.

Export Facilitation Program

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We're inviting local businesses to explore export opportunities through our Export Facilitation Program.

Export can provide growth and profit, however, operating in international markets is a long term strategy and can be a complex and demanding field.  Participants in this program will receive FREE mentoring and business capability assessments along with expert advice to prepare their business for export.

What will the export program provide?

The Export Program facilitator will provide a one-on-one confidential service and assessment of your export business capability including;

  • Export readiness and required capabilities to support the export initiatives
  • Assessment of products and services suitable for the selected market
  • Assessment of production capacity, quality and adequate supply chains
  • Management and Staff accountabilities for success
  • Promotional methods and costing analysis
  • Export methods: direct export, distributors, sales agents, offshore warehousing, joint venture partnership and technology contractual collaboration agreements
  • Knowledge of country laws, regulations, tariff barriers, packaging, labelling, entry documentation, shipping, product/service liabilities insurance
  • Selection of suitable trade exhibitions and trade missions
  • Contract agreements, sales agents, marketing agents, distributors and technology collaborations 
  • Government grants and assistance for export development

Expressions of interest are now open for the 2016/17 program which will commence with initial meetings in November. If you would like to participate please complete the Darebin Export Facilitation Program form.

Export Program Expression of Interest

Business Grants

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Help in the form of Funding and Support is available for your business.

Sector Growth Program

$20 million Jobs Boost and Blueprint for Growth

 Just announced March 2016, this program builds on the Future Industries plans from the Victorian government and makes available grants of up to $1m per project. 

Two types of grants are available. 

1. Scoping, planning and feasibility studies:

Projects that will be considered for funding under Stream 1 of the program will focus on scoping, planning and feasibility studies directed at identifying opportunities aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies.  Funding of up to $10,000 is available.  Eligible activities can include:

  • Road mapping
  • Supply chain analysis
  • Sector capability audits
  • Economic impact analyses
  • Feasibility studies
  • Sector opportunity analysis
  • Pathway to market strategy

2. Project implementation:

Projects that will be considered will focus on the implementation of projects aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies that enhance the applicants’ and the sectors’ growth, productivity and competitiveness. Funding of up to $1 million will be available for projects in Stream 2. All funding must be matched by a minimum cash co-contribution of $1 for every $1 funded. Projects are to be completed within two (2) years of the negotiation of a suitable grant agreement. Relevant activities include but are not limited to:

  • Shared infrastructure solutions
  • Piloting new technologies, such as demonstration plant/equipment
  • Establishing consolidated industry capability.

To be eligible for either stream, applications must be submitted on behalf of a consortium with a lead applicant which can be either private sector businesses;  not for profit organisations, such as educational or health institutions, Victorian local government authorities;  Victorian public sector agencies.

For full details of the program and eligibility criteria see the information at Business Victoria

Local Industry Fund for Transition, Melbourne's North (LIFT)

 The State Government has implemented this program, offering grants of up to $2 million to buinesses based in the North. The fund replaces the established Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF) and supports projects that create sustainable jobs and economic activity. Eligible project expenditure may include: purchase of equipment or machinery to assist business establishment or expansion, direct labour costs, construction or fit-out of a new building or extension to existing premises. There is a cash co-contribution of $3 for every $1 granted. Preference will be given to projects that create jobs for local workers facing retrenchment due to the closure of automotive manufacturing operations.

Read more about the programme on the Fact Sheet or submit an expression of interest.

New Energy Jobs Fund

Round Two now open, closes 1 March 2017

 The $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund will support Victorian-based projects that create long-term sustainable jobs, increase the uptake of renewable energy generation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive innovation in new energy technologies.

Funding to support new energy technology projects will be available through three annual grant rounds. Up to $6 million is available across two separate application streams - community and industry.  Categories will focus on manufacturing, technology, community and skills.

A third grant round is expected to open late 2017.

Find out more about the program and eligibility in the Business Victoria fact sheet and application guidelines page

Future Industries Manufacturing Program

The Victorian Government has established the $200 million Future Industries Fund to support six high-growth sectors that have potential for extraordinary economic growth - to create jobs and attract investment in Victoria.


  • Grants of up to $500k per business called for. Grants of less than $100k will not be accepted.

Business should:

Have the ability to meet the co-contribution requirement ($3 for every $1 granted)

The program provides grants of up to 25 per cent of eligible project expenditure, with a maximum grant of $500,000. Applicants will need to demonstrate how the project outcomes justify the grant investment.

Eligible project expenditure includes the following activities relating to the proposed project:

  • Capital expenditure and other project-related non-capitalised expenditure (but does not include vehicles, internal costs or salaries)
  • Manufacturing product and process improvements (including significant improvements in technical specifications; components and materials; software in the project; user friendliness or other functional characteristics; and/or new or significantly improved production or delivery methods)
  • Prototyping, evaluation and testing of new products and manufacturing processes
  • Supply chain capability development
  • Tooling
  • Training specific to the technology (external costs only)
  • Labour and contractors (but does not include internal salaries)
  • Manufacturing machinery and equipment, (for example, repurposing state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing equipment), or
  • Minor building alterations and fit-out costs

Assessment Criteria

  1. Impact of the Project on Employment and Skills
  2. The Level of Economic Benefit the Proposed Project will bring to Victoria
  3. The Demonstrated Skills, Experience and Resources Available to the Business to Successfully Undertake the Project
  4. Value for Money
  5. Need for Government Support.

Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan

Towards Future Industries: Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan

The Victorian Government has announced its $46.5 million Towards Future Industries: Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan to help businesses, workers and communities affected by the closure of automotive manufacturing operations to meet the challenges ahead and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Assistance for businesses:

The Government has established the new $5 million Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program to support Victorian automotive supply chain companies affected by the closure of passenger vehicle manufacturing in Victoria.

Assistance of up to $65,000 will be provided to eligible supply chain companies to help guide them through this period.

The funding will help companies develop a transition plan to identify new opportunities and target sectors and markets, and provide assistance to pursue those opportunities.

Find out more or apply for Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program.

Incubator Support Initiative

An initiative of the Federal Government, stemming out of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, this will support existing incubators and encourage the development of new ones.  

The Incubator Support initiative provides funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects, both of which require matched funding from applicants.

The first is support for New and Existing Incubators:

  1. to help develop new incubators in regions or sectors with high potential for success in international trade, and
  2. to boost the effectiveness of high performing incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem.

The second is support for Expert-in-Residence:

  1. to provide access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent through secondments of national or international expert advisers who will improve their chance of commercial success in international markets.

Grant funding of up to 50 per cent of total Incubator Support Project Values will be available as follows:

  1. a minimum grant amount of $10,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for New and Existing Incubators per project with a maximum grant period of 24 months.
  2. a minimum grant amount of $1,000 and a maximum grant amount of $25,000 for Expert-In-Residence per project with a maximum grant period of 12 months

 More information, including application forms can be found at


New fund for small to medium business - Coles Nurture Fund

Coles is allocating $10m per yr in grants and interest free loans to encourage small business to develop market leading products, technologies, systems and processes.  Available to businesses that employ no more than 50 fte with a turnover of less than $25m, this fund could be the difference in getting great ideas up and running.  

 For all the details on this, visit the Coles Nurture Fund Guidelines.  

Community Grants

Darebin Council Community Grants Community Support Program

Not for profit businesses and community groups can apply for funding for specific facilities and programs of up to $6000.  Applications are now open but due to close Monday 24 April.  Visit the Community Support Program guidelines on the Council website for further details. 


Inner North Community Foundation (INCF) Pathway to Employment Grants

2017 round now open for applications, closes Friday 2 June.

INCF is once again looking to allocate funding to not for profit organisations, community groups and charitable organisations who run programs and projects that lead to employment.  The grant funding is available to organisations in the inner North, including Darebin, and have previously allocated funds of up to $30000 for specific projects.  For more details including a list of previous grant recipients and the difference the funding has made to the lives of people in the North, go to the INCF Apply for Funding site.


Business Development and Assistance Program available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs

The Business Development and Assistance Program provides support, funding and loans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people looking to start or grow a small to medium business. The program helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get access to relevant training, government or other service providers’ assistance packages. Indigenous Business Australia’s staff work with eligible applicants to identify what support and assistance is appropriate.
To apply call 1800 107 107 or see the details on the Indigenous Business Australia site.


Sustainability Grants

Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund

A $2m grant and investment facilitation program designed to support the installation of new or upgrades to existing waste to energy facilities or technology. With a particular emphasis on food waste from commercial and industrial businesses this grant is suitable for those that are able to have a project commissioned by 31 December 2019.  

 For full details see the relevant Sustainability Victoria page. 

Energy Assessment Grants

Boost productivity by reducing energy costs.  These grants can provide either basic or detailed energy assessments from experts and are available to small to medium businesses - those employing less than 200 fte who spend over $20k on energy bills.  Applications close 28 September 2018 unless funds are fully allocated before this date.

 For full details see the relevant Sustainability Victoria page.

Social Impact Investment for Sustainability Program

The Victorian Government is supporting investment-ready social enterprises to create new jobs and training opportunities, respond to climate change, avoid and recover waste and improve resource efficiency in the Victorian community.  

The program provides a combination of grant and low interest loan. Investment-ready social enterprises can apply for up to $200,000 as a combination grant and low interest (2.5%) loan to scale up (expand) their operations.

Visit Sustainability Victoria for all details including application process, 

 Energy Efficient Grants

Sustainability Victoria is calling for expressions of interest (EOI) from industry associations, business networks and registered training organisations (RTOs) wanting to apply for a grant to fund a project that builds the energy efficiency capability of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) or service providers.  Projects need to deliver outcomes of big impact and long lasting change.

For all details including the application process, see 


Other Grant Opportunities

Find a grant for your business on the Business Victoria portal or with the Federal Government's grant finder there are hundreds of grants available for businesses to take advantage of.

Other Opportunities include the Industry Skills Fund which provides both funding and support for training and re-training of your staff.  Details can be found in the Business Opportunities section of this site as well as by accessing the site. 

Further Information:
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Sustainable Business

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We provide business recycling, subsidise LED lighting upgrades (Light$mart), offer a solar business bulk buy program, promote and acknowledge businesses through our 'We are Greening our Business' stickers, certificates, the Green Business Directory and Green Business Network. We also work directly with manufacturers through SLIM (Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing) and provide links to other relevant programs and funding.

Light$mart – Energy Efficient Lighting Program

Over 136 local businesses have upgraded their lights to LED through the Darebin Light$mart Program.  As a result of this over 10,000 lights have been made more energy efficient and businesses are saving thousands of dollars on their electricity bills.

Light$mart works with local businesses, organisations and practitioners to retrofit and install energy efficient lighting. Through Light$mart Council subsidises the LED lights by 50% (GST exclusive price) with the Council rebate capped at $1,000. To get a free quote from one of our Light$mart installers and/or find out more please contact

Solar Saver and Business Solar Bulk Buy

Our first nine Darebin businesses and organisations to participate in the Darebin Business Solar Bulk Buy Program have completed their solar installations.  Fairfield Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, Show Works, Westgarth Primary school, Vision @ Broadway, Neami Ltd, Sibley Furniture, Oakhill Community Centre,  Cranross Tennis Club and Shiny have installed a total of 250 kws of solar.  If you are a business or organisation in Darebin interested in installing solar on your rooftop email

Businesses in Darebin can now install solar through Council's Business Solar Bulk Buy program.  Not for profit organisations may also be eligible to participate in our Solar Saver Program.  If eligible, this will allow them to pay off their solar system through their Council rates.  To register your interest in either of these programs email

So far 60 businesses/organisations in Darebin that we know of have installed solar on their rooftop.  The largest size system is 200 kw and the smallest 1 kw.  These businesses/organisations include: Aboriginal Legal Service, Annie Dennis Kindergarten, Australian Migrant Times Group, Baptcare Sanctuary (Preston), Batman Park Kindergarten, Beauty 21 Beauty Therapy, Cattani, Charles Sandford Woodturning and Joinery, Clifton Street Childrens' Centre, Complete Food Services Preston Pty Ltd, Cranross Tennis Club, Croxton Special School, Edwards Street Dental, Embroidery Source, EnviroShop, Exquisine, Fairfield Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, Gascon, Gower Street Kindergarten, Guy Phelan Cabinet Maker, Hawkers, Jika Jika Community Centre, Johanna Villani Design, J.S. Grey Kindergarten, Karl Millard, Keon Park Children's Hub, Latrobe Village, M & C Seafoods, Neami, Northcote Chiropractic Centre, Northcote Golf Shop, Northcote Highschool, Northern Tags & Envelopes, Northland, Peerless Jal, Perry Street Childcare Centre, Plasmatronics, Preston Neighbourhood House, Oakhill Community Centre, Raleigh Street Child Care Centre, Reservoir East Primary School, Reservoir Neighbourhood House, Show Works, Shiny, Sibley Furniture,  Skyrange Windows, Sprout 184, St Raphael's Primary School, Tasties, The Equipment Library, Thornbury Neighbourhood house, UFS Pharmacy, Ultra Gloss Smash Repairs, Vision @ Broadway, Wales Street Primary School, Westgarth Primary school,  Westgarth Theatre and Yarra Tram Depot.

If you are a business in Darebin with solar on your rooftop and you are not on this list please let us know by emailing

Business Recycling

We offer a fortnightly business recycling service for a one off fee of $92 per 240 litre bin, with a maximum of two bins available. All items recyclable in the Darebin residential recycling bins are accepted.  To order your bin(s) complete the on-line order form.

Next Green Business Networking Event hosted by Hawkers (date to be confirmed)

Learn about how to 'green' your business with a tour and talk from Hawkers, one of Darebin's local breweries.  Hawkers is one of our Greenlight and SLIM (Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing) businesses.  They have installed a 63kw solar system, upgraded their lights to LED, they recycle 95% of their waste products and have invested in energy efficient machinery and practises in their manufacturing process.

If you would like to hear more about Hawkers and have a look at their sites please register your interest by emailing

The Green Business Network meets bi-annually within local businesses that showcase their sustainable actions and initiatives.  It is a chance to network, share ideas, inspiration and resources.  Register your interest in joining the network and/or being notified of upcoming events by emailing  or calling 8470 8344.

Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing

Through our SLIM (Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing) program we are working with over 25 local manufacturers to help them reduce their energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.  Through their participation in SLIM all these businesses have saved thousands of dollars through making changes to help their businesses be more environmentally sustainable.  All our SLIM businesses have installed LED lighting, many have installed solar, some have formed industrial ecology business partnerships to turn their waste into a resource for others, and all have reduced their waste going to landfill. 

At the moment we are looking for businesses interested in accessing a highly subsidised energy audit.  If you are a local manufacturer and are interested in getting support to save money and reduce your energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste and interested in connecting with other sustainable leaders in manufacturing email or call 8470 8344.

Darebin Fridge Timer Program

If you have fridges that contain non-perishable items you could be saving between $400 - $500 a year by switching them off when your business is closed. We are offering food and beverage businesses free fridge timers to reduce electricity consumption. To receive a free fridge timer, contact your local Environmental Health Officer phone: 8470 8658 or email

Darebin Coffee Timer Program

Commercial coffee machines use a lot of energy.  It is estimated that over 50% of these machines are not turned off when businesses are closed.  We are interested in working with businesses that would like to install a timer on their coffee machines to turn them off when they are not being used.  This can save a business between $700 - $1,200 a year on their electricity bills.  Let us know if you have a commercial coffee machine and would be interested in having a timer installed by emailing  or calling 8470 8344.

We are Greening our Business

Does your business/organisation have solar, or are you recycling and working to reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste? If so, do you have your ‘We are Greening our Business’ sticker and are you listed and promoted in our Green Business Directory?

The ‘We are Greening our Business’ stickers have been developed to recognise and celebrate the effort you are making to reduce your environmental impact. A certificate can accompany the sticker to let your customers and peers know about your efforts.

  • Bronze, silver or gold stars are allocated to mark each area of action (lighting, energy efficiency, water, waste, food, chemicals, transport, and sustainable products). The more actions you take, the more stars you get. 
  • Colour of the star indicates how comprehensive your action has been. 

If you have taken action to reduce your environmental footprint and would like to participate in the program, please contact us.

• Stars are gold for business – Preston Leader article

• We are Greening our Business – certificate sample

Darebin Green Business Directory

The businesses listed on the Darebin Green Business Directory include cafes, accountants, retail shops, osteopaths, mechanics, solar power installers, manufacturers and more . They are all working to operate more sustainably or are offering ‘green’ products and services that can help you reduce your environmental impact.  When doing business in Darebin look for businesses listed on the Green Business Directory and who display a 'We are Greening our Business' sticker and/or certificate.

Local Businesses and Organisations recognized for their leadership and achievements in Environmental Sustainability

Charles Sandford, winner of the 2016 Northern Business Achievement - Sustainability and Environment Award

Congratulations to Charles Sandford Woodturning and Joinery winner of the 2016 Northern Business Achievement - Sustainability and Environment Award.  Charles Sandford has done many things within his business to improve its environmental sustainability.  He has installed a 32 kw solar system, LED lights, variable speed drivers on air compressors, invested in energy efficient equipment, diverted his wood shavings from landfill through the establishment of an industrial ecology partnership with Pollards Sawdust Supplies, diverted his wood offcuts from landfill, reduced packaging by reusing coffee bean hessian bags and introduced recycling of many materials.  All this has been done whilst growing and expanding the business with the addition of Mckay Joinery and his new business arm of timber windows and doors.

Swept Away, winner of the 2016 Darebin Sustainable Homes and Communities - Business Award

Congratulations to Swept Away winner of the 2016 Darebin Sustainable Homes and Communities Business Award.  Suzannah Morrison, owner of Swept Away eco friendly cleaning runs her business to develop and lead sustainable eco-friendly cleaning.  Her ecological approach to detailed cleaning focuses on health and wellbeing, and care for the planet, with no chemicals used, dry steam technology utilized and even a service offered to pick up organic food waste offered.

Green Business Support

If your business sells ‘green’ products or services, or is actively working to reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste, in addition to joining our Green Business Network and Directory you can access our business events, support, training and mentoring.  To find out more email or phone 8470 8344 or visit our Events page.

Tips and resources

The following websites offer some great tips and resources:

Positive Charge – the top five energy saving tips for businesses in retail, cafés or restaurants, hotels or motels, manufacturers, office or professional organisations.

Positive Charge – short videos on how to cut the cost of your energy bills.

Energy Efficiency Assist – short videos covering topics such as energy efficiency, optimisation and management, and energy saving technologies/options.

Carbon Compass – improve your energy efficiency, reduce costs and lower carbon emissions by providing real and practical information. Links to grants and funding are also provided.

Other Programs

If you own or lease a commercial office take a look at CitySwitch. It’s a high-value no-cost service that helps commercial office tenants improve office energy efficiency.

Further Information:

Sustainable Business Officer

Ph: 8470 8550


Starting a Business

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Everything you need to know about starting a business in Darebin, including planning, regulations, and advice on managing and growing your business.

Whether you have a fantastic new business idea or you’re looking to take over an existing operation, it’s important to have accurate information about all aspects of starting a business.

We can help you understand the market you’re entering, your business obligations, the planning process, and more.

Useful Information
1. Planning – Planning permits are required for any land use or development.
2. Food, Health and Safety – Specific permits are required if you are operating a food or health business.
3. Local Laws – A permit is required if you intend to place permanent or temporary items, e.g. signs, tables, chairs, or merchandise, on public footpaths.
4. Building Planning – Building permits are required for any work that includes erection of canopies or signage.
5. Transport, Traffic and Parking Management – Permits are required for street closures, parking and filming in Darebin.

Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL)
The Darebin Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organisation that can help with the start up and growth of your small business.

Further Information
Website: Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd
Ph: 9499 9100

Business Victoria
The Business Victoria website is a comprehensive online resource offering a range of services. They can help you with starting or buying a business, finding the right licences, employing and managing people, and much more.

Further Information
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Northern Multicultural Small Business Awards

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The Northern Multicultural Small Business Awards is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and remarkable entrepreneurial spirit of the Northern Metropolitan regions most outstanding multicultural small businesses.

Nominate your business for an award or join us for this exciting event!

Fin out how in this short video.

Join us to celebrate the achievements and remarkable entrepreneurial spirit of some of Victoria’s most outstanding multicultural small businesses.  This awards ceremony and networking event which is part of the Small Business Victoria festival will be an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contributions of some of the Northern Metropolitan regions most notable small businesses.  Be inspired by examples of small business innovation and excellence, meet with like-minded people, grow your network, share knowledge and experience and have your questions answered by our panel of Small Business specialists.

Visit the website to find out more, submit nominations and buy tickets.

Nominations close July 2016 and tickets for the awards ceremony on Wednesday 17 August 2016 are on sale now!

New Tourism Strategy for Darebin

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The City of Darebin has officially launched its first ever tourism strategy to position itself as an upcoming tourism destination.

On Wednesday 14 September, the strategy was launched at the High St food truck park, Welcome To Thornbury, featuring some of Darebin’s most successful businesses.

Darebin’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Steve Hamilton, said the strategy, "Tourism: A Destination Plan for Darebin 2016-2021", will look at ways tourism can help stimulate the local economy, showcase the area’s cultural diversity and provide a unique experience to visitors.

“We have a lot to offer visitors. From the Darebin Music Feast, to the Kite Festival, the Home Made Food and Wine Expo, vibrant shopping and café strips, the Islamic Museum of Australia and the Spiritual Healing Trail at Darebin Parklands,” Mr Hamilton said.

“There are almost 150 different cultural groups in Darebin and each has contributed significantly to our community whether it be through food, wine, music, history, storytelling, even salami making. In recent years we’ve become the preferred destination for young artisans and musicians who want to call Darebin home.

“Our festivals, events and local businesses make it possible to share these valued traditions and skills to deliver a truly unique experience for tourists,” Mr Hamilton said.

There has been strong support for the tourism strategy from key Darebin operators including La Trobe University, Mantra Bell City, Parks Victoria, Northland Shopping Centre and many local businesses.

Darebin City Council will deliver the strategy over the next five years.

Download a summary of the strategy here.

Download the complete strategy here.

Business Support and Advice

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We provide information and guidance, including mentoring and management advice, business connections, and education and training.

It's Tax Time

Are you a home-based business or do you work from home?

The ATO has provided this information just for you highlighting deductions and exemptions that may apply to you.

Support and Advice

  • Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL) is a non-profit organisation that can help with the start up and growth of your small business.
  • Enterprise Connect is an Australian Government initiative that offers advice and support to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Small Business Mentoring Service is an independent non-profit organisation that provides one-on-one advice from an experienced mentor in your field.
  • Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource offering a range of services such as starting or buying a business, finding the right licences, employing and managing people, and much more.
  • Social Traders is a non-profit organisation that supports and encourages the establishment of social enterprises Australia-wide. Social Enterprises take a number of forms and deliver outcomes as diverse as employment for the disadvantaged, production of important goods and services, or fundraising for other charitable activities and community projects.

Online Resources

  • Choose the right business structure and understand the director's responsibilities with the new online resource to help small business operators make key decisions regarding the running of your business. To read ASIC's guide for small business directors, visit
  • The Industry Skills Fund and Entrepreneur Program are two Federal Government initiatives designed to help your business grow. They offer assistance with training across your business and advice and support on grants, funding and the management of growth. 
  • The Victorian State Government announced its “Future Industries Manufacturing Program” (FIMP) – with up to $5mil available in funding – on 27 October. Businesses can apply for individual grants of up to $500,000 on a co-contribution basis. Applications are being accepted from now.
  • In August, the ACCC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Taxation Office and the Fair Work Ombudsman took part in the free and interactive ‘What’s new for small business?’ webinar. A video of the webinar is now available on the ACCC YouTube channel. Some of the topics discussed included: 
    • start-up businesses – what you need to think about in the first few months 
    • franchising – how the new Code of Conduct will affect you 
    • the new business-to-business unfair contract terms law taking effect on 12 November 2016 
    • new government initiatives including online resources 
    • red tape reduction – how this affects your business.

Education and Training

  • If you are unemployed and have a great business idea, you should definitely look into the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). It’s a Commonwealth Government funded program that provides help to unemployed people who would like to start a small business.
  • APlus is a training company that focuses on apprenticeships and traineeships in the northern metropolitan area. They help employers find the right staff and also work with apprentices and trainees to find job opportunities.
  • Melbourne Polytechnic has expertise in developing industry-specific courses and the Preston Business Enterprise Centre.
  • La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus is located in Bundoora. 

Business and Development

  • NORTH Link is a northern regional partnership of industry, education and government established for the purposes of economic development, regional marketing and promotion of Melbourne’s north. NORTH Link also provides information to prospective business investors in Melbourne’s north.
  • Inner Northern Group Training was established by local government to promote employment through the apprenticeship and traineeship systems.


Employment Services Providers

Darebin is home to a number of employment and job services providers that can help your business find and keep the right people.

These are non-profit private organisations that can provide staff for any position (Job Services) , as well as specialist support for job seekers with disabilities (Disability Employment Services).

Further Information 

Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Darebin Business Profile

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Darebin has a thriving economy based on a diverse range of new and long-established businesses.

We are home to a multitude of ‘micro businesses’ as well as unique and significant retail hubs such as the iconic Preston Market and the rapidly expanding Northland Shopping Centre.

Add to the mix an innovative manufacturing culture and the main campuses of two renowned Higher Educational institutions – La Trobe University and NMIT – and you have a vibrant, healthy business and economic climate.   

Council has developed profiles on its economy and employment that include detailed analyses of the Darebin economy, industry sectors and labour force.
Business Development Strategies 
These are the strategies that form and underpin our work, especially in relation to marketing, employment and skills, business and industry development, business support, and environmental sustainability.
Further Information 

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344


Business Associations

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Find industry contacts, employment programs and services, education and training, business associations, and other business resources.

Business Associations 


 Business & Address 

Contact Number 

Contact Email 

 Northcote Business Association   Shelley Anderson    The Pheonix and The Turtle - 268 High St, Northcote    9489 9399
 Fairfield Village Business Association  David Crowley  Home and Haven Manchester - 124 Station St, Fairfield  9489 4745
 Reservoir Village Business Association  Michael Love  Love Real Estate - 307 Spring St, Reservoir  9460 6511
 Preston Business Advisory Committee

 PBAC is managed by Darebin City Council. For any information please contact 8470 8344 or

Business Associations work with businesses and Council to ensure the ongoing success of their local areas. The Business Associations range from formal, incorporated organisations that meet regularly, to casual groups of business owners who meet only occasionally. The following associations are located in Darebin:

  • Preston Business Advisory Committee
  • Reservoir Village Business Association
  • Northcote Business Association
  • Fairfield Village Business Association

All Business Associations and Advisory Committees in Darebin are listed on the Darebin Business Directory. Guidelines for Business Associations can be found here.

Special Rate Schemes

These schemes are aimed at improving the performance of traditional retail shopping strips. Funds raised are used to develop and implement marketing plans, promotional activities, general management and administration.

There are currently four schemes operating within the City of Darebin.

  • Preston Central Special Rate Scheme
  • Reservoir Village Special Rate Scheme
  • Station Street Fairfield Special Rate Scheme
  • High Street Northcote Special Charge Scheme

Good Access is Good Business

In Darebin, an estimated 20 per cent of residents identify as having a disability or caring for a person with a disability. The ‘Good Access is Good Business’ program aims to help businesses understand how to reach out to all of our residents by improving access for people with a disability.

Further Information 

Ph: 8470 8344


The Business Connection

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The Business Connection is Darebin's Business newsletter aimed at providing 'news that business can use'.

Welcome to The Business Connection!

This newsletter has been designed specifically for the business community of Darebin, we hope you find it an interesting and insightful read. If you or a business you know would like to be involved in future editions or would like to receive a copy of the newsletter please contact Business Development on 8470 8344 or

Issue One

Issue Two

Issue Three

Issue Four

Issue Five

Attend Darebin's Women in Business event on Thursday 2 March hosted by Margie Warrell, bestselling author and founding CEO of Global Courage, a women’s leadership organisation featuring Darebin business owners, Antonette Golikidis, founder of Little Innoscents winner of 2016 Telstra Micro Business Award and Emma Risvanis founder and managing director of Paleo Pure. Book tickets here

Free Public WiFi

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Free public WiFi is now available in our major shopping strips. Next time you’re out and about you will be able to browse social media, webpages, search for local businesses and read your emails.

Free Wi-Fi is now fully operational in the following shopping centres:

  • High Street, Preston
  • Station Street, Fairfield
  • Broadway, Reservoir
  • High Street, Northcote and Westgarth
  • Edwardes Street, Reservoir
  • Spring Street, Reservoir

For more detail on coverage areas please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

How do I access the Free Wi-Fi service?

  • Turn on Wi-Fi
  • Select “Free Darebin Wi-Fi” (in Preston, Fairfield and Reservoir) or “Darebin Free Wi-Fi” (in Northcote and Westgarth) and connect
  • Click on your internet browser from your menu page and select “sign in to Wi-Fi” when prompted
  • Accept the terms and conditions
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi!


If you have problems accessing the service and need help, there are service technicians available, at or by calling:

  • Ph: 1300 161 344 for Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield (please quote enquiry code 3004)
  • Ph: 1300 135 249 for Northcote and Westgarth

This free Wi-Fi service has been made available to you by Darebin City Council with the assistance of business owners and operators in the coverage areas and with the assistance of our industry partners Infrastructure Logic and Easyweb Digital.

Opportunities for Business

Businesses in all coverage areas are able to list and promote their businesses on a marketing portal.  To initiate this, follow the prompts once you log on to the Free Darebin WiFi, scrolling down to "Register your Business" on the front screen.   

If you would like to know how you can use the services to market your business products and services, please contact us.

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344