Grant powers female business in Brisbane

4 APRIL 2023

Beekeepers, hat makers, lawyers, and Christmas tree farmers are among the diverse group of female business owners receiving Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grants in 2023.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has announced 52 women-led businesses will share in a pool of $250,000 to purchase vital equipment, business services, and training to help grow their business impact in Brisbane. 

Cr Schrinner said the diversity of sectors represented among this year’s recipients showed the impact women were making to strengthen Brisbane’s economy. 

“No area is off-limits for women in business and this year’s grant recipients are proof there’s growing representation and ownership across sectors including health, legal, human resources and the creative industries,” Cr Schrinner. 

“Brisbane is one of the most progressive, small-business friendly cities in Australia and we want to support people with great ideas, no matter their background, age, or gender.” 

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said the grants are critical funding for what is one of Brisbane’s fastest growing business sectors. 

“Women now account for just over a third of business ownership locally. Part of being the most small business friendly city is making sure female business owners have the tools and support they need to grow, evolve, and thrive,” Cr Adams said. 

“Last year’s recipients have told us they’ve used their grants to grow their customer base and enhance their services. In a number of cases this has resulted in increased revenue, new jobs for local people, and stronger connections in the community.” 

Now in its second year, the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant has supported over 100 female business owners. 

This year, 81 per cent of all the businesses supported are wholly owned by women. 

These include 14 businesses offering professional services, including legal and human resources, 11 businesses focused on healthcare, and 10 businesses in retail. 

One of this year’s recipients, Helen Bayley, started her business in 2013, shortly after the birth of her third child. What began as a creative outlet to help cope with postpartum depression turned into a fully-fledged business. 

Now based in Northgate, Lovestar sells its signature heart-shaped vases and iconic women vases - shaped like Beyonce, Dolly Parton and Frida Kahlo - around the world.  

“I started posting my creative endeavours on Instagram… When I took my first batch to a market they sold out,” Ms Bayley said. 

“The creation of the business literally saved me and helped pull me out of my depression.” 

Helen has overcome countless challenges, including a devastating warehouse fire, to build her business into the success it is today. 

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the number of female business owners in Brisbane is growing with women accounting for 36 per cent of business ownership in 2021, up from 34 per cent in 2016.  

Nationally, women represented 34 per cent of business owners in 2021, compared to 33 per cent in 2016. 

The Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant is a grant with a difference. 

Beyond financial support, all recipients will benefit from a 12-month development program, delivered by Brisbane Business Hub, to help boost leadership skills and make vital connections within the community.  

Jennifer McIntyre, who received a grant last year, said the support to buy new machinery had meant she could hire an extra staff member at her stitchery – 57 Perches.  

“I am very grateful for the boost this grant has given me as a businesswoman,” Ms McIntyre said. 

“With our new equipment, and bigger team, we have the capacity to service more clients and to fill client orders more efficiently. The connections we’ve made have been invaluable and have led to several business contracts and collaborations.” 

For more information on the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant program, and a list of this year’s recipients visit: 

About the Brisbane Business Hub 

The Brisbane Business Hub has supported over 17,000 businesses and connected an online community of 50,000 subscribers since opening in October 2020. 

In its central location on Queen Street, the Brisbane Business Hub offers a vibrant co-working space, on-the-pulse events, mentoring, and online resources enjoyed by thousands of businesspeople each year. 

Brisbane City