Entries in the 2023 Local Business Heroes program have increased by 400 per cent since last year with 100 winners selected from a pool of over 4,000 entries. Businesses from regional Australia made up 40 per cent of the Local Business Heroes winners.
The annual program was created to assist local business owners to help them reach new customers and give their business a boost. With small businesses facing pressures of rising inflation and interest rates, this year Australia Post has almost doubled the total number of Local Business Heroes to 100 winners, from 57 last year.
Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcel, Post and eCommerce Services, Gary Starr, said, the response to this year’s application phase has been remarkable and a strong indicator of the need to support small Aussie businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy.
“Small businesses operate at the heart of all communities across Australia. Australia Post is extremely proud to provide support to hard-working business owners – helping their businesses to thrive.”
“I’m particularly delighted that, this year, we’ve seen an influx of applications from business across rural and regional Australia, which made up almost a third of all applications, who might not have the same opportunities as those located in metro locations. I look forward to seeing the winners reach new customers and utilise other benefits of the program,” Mr. Starr said.
This year, the number one category for entries was clothing – representing 18 per cent of Local Business Hero applications, with the 2023 Local Business Hero winners including Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, a clothing business located in Canberra that creates mastectomy swimwear for breast cancer survivors.
The second highest category was Arts and Crafts at 13 per cent of applications with several winners falling into this industry, including The Daily Planner, a planner created for teachers by a Brisbane-based teacher and business owner. Another winner is Calm Ideas, a Sydney-based business that creates products such as notepads and cardboard boxes for children struggling with anxiety. Children can note down their worries in their Worry Cubby notepads before popping them into their Worry Cubby houses, helping to relieve children’s worries and stress.
Other business categories included Jewellery and Accessories representing 11 per cent of this year’s applicants, Bath and Body Products at eight per cent and Food and Drinks also at eight per cent. Sustainable business, Naked Asian Grocer, is a zero waste Asian grocery store based in Melbourne and is one of this year’s winning foodies.
The Local Business Heroes program is designed to help businesses through coaching, marketing and technology support. Applications were open to all small businesses who are selling products online and are an existing customer of Australia Post.
In 2023, the recipients choose five benefit options (out of eight) to make up their $5,000 Local Business Heroes package. The eight options are made up of four key categories: Marketing, Sending (packaging and postage), Staying Connected and Business Coaching.
Source: Australia Post