More Townsville businesses will receive vital start-up and growth support to generate local jobs following the reinvigoration of the Townsville Business Development Centre (TBDC).

The TBDC has elected a new Chair, Offerman Partners’ Michael Brennan, assembled a new-look board, and employed a new CEO, former Castletown Centre Manager, Ben Verning.

Chair Michael Brennan said with the new team comes a renewed commitment to get back to what the TBDC does best – help businesses grow.

“Small businesses employ thousands of North Queenslanders and are vital to Townsville’s economic health,” Mr Brennan said.

“A lot of the time these small business owners are so busy working in their business, they don’t have the time or sometimes the skills and knowledge to work on their business. That’s where the TBDC can step in and provide support for them to build skills, capacity and business resilience.”

TBDC is a not-for-profit organisation that has been operating in Townsville since 1995, with the assistance of its major supporter Townsville City Council.

It has a reputation for delivering high quality services, training and advice to small business owners and operators. In the three years between July 2015 to June 2018 the TBDC delivered over 1200 consultancy-based workshops for local businesses stimulating business growth which it estimated to generate over 1000 jobs.

TBDC CEO Ben Verning said the new team would focus on generating this type of positive impact, while bringing with it a new membership structure and personalised approach.

“Ensuring your business model is resilient enough to withstand the first few years of business is key to long term success. We see our role as ensuring that start-ups and existing small businesses are equipped with the tools they need to survive and that they have a place to turn to for information and support,” Mr Verning said.

“To help us deliver on this key objective, TBDC members will now have the opportunity to attend any of our business growth workshops free of charge where formerly they were charged a fee and we will be introducing individualised growth and transition plans for member and tenant businesses as well as an administrative support program.”

“There are already more than 20 workshops scheduled before Christmas and these are open to all businesses, but free to TBDC members. We understand that every local business we help to grow, will in turn employ more Townsville locals and help generate economic prosperity for our wider community.”

Plant-EM Landscaping Director and TBDC Tenant Business Operator William Crabb said the new board and CEO had already injected some energy into the Centre.

“There’s a really good feeling around the Centre at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing the new team’s plans be put into action,” he said.

“My business is now at a point where I’m ready to grow and expand and knowing I will have the support available to help me do that in a professional and measured manner is very reassuring.”