The past year has been marked by a welcome return to many face-to-face events across our regions in an ever-changing landscape for small businesses. The Local Buying Foundation has remained dedicated to supporting regional business communities through funding sponsorship, projects, and programs across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia.

Among the more than 30 projects funded this financial year, several initiatives stand out. These include a decarbonisation accelerated project, a women in leadership program, an agricultural skills-building program, a
professional grant writing services program, and a town ambassador tourism initiative. These projects highlight our diverse range of endeavours and our commitment to nurturing growth in various sectors.

Of note this year is Trading Tracks, our National Indigenous Business Development Program, delivered in partnership with BHP, and in Queensland, BMA. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to empowering and fostering the growth of Indigenous businesses. In Queensland the demand was greater than anticipated and the program responded with additional resources.

We are in the initial stages of rolling out Trading Tracks in the Western Australia regions of Town of Port Hedland and Shire of East Pilbara, with expansion also planned into South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf later this year. There are exciting times ahead for this program nationally and locally in the coming year and we are honoured to empower and create practical support to ensure Indigenous businesses thrive.

Our LBF funded Bridging the Boundaries Business Support Officer roles in QLD and NSW are continuing to make significant impact in providing critical support and bridging the needs of small to medium businesses in our regions. This year, we have also added another similar LBF funded role in SA with our regional partner GMUSG (Tactic). We understand the power of people and empowering our economic development bodies to build their teams is key to the success of our small businesses. Looking ahead, we are eagerly anticipating what the upcoming financial year will bring as we continue to collaborate with stakeholders to deliver exciting projects. Our continued development and strategic plans will ensure that we remain at the forefront of supporting and enriching regional business communities. The highlights and results showcased in this Annual Summary exemplify the ongoing progress and success of each Foundation.

I would like to express my gratitude to our 28 regionally based LBF Advisory Committee members, dedicated stakeholders, and all those involved in making the Local Buying Foundation’s intent a reality. Together, we will continue to build the capacity and capabilities of regional businesses and positively impacting the communities we serve.

Melissa Westcott, LBF Chair.

Click here to view our Annual Summary 2022-2023.