Business Events and Support


Business Events

We host a range of events for our business community here in Darebin.

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To help you develop and grow your business in Darebin, we host a range of events that focus on areas such as networking, training, mentoring and much more. These are all great opportunities to keep your business growing and connect you with our thriving business community here in Darebin.





Saturday           21 February

10:00am – 2:00pm

Darebin Arts Entertainment Centre                                               Cnr Bell St & St Georges Rd, Preston

Darebin Sustainable Living Expo

Tuesday            24 February 

10:00am – 2:15pm

Preston Town Hall                           274 Gower Street, Preston

Small Business Mentoring Service

Thursday          26 February

10:00am – 4:00pm

Northcote: On-Street                      247-249 High Street, Northcote

Small Business Mentoring Service

Thursday            2 March

10:00am – 4:00pm

Preston: On-Street                             274 Gower Street, Preston

Small Business Mentoring Service

Thursday            5 March

7:00am – 9:00am

Mantra Bell City Ballroom                                             215 Bell Street, Preston

Northern Business Achievement Awards

Thursday          19 March

12noon - 2:30pm

Sovereign Receptions Melbourne  302 St Georges Road, Thornbury

Women in Business Networking Lunch

Tuesday            24 March

10:00am – 2:15pm

Preston Town Hall                           274 Gower Street, Preston

Small Business Mentoring Service

3 April      to        6 April




14 April    to      25 April




Tuesday            21 April  5:00pm - 8:30pm Council Chambers, High Street, Preston  Marketing for Growth
Tuesday            28 April 10:00am – 2:15pm Preston Town Hall                           274 Gower Street, Preston  Small Business Mentoring Service

Thursday           30 April

7.00am – 9.30am

Darebin Arts Entertainment Centre Cnr Bell St & St Georges Rd, Preston

Business Breakfast

Tuesday            19 May

9:30am – 11:30am


Marketing Basics

Friday                22 May

12:00pm – 2:30pm

Mantra Ballroom Bell City 205 Bell Street Preston

Gala Lunch – date subject to change

Tuesday            26 May

10:00am – 2:15pm

Preston Town Hall                           274 Gower Street, Preston

Small Business Mentoring Service

Thursday          28 May

6:00pm – 8:30pm


Darebin Arts Entertainment Centre Cnr Bell St & St Georges Rd, Preston

Speed Networking

Thursday             4 June

7:00am – 9:00am

Mantra Bell City Ballroom                                             215 Bell Street, Preston

Northern Business Achievement Awards

Tuesday              9 June

6:30pm – 8:00pm

Northcote Town Hall

Retail Lease Seminar – details to be released shortly

Tuesday            30 June

10:00am – 2:15pm

Preston Town Hall                           274 Gower Street, Preston

Small Business Mentoring Service


For further information please contact Business Development on 8470 8344.


Business Opportunities

Below are some current business opportunities.

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Expressions of Interest

Business Events

We are currently reviewing the content and providers of the 2015/16 Darebin Business Event Program. We are looking for businesses or consultants that can provide information that Darebin businesses can use to enhance or improve their operations. To be considered please provide a one page document that outlines the following:

Business Topic

Audience range - beginner, intermediate, advanced

Key messages for participants 

Points of difference (why you?)

Cost to participants (if any)

Cost to host event (if any)

Total cost of event

Number of participants

Venue requirements

Contact details



 Darebin based businesses will be considered. Note: This is not a forum to sell or promote your product or services.

Active Spaces

The Active Spaces Program places art displays and creative businesses into long term vacant shops to stimulate the energy, economics and cultural activity of Darebin's shopping precincts.

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This program is transforming vacant shop windows from poster clad, tagged and unkempt shop windows into shining, colorful, destinations which are once again contributing to the life, energy and economy of the street. 

Active Spaces in Darebin has also displayed art exhibits from over forty local artists across Darebin.

Facebook iconActive Spaces in Darebin 

Active Spaces Results
Since the first new business was set up in Northcote in December 2012, Active Spaces has facilitated over 13 short term businesses, or pop up shops, across Darebin. 

Four of the 13 temporary pop up businesses have extended their short term leases, with two of these signing long term leases in the vacant shop they initially popped up in.  

If you would like to trial your business idea or display your artwork in a vacant shop, send an email to

Business Grants

State and Federal Government provide a range of grants you can apply for to help your business.

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  • Business Victoria’s ‘Employment Start Up for Business’ program encourages small to medium-sized businesses across Victoria to employ young people and offers grants of up to $4,000 for each successful employment opportunity.
  • Business Victoria Grants offers financial support, advice, education and training programs.
  • Australian Government provides information about federal funding and grants available to help you start, manage and grow your business.

Further Information
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Sustainable Business

We support businesses who are working to reduce their environmental impact with the Green Business Network, Green Business Directory, free business support training and funding opportunities.

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Sustainability Victoria funding 
Sustainability Victoria has Energy and Materials Program Grants and Energy Efficient Office Buildings Program Grants funding grants ranging from $15,000 up to $150,000.  

Business Recycling
We run a fortnightly Business Recycling service for business waste so that your recyclables won’t end up in landfill. 

Light$mart – Energy Efficient Lighting Program
You can save $1,350 a year on your electricity bills. That’s the average amount that the 75 businesses who upgraded their lights through the Darebin Light$mart Program have saved.

Light$mart works with local businesses, organisations and practitioners to retrofit and install energy efficient lighting. Council is offering a discount on lighting products so register your interest in the LightSmart Program

Check out what some of our Light$mart businesses are already doing, find out more, and register your interest in the program.

Darebin Fridge Timer Program
If you have fridges that contain non-perishable items you could be saving between $390 - $470 a year by switching them off when your business is closed. We are offering food and beverage businesses free fridge timers to reduce electricity consumption. To receive a free fridge timer, contact your local Environmental Health Officer phone: 8470 8658.

We are Greening our Business
Is your business recycling and working to reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste? If so, do you have your ‘we are greening our business’ sticker and are you listed and promoted in our Green Business Directory?

The ‘we are greening our business’ stickers have been developed to recognise and celebrate the effort you are making to reduce your environmental impact. A certificate can accompany the sticker to let your customers and peers know about your efforts.

  • Bronze, silver or gold stars are allocated to mark each area of action (lighting, energy efficiency, water, waste, food, chemicals, transport, and sustainable products). The more actions you take, the more stars you get. 
  • Colour of the star indicates how comprehensive your action has been. 

If you have taken action to reduce your environmental footprint and would like to participate in the program, please contact us.
• Stars are gold for business – Preston Leader article
• We are Greening our Business – certificate sample

Darebin Green Business Network
The Network meets quarterly to develop new sustainable business initiatives and share news, inspiration and resources.  Register your interest in joining the network and/or being notified of upcoming events by contacting us.
• VECCI presentation – Solar PV and Your Business
• EnviroGroup Presentation – Commercial Solar PV Case Studies

Darebin Green Business Directory
The businesses listed the Darebin Green Business Directory include cafes, accountants, osteopaths, mechanics, solar power installers . They are all working to operate more sustainably or are offering ‘green’ products and services that can help you reduce your environmental impact.

Green Business Support
If your business sells ‘green’ products or services, or is actively working to reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste, in addition to joining our Green Business Network and Directory you can access our free business support training and mentoring. To register your interest, contact:

Business Development and Strategic Projects Officer
Ph: 8470 8418

Attracting Green Businesses
Green Business Attraction Strategy outlines how Council is planning to increase the number of green businesses in Darebin.

Tips and resources
The following websites offer some great tips and resources:
Positive Charge – the top five energy saving tips for businesses in retail, cafés or restaurants, hotels or motels, manufacturers, office or professional organisations.
Positive Charge – short videos on how to cut the cost of your energy bills.
Energy Efficiency Assist – short videos covering topics such as energy efficiency, optimisation and management, and energy saving technologies/options.
Carbon Compass – improve your energy efficiency, reduce costs and lower carbon emissions by providing real and practical information. Links to grants and funding are also provided.

Other Programs
If you own or lease a commercial office take a look at CitySwitch. It’s a high-value no-cost service that helps commercial office tenants improve office energy efficiency.

Further Information
Sustainable Business Officer
Ph: 8470 8550

Starting a Business

Everything you need to know about starting a business in Darebin, including planning, regulations, and advice on managing and growing your business.

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Whether you have a fantastic new business idea or you’re looking to take over an existing operation, it’s important to have accurate information about all aspects of starting a business.

We can help you understand the market you’re entering, your business obligations, the planning process, and more.

Useful Information
1. Planning – Planning permits are required for any land use or development.
2. Food, Health and Safety – Specific permits are required if you are operating a food or health business.
3. Local Laws – A permit is required if you intend to place permanent or temporary items, e.g. signs, tables, chairs, or merchandise, on public footpaths.
4. Building Planning – Building permits are required for any work that includes erection of canopies or signage.
5. Transport, Traffic and Parking Management – Permits are required for street closures, parking and filming in Darebin.

Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL)
The Darebin Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organisation that can help with the start up and growth of your small business.

Further Information
Website: Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd
Ph: 9499 9100

Business Victoria
The Business Victoria website is a comprehensive online resource offering a range of services. They can help you with starting or buying a business, finding the right licences, employing and managing people, and much more.

Further Information
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Business Support and Advice

We provide information and guidance, including mentoring and management advice, business connections, and education and training.

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Support and Advice

  • Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL) is a non-profit organisation that can help with the start up and growth of your small business.
  • Enterprise Connect is an Australian Government initiative that offers advice and support to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Small Business Mentoring Service is an independent non-profit organisation that provides one-on-one advice from an experienced mentor in your field.
  • Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource offering a range of services such as starting or buying a business, finding the right licences, employing and managing people, and much more.
  • Social Traders is a non-profit organisation that supports and encourages the establishment of social enterprises Australia-wide. Social Enterprises take a number of forms and deliver outcomes as diverse as employment for the disadvantaged, production of important goods and services, or fundraising for other charitable activities and community projects.

Education and Training

  • If you are unemployed and have a great business idea, you should definitely look into the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). It’s a Commonwealth Government funded program that provides help to unemployed people who would like to start a small business.
  • APlus is a training company that focuses on apprenticeships and traineeships in the northern metropolitan area. They help employers find the right staff and also work with apprentices and trainees to find job opportunities.
  • Melbourne Polytechnic has expertise in developing industry-specific courses and the Preston Business Enterprise Centre.
  • La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus is located in Bundoora. 

Business and Development

  • NORTH Link is a northern regional partnership of industry, education and government established for the purposes of economic development, regional marketing and promotion of Melbourne’s north. NORTH Link also provides information to prospective business investors in Melbourne’s north.
  • Inner Northern Group Training was established by local government to promote employment through the apprenticeship and traineeship systems.


Employment Services Providers

Darebin is home to a number of employment and job services providers that can help your business find and keep the right people.

These are non-profit private organisations that can provide staff for any position (Job Services) , as well as specialist support for job seekers with disabilities (Disability Employment Services).

Further Information

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344


Darebin Business Profile

Darebin has a thriving economy based on a diverse range of new and long-established businesses.

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We are home to a multitude of ‘micro businesses’ as well as unique and significant retail hubs such as the iconic Preston Market and the rapidly expanding Northland Shopping Centre.

Add to the mix an innovative manufacturing culture and the main campuses of two renowned Higher Educational institutions – La Trobe University and NMIT – and you have a vibrant, healthy business and economic climate.   

Council has developed profiles on its economy and employment that include detailed analyses of the Darebin economy, industry sectors and labour force.
Business Development Strategies 
These are the strategies that form and underpin our work, especially in relation to marketing, employment and skills, business and industry development, business support, and environmental sustainability.
Further Information 
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Business Associations

Find industry contacts, employment programs and services, education and training, business associations, and other business resources.

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Business Associations work with businesses and Council to ensure the ongoing success of their local areas. The Business Associations range from formal, incorporated organisations that meet regularly, to casual groups of business owners who meet only occasionally.  

All Business Associations and Advisory Committees in Darebin are listed on the Darebin Business Directory.

  • Preston Business Advisory Committee
  • Reservoir Village Business Association
  • Northcote Business Association
  • Fairfield Village Business Association
  • Westgarth Village Business Association
  • Oakhill Village Business Association 

Special Rate Schemes

These schemes are aimed at improving the performance of traditional retail shopping strips. Funds raised are used to develop and implement marketing plans, promotional activities, general management and administration.

There are currently four schemes operating within the City of Darebin.

  • Preston Central Special Rate Scheme
  • Reservoir Village Special Rate Scheme
  • Station Street Fairfield Special Rate Scheme
  • High Street Northcote Special Charge Scheme

Good Access is Good Business

In Darebin, an estimated 20 per cent of residents identify as having a disability or caring for a person with a disability. The ‘Good Access is Good Business’ program aims to help businesses understand how to reach out to all of our residents by improving access for people with a disability.

Further Information

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344