Since 2016, Assemblo has worked closely with the State Government of Victoria to bring to life a range of digital initiatives and projects to help small businesses thrive in the state.
The business challenge
Helping Victoria’s vital small business sector tackle the impacts of the pandemic fast
The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on small businesses across Victoria. Small business owners struggled to stay afloat in the midst of ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, with some being forced to temporarily or permanently shut down.
Business Victoria wanted to support Victoria’s small business community during this challenging time. They were eager to create opportunities for small business owners and employees to quickly upskill or reskill, and to provide them with relevant information and resources to assist their businesses through the pandemic and beyond.
With the rapid pace of change and uncertainty, Business Victoria needed to move fast and confidently to have a meaningful impact.
Small business owners were overwhelmed and actively looking for help
Small businesses encountered various challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many experienced cash flow problems or issues with their supply chains. Some found it difficult to support their teams’ mental health and wellbeing in a period of extended uncertainty. Others ceased their marketing or promotional activities to deal with other priorities. Despite these issues, business owners were eager to act and adapt to the new climate, but often didn’t know where to start.
Business Victoria, a division of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), is dedicated to helping Victorians to start, run and transform their businesses. By leveraging existing relationships with educational and business partners, Business Victoria was able to compile a database of free online courses to provide a wide range of learning opportunities to small businesses, helping them to upskill and become more resilient.
Empower Victorian small businesses with educational tools and resources
Assemblo worked closely with PwC Australia and Business Victoria to develop the ‘Upskill My Business’ digital hub.
Upskill My Business provided small businesses with a rich, searchable database of free online courses, live and on-demand events, and a range of business resources to help them develop their skills and prepare for a strong recovery. These premium courses were supplied courtesy of the state’s top education providers and industry experts, including the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Fair Work Australia, the Australian Retailers Association, Google, Beyond Blue, and more.
Small businesses were able to access educational content on a range of topics that would enable them to future-proof their businesses, such as accounting and finance, marketing, leadership, sales, analytics, innovation, and more.
Upskill My Business also contained links to other useful initiatives and resources. Small businesses who were seeking additional support could click through to Digital Innovation Futures, an online event hub that connects people and ideas; Global Victoria, which helps Victorian businesses to expand their operations and grow on a global level; LaunchVic, Victoria’s start-up agency; or the wider Business Australia website.
The digital hub supported small businesses who wanted to take upskilling to the next level by enabling them to browse free TAFE courses, discover training and education opportunities via the Victorian Skills Gateway, or find new employees through Jobs Victoria.
Key to the success of the project, the Upskill My Business site needed to be developed as quickly as possible. By utilising existing web frameworks developed by Assemblo from other Business Victoria projects, we were able to work closely with PwC Australia to rapidly prototype and launch Upskill My Business in May 2020.
Server stability was also vital, with many Victorians logging onto Upskill My Business following the Premier’s announcement of the site. Assemblo developed a robust server architecture to ensure the site had the resources required to handle a huge amount of traffic at launch.
The Upskill My Business digital hub was a great success. Highlights include:
- No unscheduled downtime since the site launched
- Over 54,000 unique users serviced by the site in the first 6 months
- 3.44 pages per session on average, with an average 2:22 time on site demonstrating extremely high engagement
- Excellent feedback received from all key stakeholders.
The project has been extended since its initial launch and is currently still running, helping Victorian small businesses to continue to enhance and strengthen their businesses.
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