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Toowoomba: community support and resilience through adverse events

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses have continuously adapted to many new challenges. Despite these challenges, the small business community in Toowoomba has supported one another, showing remarkable resilience with new businesses opening throughout 2020 and 2021.1

COVID-19 impact on Toowoomba businesses

The Ahead for Business team has been engaging with the Toowoomba small business community since mid-2020. The team heard from local small business owners that the transition to working more digitally was challenging. With lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, some business activities could no longer operate as they previously did. Many small businesses in the area moved their work activities online but did not feel the results were as effective or satisfying.

Despite some of these challenges, the small business community in Toowoomba fared relatively well. It is estimated that 8.3% of local businesses applied for JobKeeper, placing it at number 302/506 of Australia’s Local Government Areas requiring support2. While Toowoomba experienced moderate levels of revenue decline and the number of businesses requiring support compared with the rest of Queensland3, Toowoomba managed the effects of the pandemic well. Total employment in the area fell by 2.8% during the midst of the pandemic. However, Toowoomba is recovering, with employment now up 0.7% from pre-pandemic times as of March 20214.

Looking after your wellbeing in Toowoomba

With the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, small business owners continue to be faced with the challenges that come with restrictions and uncertainty. It is important to be prepared and proactive about looking after your mental health during these times. Taking care of yourself, even when you are feeling mentally healthy, will put you in a better position to cope when things aren’t going so well. There are many ways to look after yourself and improve your mental wellbeing as a small business owner in Toowoomba.

  • Connect with your local community: The number and quality of networking and social media groups shows how supportive the community in Toowoomba is. Groups such as the Toowoomba Mumpreneurs and Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce regularly provide information for small businesses in the area, helping the local area remain connected and resilient.
  • Chat with other small business owners: Join a local networking group, such as Toowoomba Business Networkers and
  • Get active: Check out some of the local sport and recreation options such as walking and cycling tracks, swimming pools and gyms, sport centres and clubs and lakes and dams.
  • Social connection: Maintain your relationships with family and friends, and look into social groups to find more connections in the area.
  • Prioritise your health: Visit your local GP and make time to attend health appointments. Your physical and mental health is important for your wellbeing.
  • Do something relaxing: Either at home in your own space or visit a local day spa or yoga and meditation centre.
  • Change your workplace: Prioritise lunch breaks, take a short walk, and ensure your workplace benefits your wellbeing.

Local business relief support

The Toowoomba Regional Council 2020/21 budget presented a $50 million pandemic response to assist the community with recovery from COVID-19. The relief supports the local community in complementary ways to state and federal government. As a business owner in Toowoomba, you can receive business support and council training for specific business needs.

Small business grants available

Along with existing government supports, Business Queensland will have two new grants available for small businesses.

  • Business Basics Grant of $5,000 opens from 31 May 2021
  • Business Boost Grant for up to $15,000 opens from late July 2021

See the Business Queensland small business grants schedule to learn more about grants and programs for business recovery and growth.

More Community Resources