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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 November 2014) . . Page.. 3984 ..

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, could you expand on those opportunities that have been funded through the program?

MR GENTLEMAN: As I have just mentioned, six loan applications have been approved and $28,000 provided in loans since February this year. One of the examples is a start-up company that aims to provide property and owner specific advertising and marketing material for the sale of real estate. Dream Real Estate Advertising and Marketing Pty Ltd received a $3,000 no-interest loan to produce marketing material that ensures a cost-effective solution currently not being provided to real estate vendors. This service will be available directly to the vendor rather than through the agent, making response times quicker and more cost effective. Support under the loan program will focus on marketing and refining the business model.

Another example is a new free publication called Coffee Tree Weekly, which is distributed around Canberra cafes. The aim of the publication is to provide an affordable print platform for small to medium businesses to be able to advertise their products and services. The publication is currently distributed to around 80 cafes in the ACT.

Pure Pod is another business that has benefited from the microcredit program. A pioneer of the eco and sustainable fashion industry, Pure Pod, recently signed a three-year agreement with a TV production company to produce a range of licensed children’s clothing for their television show. The distribution rights cover Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The funding Pure Pod received under this program will enable the company to look at cost-effective production and distribution options. Support will also focus on key business support areas such as financial management, business planning and forecasting.

These are just three of the small businesses that the ACT microcredit program is currently supporting. I look forward to hearing about the progress of all of our microcredit funding recipients in the future.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, what is the eligibility criterion for applicants wishing to seek funding from the microcredit scheme?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Berry for her question. Loans are available on a competitive basis, and eligibility for no-interest loans includes a combined family income of no higher than $65,000; ACT residency for a minimum of six months, and there is proof of residency required there; and businesses to be currently based in the ACT. The criteria successful applicants must meet for no-interest loans are that they must have a well-conceived business idea, the ability to articulate the ideas and an understanding of the market in which they operate. Funding can only be used for material or equipment essential to the establishment of the business. Funding cannot be used for personal expenditure. Applicants also have to demonstrate a clear commitment to the success of their business idea as well as a willingness to participate in the development program.

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