Many Tasmanian businesses took a financial blow when the pandemic struck the Apple Island’s shores in March but a partnership is helping five businesses in the West Tamar look to the future.
The West Tamar Council an Rio Tinto’s Bell Bay Aluminium smelter joined forces for the Recovery, Economic and Resilience Grants to assist businesses with a share of $50,000.
Following an application and assessment process, five businesses secured $10,000 each across marine, food manufacturing, adventure tourism and education sectors.
The successful recipients include Pivot Maritime International, Launceston Kayak Tours, A Pinch of Tasmania, Learning Partners and the Commercial Dive Academy.
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Bell Bay Aluminium general manager Shona Markham said being resilient and adaptive in the current economic environment had never been more important for businesses.
“The smelter has had the privilege of operating throughout this pandemic and, we want to be able to support those smaller local businesses in our region impacted by COVID-19,” she said.
“I am delighted our funding will support five very diverse businesses operating in the West Tamar to expand capacity or production, embrace technology, support training initiatives and introduce new product ranges.”
As none of the navigation equipment used in the maritime industry allows Pivot Marine International will use the grant to develop a live-streaming system to provide remote access to equipment to enable them to do business with clients regardless of location.
Launceston Kayak Tours will use the funding to acquire a custom kayak trailer and additional hobie kayaks to expand capacity and service delivery.
A new product range is on the cards for A Pinch of Tasmania with aged black garlic. The grant will cover the cost of specialised equipment to produce the product in commercial quantities.
Learning Partners will used it to establish a video conferencing facility and software to allow an extension of their online training delivery.
Commercial Dive Academy owner Alan Strong said their grant would enable them to establish an offshore launch and recovery system using a working bell at Beauty Point to allow student training on site.
“It will give us a job to do whilst we’re shut down, as 90 per cent of our business is international students.
“It’s really good timing too, because we were planning to do it next year,” he said.
“We normally have to travel to Lake Cethana to do all the training, so this will help reduce transport costs and the costs to accommodate staff members.”
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