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Mother and daughter duo Julie Cross and Errin Williamson have welcomed the expansion of the NSW Government’s Easy to do Business pilot to Dubbo after overcoming the challenges involved in setting up a business for the first time.
The Easy to do Business program has succeeded in reducing the average time taken to start a café, restaurant or small bar from 18 months to just three months.
The program, which is a joint initiative between Service NSW, the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner, NSW Customer Service Commissioner and local Councils, was piloted in Parramatta and has now expanded to Dubbo.
Owners of the CSC Restaurant and Bar on Church Street Julie and Errin had discussed opening a café for a long time as they wanted to provide a healthier option in Dubbo.
“My daughter was a head chef at a restaurant and we had always talked about opening a café or a restaurant,” Ms Cross said.
“When the restaurant that my daughter worked at got sold she took some time out and got married but then we decided the time was right and we went for it.”
Julie and Errin started the process in August 2014, but did not get the business up and running until February 2014 after facing some significant setbacks around licensing and development application approvals.
“The biggest challenge was knowing what direction to go in for what we needed at the time and what steps to take,” she said.
“We got passed on to different people with different advice and we really weren’t sure what the processes were. There was always an add-on and we seemed to be forever going backwards.”
Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Small Business, John Barilaro, said the program removed barriers and obstacles for small business.
“For many businesses one of the biggest challenges they face is navigating all the rules and regulations, and often plans are slowed down by red tape and bureaucracy,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This program is helping small businesses by replacing 30 government forms with a single online application, connecting them with a case manager and almost halving the amount of duplicated information customers were previously required to provide.”
After successfully opening her business Julie says she is pleased the NSW Government is introducing the Easy to do Business program in Dubbo to make easier and faster for first time business owners to start their business.
“The Easy to do Business checklist and Business Concierge that is going to be introduced will save people a lot of time. The new app will also be able to answer those tricky questions for you and lead you in the right direction.
“Everyone has ideas and dreams but the reality is where do you start? This new program should help streamline council as well to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on and can assist in that process.”
After almost three years in business CSC Restaurant and Bar is thriving.
“The business is going fantastic we expanded the business about 18 months ago,” Julie said.
“We went from a small café that was 6 six seats and outdoor seating to a full bar and restaurant and now we have got 45 seats inside and 45 seats outside. We now have 25 staff. When we opened we had six – that’s including my daughter and myself.”
Mr Barilaro said it delivers a one-stop shop for small business, dramatically reducing the paperwork.
“Rapid growth in digital technology provides an opportunity for government to make life easier for prospective small business owners in regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
Dubbo Regional Council Administrator Michael Kneipp said small businesses are an essential part of the region’s economy.
“Anything that makes it easier for owners to start or grow their business is very welcome. The Easy to do Business program is sure to enliven the growing range of cafes and restaurants we have as well as motivate anyone who is thinking about starting a new business.”
Plans are also underway to expand the program beyond restaurants and cafes to include four other business sectors - clothing retail, housing construction, print business and road freight.