Trader Connect: supporting traders throughout renewal
The City of Melbourne is delivering the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal program to make a great market even better. Renewal will secure the Market’s future as an affordable, authentic open-air market, known for fresh food and specialty shopping.
Market traders are a critical part of what makes the Queen Victoria Market a unique shopping environment and we want traders to succeed and thrive throughout renewal and beyond.
Melbourne City Council has committed at least $8 million to establish Trader Connect, a support program and fund to assist traders to successfully operate, grow and innovate their businesses throughout the renewal program. Trader Connect has been developed with the involvement of Market traders, and is delivered in partnership by Market management and the City of Melbourne.
For more information regarding Trader Connect, please speak to your Precinct Manager.
About Trader Connect
Trader Connect provides a range of initiatives designed to help traders mitigate impacts, realise opportunities and facilitate business development during the renewal program. Financial assistance may also be available where renewal works are shown to have a negative impact on trader profits.
The Trader Connect program was co-designed with traders through a 12 week human centred design process with City of Melbourne’s CityLab team. Forty traders along with Small Business Victoria, the Small Business Commission and business experts have helped shape Trader Connect. Read the CityLab Report here. Trader involvement will also guide the future initiatives of the program.
Trader Connect is freely available to all traders throughout the renewal program. All traders will be able to access independent, one to one expert support and advice from Business Mentors. Other support includes a dedicated trader lounge, tools and resources to help traders connect with their customers, access to health and wellbeing programs and financial assistance where renewal has had a demonstrated negative impact on profits.
The City of Melbourne and Queen Victoria Market management are committed to the success of traders through:
- A guaranteed place to trade throughout renewal.
- Stable lease and licence fees for existing traders.
- Informing and involving traders in decisions impacting their business.
- Delivering better market facilities that make it easier for traders to run businesses.
- Creating even more reasons for customers to visit and spend more time at the market.
- At least $8 million support through the Trader Connect program.
The Trader Lounge is a welcoming space for all Market traders and their staff.
Located at 266 Victoria Street, opposite the Market, the lounge includes a range of facilities to help traders run their businesses.
Delivered as part of the Trader Connect program, the new lounge has been developed in response to trader feedback about the lack of trader only facilities at the Market. The Trader Lounge is fully funded by the $8 million commitment by City of Melbourne to support traders throughout renewal.
The Trader Lounge offers free Wi-Fi, computers and printing, meeting spaces and business support services as well as toilets and areas to take a break and make yourself a tea or coffee.
The Trader Lounge will host a range of workshop and events designed to help traders run their businesses. Online media and marketing workshops, mentoring and information sessions are just a few of the trader only events that will run in the Lounge.
How to access the Trader Lounge
You will need a security access card to enter the lounge. The lease or license holder for your business will need to complete this application form and return it to your Precinct Manager or drop it in to F1. The lease or license holder may share their card with their staff or family working in the Market.
With a security access card, traders can use the Trader Lounge every Market trading day from 6am to 7pm. To make a booking to use the space outside these times, contact your Precinct Manager or SBMS mentors staffing the Lounge.
The Trader Lounge is staffed by SBMS mentors on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am until 2pm.
Independent Business Mentors work with traders on their individual business priorities. Provided by the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS), a not-for-profit industry service provider, the business mentors have diverse and interesting backgrounds and offer wide experience across a full range of business areas.
SBMS provide an independent, confidential service to support market traders to determine their priorities, what they want to achieve at the market and how to best go about it.
Find out more and book a meeting here.
SBMS also hosts a range of events and workshops specifically for market traders. Visit the ‘Upcoming Events’ page on the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) website for more information and to make a booking. A full list of services offered by SBMS can be found here.
Financial assistance is an important component of the overall Trader Connect program, and is available where the effects of the QVMPR Program works cannot be adequately mitigated and have resulted in a demonstrable negative impact on the trader’s profit during the period of the works.
Claims will need to align with eligibility criteria, include supporting documentation, and can be made via the Trader Connect claim form.
A committee, comprising a City of Melbourne representative and two independent members, will review and assess all claims for financial assistance. Each claim on the fund is limited to $100,000 per claim.
Trader Connect Claim Form (including criteria and requirements)
Frequently asked questions
How will Trader Connect support traders?
Through the Trader Connect program all traders will be able to access independent, one to one expert support and advice from Business Mentors. Other support includes a dedicated trader lounge, tools and resources to help customers find their favourite traders, access to health and wellbeing programs and financial assistance where renewal has had a demonstrated negative impact on profits.
Why is Trader Connect needed?
The City of Melbourne has made a commitment to support traders throughout the renewal program. Along with a guaranteed place to trade for all current market traders, the City committed at least $8 million on a framework to support traders to mitigate the impacts of renewal, realise opportunities and facilitate business development. With dedicated support, traders will have the confidence to make decisions around the future of their businesses.
How was the program developed?
The program was co-designed with traders through a 12 week human centred design process managed through City of Melbourne’s CityLab team. The process defined and developed a program that reflected traders’ needs, priorities and aspirations. Forty traders, market management and City of Melbourne collaborated to ensure the outcomes provide real results for all traders.
How much does it cost?
The program is freely available to all market traders. Melbourne City Council has committed at least $8 million to fund the Trader Connect program to support traders throughout the renewal program.
Who can access Trader Connect?
All market lease and licence holders that operate in the market can access the Trader Connect program.
Do traders have to access Trader Connect?
Access to the services and resources provided by Trader Connect is entirely optional. However, we recommend that you explore what is available to see how it can benefit your individual business priorities and needs. Any trader wishing make a financial assistance claim will need to demonstrate the steps they have taken to maintain profits and minimise losses during the period, and this can include access to the broader Trader Connect initiatives.
Who are the Business Mentors?
The Business Mentors will be provided through the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS), an independent not-for-profit industry service provider. For over 30 years SBMS has delivered face to face support to the small, micro and nano business sector of Victoria. SBMS’s Business Mentors have diverse and interesting backgrounds and offer wide experience across a full range of business topics.
Are the Business Mentors independent?
The Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) will provide a completely confidential service to market traders.
What about financial assistance?
Financial assistance is an important component of the overall Trader Connect program. Whilst Council and QVM Pty Ltd will minimise the effect of the QVMPR Program works on traders to the greatest extent possible, the financial assistance is available to traders where the effect of the works cannot be adequately mitigated and have resulted in a demonstrable impact on the trader’s profit during the period of the works. More detail regarding financial assistance, including how to make a financial claim, the criteria and the assessment process is available in the “Financial Assistance” section of this page.
How do traders make a financial claim?
All details on the claim process, the checklist, and supporting documentation can be found here. A detailed claims process is required to ensure appropriate access to public funds. An independent committee comprising a City of Melbourne representative and two independent members will review and assess all claims.
How long will Trader Connect run for?
Trader Connect will be freely available to all market lease and licence holders that operate in the market for the duration of the renewal program. The City of Melbourne wants small businesses to succeed and thrive throughout renewal, and has committed at least $8 million to assist traders to operate, grow and innovate their businesses throughout the renewal program.