Lessons learned from the impact of COVID-19 restrictions may help Moreton Bay businesses develop strategies to future-proof their operations in times of crisis, according to USC researchers.
USC’s School of Business has partnered with Innovate Moreton Bay to investigate business resilience and innovation among entrepreneurial firms during the coronavirus pandemic.
Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers said the research team was keen to interview owners and managers who had changed their business models to adapt, including using online platforms to engage with new customers.
“Many of the business owners we would like to talk with have come up with ingenious changes to their products to provide value to their customers, with some saying they have never been so busy,” she said.
Innovate Moreton Bay’s Regional Innovation Coordinator Steve Butler said participants would have the opportunity to showcase their businesses and inspire others by highlighting some of the impressive things they have achieved to stay relevant.
“We’ve seen innovations across a diverse range of industries, and this has not been limited to technology-focused innovations,” he said.
Dr de Villiers Scheepers said data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated the coronavirus pandemic was significantly impacting small businesses across Australia, with the effects most severely felt by businesses in the tourism and arts sectors.
“The cash flow of two out of three businesses across all sectors has been affected by the restrictions, with many deferring loan repayments, standing down staff and renegotiating their leases – yet some have sought the silver lining in the crisis,” she said.
The project builds on existing entrepreneurship research in the region and aims to support economic development efforts to bring about long-term recovery.
It complements a Queensland Regional Innovation benchmarking survey being conducted by USC, with financial assistance from Advance Queensland, to measure and showcase innovation activity in five regions, including Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast.
Mr Butler said several impressive examples of business resilience were also being promoted in the #MoretonBayTough campaign by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism and Moreton Bay Regional Council.
“This campaign features businesses who have persevered, helped others out and made significant changes to the way they do business,” he said.
Small business representatives across the Moreton Bay region who have been operating for 13 months or more are invited to register their interest in participating in the interviews.