Corangamite Shire Council has pledged $180,000 to support small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus.
Small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 economic downturn could receive a boost as part of four new council grant schemes announced on Wednesday.
The latest Australia Bureau of Statistics data reveals Corangamite Shire has lost 572 jobs due to the pandemic, resulting in more than $590,000 in lost wages.
Corangamite Shire Council acting director sustainable development Rory Neeson said the aim was to give the local economy a cash injection that would speed up the shire's financial recovery.
"Council encourages our small business operators who have been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to get on the front foot and apply for these grants quickly," he said.
"Grants will be allocated on a 'first come, first serve' basis to get the money circulating sooner rather than later."
The funding schemes include up to $2000 per business for digital assistance, up to $5000 to offer a new service, a one-off payment of $1000 for any business that has been forced to close, and up to $2000 for local advertising.
Applications for three of the funding schemes are now open with the fourth to be launched in the next financial year.
Businesses are only eligible to apply for two of the new programs.
Mr Neeson said operators should refer to relevant guidelines for each grant program on the council's website and consider which best suited their needs.
He urged interested business owners to contact the council's economic development team on 5593 7100 to discuss individual needs.
"They will be able to help you identify which will serve you best so you can apply strategically," Mr Neeson said.
In Moyne, the council has arranged a team of advisors to assist business owners in making informed decisions on how to rebuild.
The draft budget for the next financial year also includes $50,000 to a facade upgrade program for businesses, $30,000 for business awards that in light of COVID-19 may be diverted to business support mechanisms and $160,000 for economic development initiatives to meet actions from Moyne Shire's economic development strategy 2019-2029.
Warrnambool City Council was contacted for comment but did not respond.
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