Startups and Small Business

There are 22,608 small businesses in the Geelong region. Sole traders make up more than 14,000 of these micro businesses. In addition to providing diverse career opportunities to newcomers, there’s plenty of new business potential for dreamers and doers.


Starting a small business in Geelong

Local resources and advice to help start your business in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast.

Enterprise Geelong

Enterprise Geelong is an arm of the City of Greater Geelong offering. They offer valuable advice and resource for startups and small businesses, particularly for those new to the area.

Whether you’re relocating an existing business or looking to establish a new local venture, Enterprise Geelong can advise on local regulatory requirements and opportunities to help you operate successfully and sustainably. They also offer information about the region’s best locations (land, siting and premises) based on your requirements.

Here’s their comprehensive list of local business groups and networks to get you pressing the flesh with your next client or referrer.

Geelong Manufacturing Council (GMC)

Your conduit to the Industry Innovation program with Deakin University, GMC offer specialised support and knowledge on funding programs like LIFT Geelong. This program is an opportunity worth exploring if you’re a manufacturing businesses open to expanding or relocating to the Geelong region.

Geelong Chamber of Commerce

Membership of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce is $220, giving you access to functions and a business referral network comprising more than 850 Geelong businesses.

ICT Geelong

If you’re an ICT bod, ICT Geelong may be a handy resource and member group. ICT Geelong has charged themselves with the task of helping transform the region from a traditional manufacturing economy to a knowledge based economy.


Financing options for small business and startups in Geelong

If you need some cash to get your big idea off the ground or to support business growth and expansion, here’s some options to explore.

Angel Investors Geelong

For a fee of $150, Angel Investors Geelong will consider whether your new idea (invention or innovation) adequately ‘deals in emerging technologies, with unique IP or market proposition, huge potential for growth, scalable into national or global markets’ in order to tip in some cash.

Business Loans

You’ll find all the big four banks operating in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast, as well as a number of second tier banks like Bendigo Bank and Bank of Melbourne. There’s a variety of products on offer so do the rounds to work out what’s best for you. Be aware that the big banks will only consider lending to you if you have existing equity in your home loan.

Financing options when you don’t have a house to secure against a business loan.

Credit Cards

Many new businesses start life as side projects alongside full time or part time work. Starting out with a steady income while things fire up is the smart way to do it. Perhaps family can kick in some sweeteners too? Not always. When you’re gainfully employed with a steady income, you’re a reasonable prospect to qualify for a credit card. For many startups, this is their approach to startup finance. No one is going to advise you that this is the best approach, but If credit cards are an option for you, check out low rate options before applying. Read all the terms and conditions. If you max out a credit card before generating enough in your side business to pay it off in full, transfer the balance across to another credit card with a long interest free period. This might help you buy yourself more time while you wait for those orders. But watch out for annual fee charges. Be sure to close down your original credit card account. That way you won’t be tempted to outlay more on your new business than you can afford to pay back.

Remember, debts need to be paid. Keep up with regular repayments along the way to keep your credit history squeaky clean. Don’t ruin your future shot at more serious lending opportunities. Accessing larger sums may become critical to growing your business, maintaining autonomy or becoming more efficient when circumstances change.

Unsecured Business Loans

If accessing capital is critical to your business growth ambitions, there’s some new players in the market offering online unsecured business loans. These products aren’t suitable for unproven start ups. Lenders of these products will want to see at least one year or more of financials. Your monthly sales must also exceed $5K.

In many respects these loans really act as a line of credit or overdraft. The timeline to commence repayments is very short – far less than most businesses could reasonably expect to turn the capital from the loan into a return. That said, this is a product and market that the big banks didn’t cater for until very recently, so it’s a step in the right direction.

The application and approval process is generally fast, with money in your account in as little as 1- 2 business days.

Local players

  • Moula is a CBA aligned product
  • Banjo is the brainchild of some ex NAB bankers
  • NAB QuickBiz Loan

International players

  • Kabbage
  • Spotcap
  • OnDeck (US) is also slated to enter the Australian market sometime soon




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