Brisbane’s economy currently stands at $135billion and we are targeting it to grow to $217billion by 2031 with bold business leaders driving it.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

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But we can’t achieve this growth without bold business leaders, ones that are ready to embrace innovation, world markets and new technology.

Our city offers a business-friendly environment, a young, educated multicultural society and an enviable climate – it’s hardly surprising people want to do business in Brisbane.

It was my pleasure to mingle with some of our most outstanding business leaders at the recent Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

These awards recognise the contributions that businesses and individuals make to our community and our local economy, and I have to say, each year the recipients reinforce everything I believe about this city.

The business leaders I met at the awards all strived for excellence. There were a few new categories introduced this year such as High-Growth Business Start-up, Excellence in International Education and Digital Champion, all with very deserving winners.

It got me to thinking about the different initiatives Brisbane City Council has in place to help businesses and what else we can do to help.

There are more than 121,000 businesses in the Brisbane local government area, around 95 percent of which are small businesses employing less than 20 people.

We’ve already implemented a wide variety of programs to help these businesses, including the Brisbane Business Hotline 133BNE, which is a one stop shop for local, state, interstate and international companies seeking information on Council services from licensing, locations and waste to business opportunities, transport and planning.

There’s also our digital marketing and social media training courses we held earlier this year, as well as our ongoing Digital Strategy to help reduce costs and increase markets for businesses.

The Choose Brisbane is a three-year campaign, predominantly in Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore but also extending into the UK, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the United States over the next 12 months. This campaign targets key decision-makers in business investment, conventions, business meetings and international education.

For those businesses looking to increase safety in their area, the 2013 Suburban Businesses Crime Prevention Grants program is open again. These grants are about protecting local communities through practical measures such as CCTV cameras, improved lighting, signage and graffiti prevention strategies. Applications for these grants will be accepted until 25 November.

But I am always keen to hear more about what issues are affecting local businesses, what their priorities are and what council can do to help, which is why we regularly hold the Lord Mayor’s Business Forums.

These forums give business owners the opportunity to network and hear success stories from other local business people. Also importantly, we have council staff on hand at each event to answer questions, provide information and find out what else we can do to assist local business owners.

The next Lord Mayor’s Business Forum is being held in Stones Corner on Monday, 4 November. So far we’ve had terrific feedback from attendees, so I hope more people will come and see what they’re about.

For more information or to register for one of these forums, contact Council by emailing or phoning 133 BNE (133 263).