Business owners can get back on track at mentoring roadshow


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire’s small business owners and operators hit by monsoonal flooding earlier this year, will be able to benefit from a state government mentoring program.

On Sunday, 24 November the ‘Back on Track Roadshow’ – which began on 21 October – will stop in Port Douglas and affected small businesses will receive free mentoring and advice with face-to-face access to business advisors, support networks and government agencies.

The Port Douglas leg of the roadshow will be held at Anzac Park, Macrossan Street from 8am to 1pm. There is no charge.

The program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Douglas Chamber of Commerce president Liz Ross said the program will be promoted by the Chamber; it will be discussed at the next committee meeting and will be a feature of a social media campaign.

“This is an example of what I am trying to do to encourage people to work with us and try and support what we are trying to do. 

“This is a direct result of asking the department to come up (to Port Douglas) and discuss small business issues with us next year. But this has been pushed forward and is therefore extremely positive,” said Ms Ross.

The program will discuss various support programs with a focus on listening to what locals need in the regions and working together to ensure businesses are stronger and better prepared for the future.

It will offer practical support and a chance for business owners and operators to work one-on-one with mentors and others to obtain what you need to not just recover, but to work on plans to make sure your business thrives.

Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the mentoring program would cover digital platforms, resilience building and financial assistance as part of the roadshow.

“Small business is a big part of our regional communities and we’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” said Mr Littleproud.

“They’re a big employer and provide important community services. The roadshow will visit 16 towns to hear about the challenges businesses are facing.

“It will connect small business with the expert so they’re ready to face future disasters. This includes loans and grants, disaster preparedness, climate adaption and mental health support.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Shannon Fentiman, said newly-appointed Small Business Recovery and Resilience Champion Ben Verning would play a key part in the ‘Back on Track Roadshow’.

“Mr Verning will be on the ground working with locals to hear their stories and develop strategies for support.

“Ben has spent most of his career working for small business particularly regional small businesses and has a wealth of local knowledge in the north and north-west regions.

“He will help small business owners overcome challenges and work in consultation with the Queensland Small Business Recovery Advisory Council to develop specialised support services.”

The roadshow will be a unique collaboration of all levels of government to bring support to impacted small businesses in communities across Queensland.

The ‘Back on Track Roadshow’ started on 21 October with visits to the following centres:

• Monday 21 October 2019: Winton
• Saturday 26 October 2019: Ingham
• Sunday 3 November 2019: Townsville
• Wednesday 6 November – Friday 8 November 2019: Cloncurry
• Saturday 9 November 2019: Mount Isa
• Saturday 9 November 2019: Charters Towers
• Monday 11 – Tuesday 12 November 2019: Julia Creek
• Wednesday 13 – Friday 15 November 2019: Richmond
• Saturday 16 November 2019: Giru
• Monday 18 – Tuesday 19 November 2019: Hughenden
• Saturday 23 November 2019: Ayr
• Sunday 24 November 2019: Port Douglas
• Monday 25 – Tuesday 26 November 2019: Georgetown
• Wednesday 27 – Thursday 28 November 2019: Croydon
• Friday 29 November – Saturday 30 November 2019: Normanton
• Monday 2 December 2019: Karumba
• Wednesday 4 December – Thursday 5 December 2019: Burketown

Small business owners and operators can register now for one-on-one discussions at:

For more information visit

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