THE drought has created tough times not just for farmers, but small business owners in rural and regional communities.
That is where Leeton's Court Sayer-Roberts can step in to help.
Mr Sayer-Roberts has taken on a role as a small business coach with the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
A small business owner himself, Mr Sayer-Roberts will be on hand to help owners, operators and staff better understand their financial situation as part of a specialised program.
The federal government's Drought Communities Small Business Support Program is offering support for 40 small businesses, in this area, to have free one-on-one assistance and support until June 2021.
"The added benefit of the program is we identify specialised support businesses may need that we can't provide, we organise for you to get that help and cover costs up to $5000 per business," Mr Sayer-Roberts said.
"This may include developing a marketing plan, building an online website or getting specialised accounting or legal advice.
"Small businesses, particularly in drought affected areas, have been screaming out for help and the government has created this pilot to see how best to do exactly that, help."
To be eligible for the program a business must:
- Be in one of the identified local government areas of Griffith, Leeton, Narrandera, Cootamundra/Gundagai, Temora, Coolamon or Junee).
- Employ 19 or fewer people.
"As a business owner, support like this is critical as these are uncertain and challenging times that we are facing," Mr Sayer-Roberts said.
"Firstly, the program is free and can be offered at a time that suits you.
"Secondly, having to navigate running a business in a community dealing with drought is challenging enough and now with COVID-19 and its impacts on businesses.
"It's great to know there is a specific support program with dedicated resources that will help business owners reset, refocus and develop a pathway forward."
Mr Sayer-Roberts has lived in Leeton since 2004 after relocating to bring his operations management expertise to SunRice for many years.
He has experienced firsthand the challenges rural businesses face, having been through drought periods himself with both SunRice and his own business.
For more information about the program contact Mr Sayer-Roberts at email@example.com or 0428 073 360.
Further details can also be found at https://www.rfcsnsw.com.au/rfcs-home/small-business or through the organisation's Facebook page.