Business Events and Support

Upload your Preston Market snaps for the chance to win $250 in Preston Market vouchers.

In partnership with Preston Market, Darebin City Council is giving away $250 in Preston Market shopping vouchers to one lucky shopper!

To enter, all you need to do is share your love for Preston Market by uploading photos of your visit to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #DiscoverPrestonMarket. We love seeing locals out and about exploring their neighborhood, so get snapping! 

The competition opens Monday 29 October and closes 11:59pm, Friday 29 November.

 View competition Terms and Conditions here.


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

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.


Business Events in Darebin
Event Date Time Location Cost

NBAA Breakfast

Thursday 6 December 7am-9am Mantra Bell City Ballroom, 215 Bell Street, Preston $60

Further Information:
Phone: 8470 8344

Below are some current business opportunities including any current Tenders

PaTH Program

Thinking of taking on a young person into your business?  The PaTH program has been specifically designed by the Department of Employment to make it easier and more attractive for business to employ 15 – 24 y.o. It does this by offering an incentive of $1000 for you to trial a young person for at least 4 weeks, then tops it off by providing a wage subsidy of at least $6500 if you offer ongoing employment to that person.  Additionally, the program provides job readiness training to people so that you can be confident the person you are taking on is ready to hit the ground running.  All the details can be found on the Department of Employment’s website.  What are waiting for – give a young person a chance today. 

Industry Capability Network

Industry Capability Network The Industry Capability Network (ICN) is a business network that introduces Australian and New Zealand companies to projects large and small.

The ICN is an independent organisation financially supported by Australian, New Zealand, state and territory governments. Since it started 30 years ago, ICN has helped local suppliers find $30 billion worth of contracts.

ICN bridges the information gap between buyers and sellers by providing advice and services to clients in all industries by:
  • Finding the best Australian products and suppliers
  • Facilitating import replacement
  • Assisting with Victorian Industry Participation Policy enquiries and plans (VIPP)
  • Supporting major industrial, energy and infrastructure projects
  • Accessing Global Supply Chains
  • Providing Tariff Concession Order applications services
  • Offering Enhanced Project By-Law Scheme research services
  • Administering industry and sectoral research

To find out more or to register go to the ICN website.

Respect the rule campaign

Every day young workers face humiliating and sexually suggestive remarks from customers, managers and co-workers, as well as being bullied, groped and threatened.  Hospitality workers have come together to develop a powerful campaign ‘Respect the Rule’ to make venues safe for everyone. Darebin strongly supports this campaign and encourages businesses to participate by:

  1. Signing a pledge stating you will only go to venues that have a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment. Click here to sign.
  2. Venues can sign the ‘Respect Is the Rule’ Pledge to help create safe and respectful environments for their staff. Venues who pledge are listed on the campaign website. Click here to find out more info.

Everybody deserves to be safe at work. For more details

The Active Spaces in Darebin program works with real estate agents, property owners and creative business to transform areas which have an abundance of vacant shops, graffiti tagging and bill posters into economically stimulated and culturally charged destinations.

The Active Spaces in Darebin is delivered with a hands-on approach, providing support with:

  • Assistance in finding an appropriate property
  • Negotiating a reasonable rent with the real estate agent or the property owner
  • If required negotiating a short term lease agreement with the option to use our Exclusive Licence Agreement.
  • Business mentoring and business setup 101
  • Marketing , promotion and networking opportunities
  • Information and support with council permits and processes
  • Guidance to find suitable insurance
  • Promotion on our Facebook page and in other Council publications
  • Small one off grant to assist with start-up costs
  • Negotiating for the right property

Since the program launch we have worked with a broad range of creative businesses that have included:

  • Retail
  • Not-For-Profit projects
  • Social enterprises
  • Co-working spaces
  • Artist's requiring studio spaces, workshops & rehearsal spaces
  • Shop window galleries Art exhibitions/installations
  • Artists creating public art and murals

For a full list of creative businesses that have been involved in the program since 2012 click here.

For a full list of artists who have exhibited the work in vacant spaces throughout Darebin since 2012 click here.

The program has identified a number of priority areas for activation, the current priority areas are:

  • High Street Preston - from the Preston Council Offices to Bell Street.
  • High Street and Plenty Road, South Preston - from Bell Street to the Junction with Plenty Road
  • Plenty Road, South Reservoir - from Shakespeare Avenue to Ethel Grove (Tyler Street).

How to get involved:

Read the information sheet and contact us to discuss your creative project or business idea.

Further Information 
Brodie Butler-Robey 
Business Development

Ph: 8470 8480


NORTH Link and Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA), proudly announce the launch of a unique report on the future workforce in Melbourne's North. Called "The Future Workforce: Melbourne’s North and the Food and Beverage Plan", the report has been prepared in collaboration with industry, education and local government in Melbourne’s North.

The Future Workforce: Melbourne's North 

The report was the vision of Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA), the eight councils of Melbourne’s North, Metropolitan Planning Authority, NORTH Link, La Trobe University, RMIT University and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development who also funded the project.

Launched by the Hon Colin Brooks MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Premier of Victoria on 18th November 2015, report identifies:

  1. Current composition and capabilities of the Melbourne’s North workforce. 
  2. Where the future opportunities are and the likely industry requirements.
  3. The infrastructure investments required to increase in-region employment.
  4. A 7 STEP employment and skills strategy for Melbourne’s North over the next decade.
A regional action plan is being developed with La Trobe University; RMIT University; Melbourne Polytechnic and Bendigo Kangan Institute with the aim of ensuring that local industry has access to a skilled workforce and modern infrastructure for innovation and growth.

An Executive Summary and Full Report are available for download at no cost.  

To order your copy of a printed report they may be purchased for $110 (incl. GST) by contacting Deb Redmond or (03) 9479 3339.

The Food and Beverage Plan

The Food and Beverage Growth Plan – Melbourne’s North has been prepared on behalf of the Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committee by McKINNA et al.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the food and beverage processing and distribution sector in the northern Melbourne region, covering seven local government areas. It concludes that there is a wealth of opportunity to be built on despite the many issues facing the industry and area.

We're inviting local businesses to explore export opportunities through our Export Facilitation Program.

Export can provide growth and profit, however, operating in international markets is a long term strategy and can be a complex and demanding field.  Participants in this program will receive free mentoring and business capability assessments along with expert advice to prepare their business for export.

What will the export program provide?

The Export Program facilitator will provide a one-on-one confidential service and assessment of your export business capability including;

  • Export readiness and required capabilities to support the export initiatives
  • Assessment of products and services suitable for the selected market
  • Assessment of production capacity, quality and adequate supply chains
  • Management and Staff accountabilities for success
  • Promotional methods and costing analysis
  • Export methods: direct export, distributors, sales agents, offshore warehousing, joint venture partnership and technology contractual collaboration agreements
  • Knowledge of country laws, regulations, tariff barriers, packaging, labelling, entry documentation, shipping, product/service liabilities insurance
  • Selection of suitable trade exhibitions and trade missions
  • Contract agreements, sales agents, marketing agents, distributors and technology collaborations 
  • Government grants and assistance for export development

Expressions of interest are now open for the 2017/18 program which will commence with initial meetings in October.

If you would like to participate please complete the Darebin Export Facilitation Program form - please note this program is open to Darebin businesses only.


Help in the form of Funding and Support is available for your business.

 Boost your Business vouchers

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources (DEDJTR) has established Boost Your Business Vouchers to support Victorian businesses to become more productive, employ more people, improve market access and in general, increase their scale, diversity and profitability.

Each Voucher Recipient may be able to receive up to:

  • $50,000 under the Advanced Victorian Manufacturing Stream
  • $50,000 under the Asia Gateway Stream
  • $50,000* under the Food Innovation Stream
    • *Up to $10,000 for early stage feasibility and testing vouchers
  • $25,000 under the Social Enterprise Capability Stream

Applicants should refer to each program guidelines for specific program eligibility criteria.

Program will be open for applications on 29 January. For full details of the program and eligibility criteria see the information at Business Victoria

Recycling Industry Transition Support Grants

$50,000 - $500,000 available

Round one expires Tuesday 8 May 2018 then continues monthly. 

Sustainability Victoria is offering grants to support Victoria's resource recovery sector to improve its capability in the wake of the recent announcements around waste imports.  The grants are available to recovery and reprocessing operators including those owned by local government authorities, not-for-profits and social enterprises. 

The grants are available for the following:

  • infrastructure, equipment and process upgrades at material recovery facilities (MRFs) to support greater sorting and decontamination of PPC waste
  • infrastructure and equipment upgrades to reprocess PPC waste (e.g. shred, wash, granulate, flake, pelletise) to a commercial grade to supply domestic manufacturers and export markets
  • storage and consolidation infrastructure (e.g. sheds, temporary cover) to allow for the short-term and safe storage of recovered PPC waste, that:
    • stores PPC waste materials for no more than 12 months; and
    • has a demonstrated path to reprocessing into commercial grade product

To access all details go to the Sustainability Victoria web page.


Workforce Training Innovation Fund (WTIF) 2018.

Up to $40m per annum available to fund innovative training initiatives

Hurry applications close 11 May.

Partnerships between industry and training providers can be established to apply for grants to fund industry based training.  Both Seed Funding and Grant Funding is available to initiatives that can demonstrate innovation either in their delivery or in what they want to achieve.

Training providers can either be TAFEs, private providers or Learn Locals and industry can include businesses of any size and scale, as long as they can demonstrate that they have been trading for a minimum of 3yrs.  However, groups of businesses can also come together to form consortia and apply on the basis of the training needs for the group. 

Funding applications can be submitted at any time.

For all information, fact sheets, case studies and updates, head to the State Government's Skills First site or call the Business Development team at Darebin Council to discuss your proposal: 8470 8344.


Sector Growth Program

$20 million Jobs Boost and Blueprint for Growth

2018 applications close midnight Wednesday 13 June.

This program builds on the Future Industries plans from the Victorian government and makes available grants of up to $1m per project. 

Two types of grants are available. 

1. Scoping, planning and feasibility studies:

Projects that will be considered for funding under Stream 1 of the program will focus on scoping, planning and feasibility studies directed at identifying opportunities aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies. Funding of up to $10,000 is available. Eligible activities can include:

  • Road mapping
  • Supply chain analysis
  • Sector capability audits
  • Economic impact analyses
  • Feasibility studies
  • Sector opportunity analysis
  • Pathway to market strategy

2. Project implementation:

Projects that will be considered will focus on the implementation of projects aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies that enhance the applicants’ and the sectors’ growth, productivity and competitiveness. Funding of up to $1 million will be available for projects in Stream 2. All funding must be matched by a minimum cash co-contribution of $1 for every $1 funded. Projects are to be completed within two (2) years of the negotiation of a suitable grant agreement. Relevant activities include but are not limited to:

  • Shared infrastructure solutions
  • Piloting new technologies, such as demonstration plant/equipment
  • Establishing consolidated industry capability.

To be eligible for either stream, applications must be submitted on behalf of a consortium with a lead applicant which can be either private sector businesses; not for profit organisations, such as educational or health institutions, Victorian local government authorities; Victorian public sector agencies.

For full details of the program and eligibility criteria see the information at Business Victoria

Local Industry Fund for Transition, Melbourne's North (LIFT)

The State Government has implemented this program, offering grants of up to $2 million to businesses based in the North. The fund replaces the established Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF) and supports projects that create sustainable jobs and economic activity. Eligible project expenditure may include: purchase of equipment or machinery to assist business establishment or expansion, direct labour costs, construction or fit-out of a new building or extension to existing premises. There is a cash co-contribution of $3 for every $1 granted. Preference will be given to projects that create jobs for local workers facing retrenchment due to the closure of automotive manufacturing operations.

Read more about the programme on the Fact Sheet or submit an expression of interest.

Future Industries Manufacturing Program

The Victorian Government has established the $200m Future Industries Fund to support six high-growth sectors that have potential for extraordinary economic growth - to create jobs and attract investment in Victoria. Arising from this program is the Future Industries Manufacturing Program (FIMP) which offers generous grants for the manufacturing sector.


  • Grants of up to $500k per business called for. Grants of less than $100k will not be accepted.

Business should:

Have the ability to meet the co-contribution requirement ($3 for every $1 granted)

The program provides grants of up to 25 per cent of eligible project expenditure, with a maximum grant of $500,000. Applicants will need to demonstrate how the project outcomes justify the grant investment.

Eligible project expenditure includes the following activities relating to the proposed project:

  • Capital expenditure and other project-related non-capitalised expenditure (but does not include vehicles, internal costs or salaries)
  • Manufacturing product and process improvements (including significant improvements in technical specifications; components and materials; software in the project; user friendliness or other functional characteristics; and/or new or significantly improved production or delivery methods)
  • Prototyping, evaluation and testing of new products and manufacturing processes
  • Supply chain capability development
  • Tooling
  • Training specific to the technology (external costs only)
  • Labour and contractors (but does not include internal salaries)
  • Manufacturing machinery and equipment, (for example, repurposing state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing equipment), or
  • Minor building alterations and fit-out costs

Assessment Criteria

  1. Impact of the Project on Employment and Skills
  2. The Level of Economic Benefit the Proposed Project will bring to Victoria
  3. The Demonstrated Skills, Experience and Resources Available to the Business to Successfully Undertake the Project
  4. Value for Money
  5. Need for Government Support.

Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan

Towards Future Industries: Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan

The Victorian Government has announced its $46.5m Towards Future Industries: Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan to help businesses, workers and communities affected by the closure of automotive manufacturing operations to meet the challenges ahead and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Assistance for businesses:

The Government has established the new $5m Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program to support Victorian automotive supply chain companies affected by the closure of passenger vehicle manufacturing in Victoria.

Assistance of up to $65,000 will be provided to eligible supply chain companies to help guide them through this period.

The funding will help companies develop a transition plan to identify new opportunities and target sectors and markets, and provide assistance to pursue those opportunities.

Find out more or apply for Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program.

Incubator Support Initiative

An initiative of the Federal Government, stemming out of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, this will support existing incubators and encourage the development of new ones.

The Incubator Support initiative provides funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects, both of which require matched funding from applicants.

The first is support for New and Existing Incubators:

  1. to help develop new incubators in regions or sectors with high potential for success in international trade, and
  2. to boost the effectiveness of high performing incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem.

The second is support for Expert-in-Residence:

  1. to provide access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent through secondments of national or international expert advisers who will improve their chance of commercial success in international markets.

Grant funding of up to 50 per cent of total Incubator Support Project Values will be available as follows:

  1. a minimum grant amount of $10,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for New and Existing Incubators per project with a maximum grant period of 24 months.
  2. a minimum grant amount of $1,000 and a maximum grant amount of $25,000 for Expert-In-Residence per project with a maximum grant period of 12 months

 More information, including application forms can be found on the National Science and Innovation Website.

New fund for small to medium business - Coles Nurture Fund

Coles is allocating $10m per year in grants and interest free loans to encourage small business to develop market leading products, technologies, systems and processes. Available to businesses that employ no more than 50 FTE with a turnover of less than $25m, this fund could be the difference in getting great ideas up and running.

 For all the details on this, visit the Coles Nurture Fund Guidelines.

Community Grants

Start up Finance Package for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs

An initiative of Indigenous Business Australia, this package makes it easier to get your business idea off the ground. You can access up to 30% of a new business loan as a grant to purchase assets for your business which you will not have to repay. Additional support is also provided. For more details or to apply call 1800 107 107 or see the details on the Indigenous Business Australia site.

Sustainability Grants

Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund

A $2m grant and investment facilitation program designed to support the installation of new or upgrades to existing waste to energy facilities or technology. With a particular emphasis on food waste from commercial and industrial businesses this grant is suitable for those that are able to have a project commissioned by 31 December 2019.

 For full details visit Sustainability Victoria.

Energy Assessment Grants

Boost productivity by reducing energy costs. These grants can provide either basic or detailed energy assessments from experts and are available to small to medium businesses - those employing less than 200 fte who spend over $20k on energy bills. Applications close 28 September 2018 unless funds are fully allocated before this date.

 For full details visit Sustainability Victoria .

Social Impact Investment for Sustainability Program

The Victorian Government is supporting investment-ready social enterprises to create new jobs and training opportunities, respond to climate change, avoid and recover waste and improve resource efficiency in the Victorian community.

The program provides a combination of grant and low interest loan. Investment-ready social enterprises can apply for up to $200,000 as a combination grant and low interest (2.5%) loan to scale up (expand) their operations.

Visit Sustainability Victoria for all details including application process, 

Energy Efficient Grants

Sustainability Victoria is calling for expressions of interest (EOI) from industry associations, business networks and registered training organisations (RTOs) wanting to apply for a grant to fund a project that builds the energy efficiency capability of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) or service providers. Projects need to deliver outcomes of big impact and long lasting change.

Visit Sustainability Victoria for all details including the application process.

Other Grant Opportunities

Find a grant for your business on the Business Victoria portal or with the Federal Government's grant finder there are hundreds of grants available for businesses to take advantage of.

Further Information:
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Advice and support to help run a sustainable business

Local Sustainability Business Leaders, watch and share their stories

Many businesses in Darebin are taking a lead in terms of environmental sustainability.  Be inspired by watching these short videos on some of our leading Sustainable Businesses.

Video: Exquisine - Exquisine were the first company in Australia to install a CO2 refrigeration/cooling system that is safe for the environment and extremely efficient.  They have installed 150 kws of solar, LED lights through Darebin’s Light$mart program and reduced waste to landfill. 

Video: Charles Sandford and McKay Joinery - Charlie has installed solar, LED lights and put in place many other measures to significantly reduce his ongoing costs and reduce his businesses impacts on the environment.

Video: Show Works - Show Works has installed solar, LED lights through Darebin’s Light$mart program and significantly reduced waste to landfill.  Many of the initiatives adopted have led to great environmental and $ savings for the business.

Video: Northcote Bakery - Hiruni Peiris, from the Northcote Bakeshop is passionate about sustainability.  Find out some of the things she and her business partner/husband have done to reduce energy, waste and water within their business and build new partnerships in the community.

Video: Fairfield Physiotherapy - Christine Flanagan, from Fairfield Physiotherapy, was one of the first businesses to install LED lights through Darebin Council's Light$mart program and solar through our Darebin Business Bulk Buy program.  Christine has also found other ways to reduce energy and waste in her business.

Video: Shiny Embroidery - Peter Wu, from Shiny Embroidery, Australia's largest embroidery business, has installed solar across their three Darebin sites, because it just made business sense.  Peter has also upgraded Shiny Embroidery's lights to LED and found new ways to reduce water and waste to landfill.

Light$mart – Energy Efficient Lighting Program

Take advantage of our Darebin Light$mart program and subsidy to help you upgrade your lights to LED. Over 180 local businesses have upgraded their lights to LED through the Light$mart Program. As a result of this over 15,000 lights have been made more energy efficient and businesses are saving thousands of dollars on their electricity bills.

Light$mart works with local businesses, organisations and practitioners to retrofit and install energy efficient lighting. Through Light$mart Council subsidises the LED lights by 50% (GST exclusive) with the Council rebate capped at $1,000.

For a free quote from one of our Light$mart installers or to find out more please email

Business Recycling

We offer a fortnightly business recycling service for a one off fee of $96.00 per 240 litre bin, with a maximum of two bins available. All items recyclable in the Darebin residential recycling bins are accepted. To find out what you can put in your business recycling bin go to Items Accepted for Recycling.

To order your business recycling bin(s) go to

Business Solar Saver and Environmental Upgrade Agreements

More and more businesses in Darebin are realising the financial, environmental and business benefits of installing solar on their rooftops. As energy prices continue to go up, solar for business becomes not just a good idea, but an excellent business proposition for reducing on-going costs in a very cost effective way. The Darebin Business Solar Saver program is making it easy for you to join with over 80 other businesses who have installed solar locally. 

Darebin's Business Solar Saver program allows you to install a solar system of up to 30kw at no upfront cost.  Council will pay the upfront cost for the system, then you (or your landlord) pay it off over ten years, interest free.  The savings you make on your energy bills will more than outweigh your repayments to Council.

For businesses interested in installing a system larger than 30kw or undertaking energy efficiency upgrades, we can help you to source funding to achieve this through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement.

To register your interest in the Business Solar Saver Program and/or an Environmental Upgrade go to

Sustainability Matters

Our next Sustainability Matters event will be held on Tuesday 30 April 2019 from 6 pm - 8 pm in Preston. 

Sustainability Matters is an annual event at which local business leaders share their stories of how they have adopted green practices and cut their costs whilst reducing their carbon footprint and waste.  Product suppliers and installers are also on hand to help you make the first connections with businesses that can help you take action.  You also have the chance to connect with other local businesses, share ideas and resources.  To register email

Green Business Networking Events

The Green Business Network meets bi-annually. At least one of these events is held within a local business that showcases their sustainable actions and initiatives. It is a chance to network, share ideas, inspiration and resources.

To register your interest in joining the network or to be notified of upcoming events, email or call 8470 8550.

Sustainability Victoria Energy Assessment Grants

Grants are now available for businesses that spend $20,000 or more a year on electricity and have less than 200 full time employees.

We are working with Sustainability Victoria to help local businesses reduce their energy costs and use. These grants enable businesses to have an energy assessment undertaken, identify and implement energy improvements. Funding is available from both Sustainability Victoria and Darebin Council to cover 50% or more of the cost of an energy assessment.

Grants are offered at two levels: a basic energy assessment is up to $2,000 and a detailed energy assessment is up to $6,000, with a $3,000 assessment recommendation implementation bonus available to both grants.

If you are interested in accessing one of these grants please contact

Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing

Through our SLIM (Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing) program we are working with over 30 local manufacturers to help them reduce their energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Through their participation in SLIM all these businesses have saved thousands of dollars through making changes to help their businesses be more environmentally sustainable.

All our SLIM businesses have installed LED lighting, many have installed solar, some have formed industrial ecology business partnerships to turn their waste into a resource for others, and all have reduced their waste going to landfill.

We are looking for businesses interested in accessing a highly subsidised energy audit. If you are a local manufacturer and are interested in getting support to save money and reduce your energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste and interested in connecting with other sustainable leaders in manufacturing email or call 8470 8550.

Darebin Fridge Timer Program

 If you have fridges that contain non-perishable items you could be saving between $400 - $500 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 register your interest email call 8470 8344.

Darebin Coffee Timer Trial

Commercial coffee machines use a lot of energy. It is estimated that over 50% of these machines are not turned off when businesses are closed. We are interested in working with businesses that would like to install a timer on their coffee machines to turn them off when they are not being used as part of our Darebin Coffee Timer Trial. This can save a business between $300 - $600 a year on their electricity bills.  As part of this trial Darebin Council will subsidise the cost of the timer by 50%.  The cost of installation of the timer to a business will be no more than $300.

To register your interest email or call 8470 8344.

Bicycle racks for businesses

Council is committed to encouraging green travel and will install a free bicycle parking hoop outside eligible local businesses.

To find out if your business meets the eligibility criteria for safety and accessibility please complete our online form and a transport officer will contact you.

Darebin Green Business Directory

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 business events, support, training and mentoring.

Over 160 businesses, including cafes, accountants, retail shops, osteopaths, mechanics, solar power installers, manufacturers and more are listed on the Darebin Green Business Directory. These businesses are working to operate more sustainably and/or offering ‘green’ products and services that help reduce environmental impact.

To find out more email or call 8470 8344.

"We are Greening our Business" stickers

Does your business/organisation have solar, or are you 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, solar, water, waste, food, chemicals, transport, and sustainable products). The more actions you take, the more stars you get.

If you have taken action to reduce your environmental footprint and would like to participate in the program, email or call 8470 8344.

Tips and resources

The following websites offer some great tips and resources: 

  • Positive Charge: 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.
  • CitySwitch: A high-value no-cost service that helps commercial office tenants improve office energy efficiency.

Further information:
Sustainable Business Officer
Phone: 8470 8550

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

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

The City of Darebin launched its first tourism strategy to position itself as an upcoming tourism destination.

On Wednesday 14 September 2016, the strategy was launched at the High St food truck park, Welcome To Thornbury, featuring some of Darebin’s most successful businesses.

Darebin’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Steve Hamilton, said the strategy, "Tourism: A Destination Plan for Darebin 2016-2021", will look at ways tourism can help stimulate the local economy, showcase the area’s cultural diversity and provide a unique experience to visitors.

“We have a lot to offer visitors. From the Darebin Music Feast, to the Kite Festival, the Home Made Food and Wine Expo, vibrant shopping and café strips, the Islamic Museum of Australia and the Spiritual Healing Trail at Darebin Parklands,” Mr Hamilton said.

“There are almost 150 different cultural groups in Darebin and each has contributed significantly to our community whether it be through food, wine, music, history, storytelling, even salami making. In recent years we’ve become the preferred destination for young artisans and musicians who want to call Darebin home.

“Our festivals, events and local businesses make it possible to share these valued traditions and skills to deliver a truly unique experience for tourists,” Mr Hamilton said.

There has been strong support for the tourism strategy from key Darebin operators including La Trobe University, Mantra Bell City, Parks Victoria, Northland Shopping Centre and many local businesses.

Darebin City Council will deliver the strategy over the next five years.

Download a summary of the strategy here.

Download the complete strategy here.

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

It's Tax Time

Are you a home-based business or do you work from home?

The ATO has provided this information just for you highlighting deductions and exemptions that may apply to you.

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.

Online Resources

  • Choose the right business structure and understand the director's responsibilities with the new online resource to help small business operators make key decisions regarding the running of your business. To read ASIC's guide for small business directors, visit
  • The Industry Skills Fund and Entrepreneur Program are two Federal Government initiatives designed to help your business grow. They offer assistance with training across your business and advice and support on grants, funding and the management of growth. 
  • The Victorian State Government announced its “Future Industries Manufacturing Program” (FIMP) – with up to $5mil available in funding – on 27 October. Businesses can apply for individual grants of up to $500,000 on a co-contribution basis. Applications are being accepted from now.
  • In August, the ACCC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Taxation Office and the Fair Work Ombudsman took part in the free and interactive ‘What’s new for small business?’ webinar. A video of the webinar is now available on the ACCC YouTube channel. Some of the topics discussed included: 
    • start-up businesses – what you need to think about in the first few months 
    • franchising – how the new Code of Conduct will affect you 
    • the new business-to-business unfair contract terms law taking effect on 12 November 2016 
    • new government initiatives including online resources 
    • red tape reduction – how this affects your business.

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

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


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

Business Associations in Darebin
Association President Business and Address Phone Email
Northcote Business
Shelley Anderson The Phoenix and The Turtle
268 High St, Northcote
9489 9399 Email
Fairfield Village Business 


Biviano & Sons
98-100 Station St, Fairfield

9489 0087 Email
Reservoir Village Business 
Michael Love Love Real Estate
307 Spring St, Reservoir
9460 6511  Email
Preston Business Advisory 
Managed by Darebin City Council 8470 8418  Email

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. The following associations are located in Darebin:

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

All Business Associations and Advisory Committees in Darebin are listed on the Darebin Business Directory. Guidelines for Business Associations can be found here.

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
Ph: 8470 8344

The Business Connection is Darebin's Business newsletter aimed at providing 'news that business can use'.

Welcome to The Business Connection!

This newsletter has been designed specifically for the business community of Darebin, we hope you find it an interesting and insightful read. 

To submit your idea for future editions or to request a hard copy of the newsletter please contact Business Development on 8470 8344 or email

Previous editions:
Issue One

Issue Two

Issue Three

Issue Four

Issue Five

Issue Six

Issue Seven

Issue Eight

Issue Nine

Free public WiFi is now available in our major shopping strips. Next time you’re out and about you will be able to browse social media, webpages, search for local businesses and read your emails.

Free Wi-Fi is now fully operational in the following shopping centres:

  • High Street, Preston
  • Station Street, Fairfield
  • Broadway, Reservoir
  • High Street, Northcote and Westgarth
  • Edwardes Street, Reservoir
  • Spring Street, Reservoir

For more detail on coverage areas please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

How do I access the Free Wi-Fi service?

  • Turn on Wi-Fi
  • Select “Free Darebin Wi-Fi” (in Preston, Fairfield and Reservoir) or “Darebin Free Wi-Fi” (in Northcote and Westgarth) and connect
  • Click on your internet browser from your menu page and select “sign in to Wi-Fi” when prompted
  • Accept the terms and conditions
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi!


If you have problems accessing the service and need help, there are service technicians available, at or by calling:

  • Ph: 1300 161 344 for Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield (please quote enquiry code 3004)
  • Ph: 1300 135 249 for Northcote and Westgarth

This free Wi-Fi service has been made available to you by Darebin City Council with the assistance of business owners and operators in the coverage areas and with the assistance of our industry partners Infrastructure Logic and Easyweb Digital.

Opportunities for Business

Businesses in all coverage areas are able to list and promote their businesses on a marketing portal.  To initiate this, follow the prompts once you log on to the Free Darebin WiFi, scrolling down to "Register your Business" on the front screen.   

If you would like to know how you can use the services to market your business products and services, please contact us.

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344