About the program
The Victorian Government is partnering with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to deliver a business mentoring program to help small businesses navigate the economic challenges posed by restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Through this program, eligible business owners can receive up to four 2-hour mentoring sessions with an experienced professional who will help them make informed decisions about the future of their business.
The program offers tailored guidance on:
- Business recovery - to strengthen business recovery (cost reduction, debt and cashflow management)
- Market transformation - to understand how coronavirus (COVID-19) has triggered or accelerated market changes
- Digital literacy and engagement - to help businesses reach new customers and markets
- Market and supply chain diversification - to reduce exposure to supply chain risks
- Reskilling and retraining - to help businesses upskill their existing workforce
Click the 'Apply now' button to make an application on the VCCI website.
What support is available?
Eligible business owners will be matched with an experienced professional who will provide them with up to four one-on-one mentoring sessions over a three-month period. Each session will last for two hours.
Mentoring sessions will be conducted by phone, video conferencing and if appropriate, face-to-face.
Before being assigned a mentor, applicants will be asked to complete a brief diagnostic tool designed to assess the specific needs of their business recovery.
Following the initial session, applicants will be provided with a detailed action plan, with advice specifically tailored to the individual needs of their business.
Applicants will also be connected with further support for their business as needed. This may include financial counselling, digital expertise and coaching, and mental health support and training.
The mentor will then schedule up to three follow-up sessions with the applicant over the following three months to check on their progress, and provide additional support and guidance as needed.
Benefits for business
This program helps businesses:
- build customised strategies for recovery, market transformation, digital literacy, supply chain diversification and upskilling of existing employees
- mitigate risks and financial exposure
- connect to other Government support and local professional services.
What type of businesses can apply for the program?
The program is open to the owners of small businesses with less than 20 full-time employees. For the purposes of the program, a small business owner can be a sole trader, partnership, private company or trust that operates a small business. Twenty full-time employees means the total of all standard hours worked by all employees (whether full-time or part-time) in standard hours as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Businesses must also:
- hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN)
- not be a public company, charitable business (one that does not operate to make a profit) or body corporate under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997
- intend to re-establish or continue operating in Victoria.
What if my business has more than 20 employees?
Applications from businesses that employ 20 or more full-time employees, but have a turnover of less than $50 million, may also be considered. For more information about other support available for businesses, visit our COVID-19 business information page or the COVID-19 (coronavirus) page on the VCCI website.
What if I operate more than one small business?
If you operate more than one small business - for example under a single ABN at separate locations - you may apply for mentorship for each eligible business.
Factors which may be considered in assessing applications include:
- the staffing arrangements of the separate businesses
- whether each has its own plant, equipment or stock
- the accounting and insurance arrangements of the separate business
- whether the separate business operates under its own trading name
- the commercial viability and autonomy of each business.
What if I’m a sole trader and have no employees?
Applicants who operate a business as a sole trader (with no employees other than the owner) must:
- receive most of their income from the business, or
- be able to demonstrate they received most of their income from the business prior to 1 March 2020, and that this would have continued to be the case if not for the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and Government-imposed restrictions.
How to apply
Click the 'Apply now' button on this page to make an application via the VCCI website.
If you require assistance with your application, please contact VCCI on 03 8662 5333.
Business recovery and resilience mentoring in languages other than English
- Arabic - العربية
- Dari - دری
- Farsi - فارسی
- Filipino - Tagalog (Filipino)
- Hindi - हिन्दी
- Khmer - ខ្មែរ
- Korean - 한국어
- Macedonian - Македонски
- Punjabi - ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
- Simplified Chinese - 简体中文
- Sinhalese - සිංහල
- Tamil (South Indian): தமிழ் (தென்னிந்தியா)
- Tamil (Sri Lankan): தமிழ் (இலங்கை)
- Traditional Chinese - 繁體中文
- Turkish - Türkçe
- Vietnamese - tiếng Việt