Business 101 - Growing creative industry from hobby to business

6.30pm, Barnet Long Room, Customs House

Thank you, Jo [Kelly]. Good evening, everyone, welcome to Customs House and to this seminar on turning your hobby into a creative business.

They will draw on their own varied experiences to help you as you decide whether your idea is a viable business or whether it should remain an enjoyable hobby.

If it is a potential business, they'll tell you how can get it going and how you can develop it in various ways. You will also learn about the ecosystem, business basics, marketing, the importance of community and networking, and how to get a real world perspective from a local business.

This series of seminars is designed to improve knowledge and capacity across the small business sector, and to help new business operators to understand the possible pitfalls and get a handle on the council approval processes.

So far this year we've held five seminars, with over 461 enthusiastic attendees on topics ranging from tech start-ups to live music to on-line marketing and food and outdoor dining. We've had fantastic feedback and I hope that all of you here this evening will find it as useful as earlier groups have.

The business community - small, medium and large - is essential to Sydney's success as a global city and we've put tremendous effort into supporting business and promoting growth areas including in the digital start-up and creative sectors.

We do this in a many ways. We have developed action plans to promote economic development, retail and tourism; we meet regularly with business chambers; we've revived the village centres like Redfern and made improvements to 57 city laneways making them attractive to small business and their customers, and of course, we introduced these seminars.

All that work is now at risk as the NSW Government attempts to push us into amalgamation with Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and Botany councils, expanding our area by over four times the current size, and giving the City a population equal to that of Tasmania.

Small business won't get much of a hearing then, and an independent survey earlier this year showed that 72 per cent of City businesses oppose the enlarged boundaries. If you are also of that view and oppose the amalgamation, please let Premier Baird know - there is information on your chair.

Small business is a vital, and growing part of the Sydney economy. It's at the creative heart of the City, it's a major employer, and it adds enormously to the vibrancy, individuality and liveability of our City.

So I wish you all well in your venture, and once again, I thank this terrific panel for sharing their time and their knowledge with us.