Bendigo Small Business Festival Logo

Who:
Peter Jeffery – COGB EDU Coordinator Small Business Development
Che Stevenson – Managing Director Creative Revolution
Alisha Conlin Hurd – Digital Marketing Coordinator CR

What:
2016 Bendigo Small Business Festival

When:
Launches 27 July, for the full program head to Bendigo Small Business Festival guide detailing all 25 Bendigo events

When you were curating the program and choosing keynote speakers what were you looking for?

PJ
The final decision regarding keynote speakers was made in partnership with Victorian Government representatives and myself. Ensuring a variety of topics was really important to us this year, ideally we wanted local speakers who could demonstrate their ability to deliver valuable content whilst getting behind their event to promote it really well.

What is the event you’re most looking forward to?

PJ
By far the Launch Party on 27 July at Morley’s Emporium. I’m really looking forward to the networking session at this event facilitated by Jen Harwood. The Launch Party is set to attract approximately 150 small business operators and we already have over 100 people interested in coming. I’d be surprised if you didn’t meet someone you can do business with.

CS
Definitely ‘Ride the Digital Wave: Dinner with Chris Riddell.’ I’m excited to hear his thoughts about the future of digital in both urban and regional Australia as well as emerging global trends. He is not only an expert in digital but he’s from a regional background, so we are hoping he has some unique insights that are relevant to Central Victorians.

ACH
I’m most excited to attend the festival workshops to gain a fresh perspective of some of the things that I do everyday. It’s great to hear other’s thoughts on topics, and I always leave the events having learnt something that is easily implementable. A couple I’ve already booked for are: ‘Local leads, real results: digital marketing workshop’ with Fairfax media, and ‘Pitch perfect: 100 words to success’ with Words on a Page.

What sets the 2016 SBF apart from previous years?

PJ
It’s the 10th year that this Victorian Festival has been held and the third time it’s been in Bendigo. This year we are focusing on celebrating the success of our local micro and small businesses.

CS
We think we have a great program this year, and a lot of work has gone into selecting a wide range of events. Paired with a high emphasis on celebrating small business and highlighting the positive stories of small businesses in the region, we think 2016 we will be the best year for the Festival yet.

What feedback did you receive about the 2015 SBF and how did you weave that into the 2016 festival?

PJ
The feedback from previous Festivals has always been extremely positive. Variety of topics, networking and identifying the next big idea that can rapidly improve a business’s growth have been key outcomes sought by attendees that we have taken into consideration.

CS
From feedback at previous festivals we know that a lot of people attend multiple events, so this year we have created a complimentary program to ensure attendees can access a wide range of events to help grow their business.

What sort of outcomes – skills, connections etc – can people expect to get out of the SBF?

PJ
Attendees can expect to find out how to find support for their business, meet like-minded people, learn best business practices, find out what global practices exist for business growth… even advice on how to run a family business. But please come prepared, it’s the age old saying “what you put in is what you get out” …. so bring your business cards! I’m sure attendees will learn a lot from the Festival line up this year, the real change for attendees will come from applying these learnings though!

If somebody was undecided about attending the festival, what would you say to them?

PJ
If you don’t want to improve your business don’t attend any of the 25 events during August. If you are sitting on the fence, just go to one event – I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

ACH
I’d recommend having a good look at the event list; we tried to have something for everyone! The goal of the Festival is ultimately to improve and help small business in Bendigo, so I’m sure you’ll find something that is interesting and helpful.

If you were to describe the Bendigo business community in one word what would it be?

PJ
Diverse

CS
Vibrant

ACH
Transforming

What do you love most about being involved in the SBF?

PJ
Mixing with like-minded, passionate, positive people.

CS & ACH
We’ve been involved in the Festival since it’s first year in 2014, and its been great seeing it flourish over the last few years. We are excited about the growth and love the positive feedback that we receive from attendees.

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