BUSINESS growth will be the key focus of StawellBiz, under the leadership of new president Chris Waack.
Mr Waack, owner of Waack's Bakery, was elected at the StawellBiz annual general meeting which was held in the form of a dinner at Lillies and Lattes Restaurant in Main Street.
Twenty-six people, including representatives from local businesses, members of the public and Northern Grampians Shire Council, were all in attendance.
Alan Green of Green Eggs was the guest speaker at the annual meeting. While cracking a stock whip around everyone's ears, Mr Green spoke about his wife Shelly and himself starting Green Eggs and growing it into a magnificent business.
Mr Green also spoke about the recent issues faced by Green Eggs and how it was staying focused on their business goals, which helped them work through this issue.
On behalf of StawellBiz, Chris Waack said Alan, Shelly, their family and staff should be commended on their business and their vision for the future.
A 12-strong board was elected at the annual meeting, representing the interests and overseeing the provision of business orientated initiatives over the next 12 months.
The new board consists of president Chris Waack, secretary Sarah Garton, treasurer Shelly Chalmers, committee Alan Fear, James Skene, Sue Blakey, Daniel Jones, Jeff O'Donnell, Jessica Cass, Kim Salmi, Maggie Marriott, Cr Karen Hyslop and Cr Murray Emerson.
Mr Waack said the board represented a diverse range of Stawell business interests, including small business, banking, accounting, airport and nursing.
"We really wanted to make sure we had a cross-section of businesses involved in our forward planning," he said.
"StawellBiz is about all of us, as individual businesses coming together to assist each other to grow the business community.
"The committee will be divided up into portfolios such as training, education and events."
Mr Waack said StawellBiz had identified short to medium term goals and projects for the business group moving forward.
As a result, three important resolutions were passed at the annual meeting:
To provide opportunities for formal and informal training for business development.
To support, promote and encourage strong business networking locally to sustainably grow and develop local businesses.
To work with local businesses to influence council policy and to canvass government departments to adopt programs that benefit the region in an economically sustainable way.
Mr Waack said working with businesses to establish a mentoring program, training for businesses and scheduling informal breakfast meetings with guest speakers were of immediate interest.
The group has also highlighted membership, business and investment, training and education, marketing, funding, growth and tourism as key areas of focus.
"StawellBiz will be a vital part of the business community over the next few years, so I encourage all businesses to become involved and to help grow business in Stawell," Mr Waack said.