(3pm, Thursday 7 November 2013, Lor d Mayor's Reception Room)
Good afternoon, everyone. welcome to what I hope will be a stimulating and useful presentation and workshop. Business is the life-blood of our global city - and I include the many small and medium-sized businesses as a vital part of that. They are as much a part of the picture as our City villages are to global Sydney. Each supports and reinforces the role of the other.
Of the 21,600-plus businesses in our Local Government Area, 61 per cent are located within the villages.
Together, these village businesses employed 210,755 workers - or very close to half of all workers in the LGA. They also generate about one-quarter of the City's gross domestic product, and so are critical to our standing as a global economy.
Despite a certain unease about the economy, it is worth noting that in the five years from 2007, both the numbers of businesses, and the numbers of workers, in the villages have increased. Almost 2,000 new businesses opened in the villages, employing an additional 40,818 workers.
The City has been able to foster this development through programs such as our village improvements - especially in a place like Redfern which has undergone a dramatic transformation - and through campaigns such as the Small Bars legislation.
As you'd know, we also run regular workshops and information sessions under the Let's Talk Business banner designed to help start-ups and more established businesses.
We're now developing profiles of the local economy in each of the City's villages. These will identify the key economic characteristics of each neighbourhood, and will be used to inform the Local Economies Action Plan that we'll shortly be starting on. Of course, we will be talking to all of you as part of our preparations for that plan, and you'll have opportunities to feed into it.
Meanwhile, I welcome you all, and hope you'll go away from today's session enthused and informed.