RBS workshops help small businesses be prepared for natural disasters

A new Rural Business Support (RBS) program aims to ensure small businesses across rural and regional South Australia are better prepared to rebound and prosper following natural disaster events.

In the past decade natural disasters have devastated parts of the state, most recently with drought and hail storms contributing to heavy financial losses for many small business operators in affected areas.

The RBS Business Readiness Program will see free 27 workshops delivered across the state, with the first for 2019 being rolled out in the South East, Riverland and Murray Mallee in February.

RBS Chief Executive Officer Brett Smith said the organisation had worked extensively with small rural businesses through its Rural Financial Counselling Service, but this new project would assist other regional businesses as well, beyond those with an agricultural focus.

“The need to prepare properties ahead of the fire danger season is well publicised, however there is little focus on helping business owners to understand the potential impacts a natural disaster can have on their operations, employees and the bottom line,” Mr Smith said.

“These events all resulted in business closures, reduced hours for employees and, for some businesses, an extensive and costly period of recovery.”

Mr Smith said a key part of the Business Readiness Program was a new risk planning tool which would equip business owners with a Business Readiness Plan that could be saved, shared and updated.

“The tool allows users to identify their critical business resources, infrastructure, plant and equipment and forecasts how the business would likely be affected if it was impacted by a natural disaster,” he said.

“The tool ensures business owners and managers are able to plan out key actions that can be taken before, during and after a natural disaster, and works to help reduce or avoid the risks it may have to their businesses.”

The Business Readiness Program is funded under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program by the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs.

To find workshops near you and to register please tap here.