On Wednesday 22nd October the Brisbane City Council roadshow ventured all the way out to Wynnum to talk to Wynnum based businesses about a range of initiatives to help Brisbane businesses, particularly in the digital space.
The guest speakers (see our previous article here) were very interesting indeed – Mark Sowerby of Blue Sky Funds talked about the challenges involved in starting up and growing his venture capital business in Brisbane, commenting that the GFC ‘is still going on’, and Karl Schwantes (pictured below with Lord Mayor Graham Quirk), of Xennox Diamonds, talked about how he has been able to leverage social media to really grow his business and focus on the customer service aspect of his business. Did you know that Xennox Diamonds aims to greet every person that walks through their doors within three seconds?
We had a chance to quiz the Lord Mayor and the speakers during the questions session and your WynnumCentral rep asked a few. We asked the Lord Mayor if there were any measures or programs in place or planned to help retailers transition into the new retail environment, or if there was anyone at council charged with this task, like the UK government’s Minister for High Streets. The answer was ‘no’, with the Lord Mayor emphasising the Council’s focus on encouraging developments of hotels and other retail projects in suburban shopping areas that would benefit local businesses.
(we also asked Mark Sowerby if he felt that crowdfunding was impacting the venture capital sector and his answer was also ‘no’, largely because he feels that the huge amount of money currently tied up in self managed superannuation funds is, in the current economic environment, likely to accessed to support small scale business ventures. See a local corwdfunding venture here)
At WynnumCentral we believe that reinvigorating a suburban ‘high street’ retail centre needn’t be fully dependent on property development – in fact in a way the promise of this type of development has encouraged people to ‘hang on’ for it to happen, with inevitable disillusionment if/when it doesn’t eventuate. And smaller scale revitalisation projects actually encourage both new retailers and developers to consider new projects. What do you think?