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  • 11/04/2022 1:34 PM | Harrison Warlow-East (Administrator)

    Destination Sydney Surrounds South invites ALL businesses in the visitor economy to attend upcoming hands-on learning and networking opportunities across the region later this month (April).

    The workshops will cover topics in a relevant and practical way including:

    • Navigating the tourism ecosystem
    • Your customer journey
    • Developing or refining your experience
    • Becoming distribution ready
    • Working with the media

    3 workshops:

    • Creating Awesome Tourism Experiences
    • Working with the Media and Tourism Ecosystem 
    • Distribution - How to increase bookings to your business

    Or register for all three in your preferred location, register here for Wollongong and here for Mittagong.

  • 29/11/2021 8:41 PM | Anonymous

    Have you got your business plan sorted for the New Year? Although many small businesses in the Southern Highlands are winding down for a break over Christmas, right now is a crucial time to plan where your business will head in 2022. Small-business owners need to stay aware of the changes and movements that are driving business in a post-pandemic world.

    1. Influencer Marketing On Social Media

    One trend small businesses should know about if they don’t already is the power of influencer marketing. Online platforms and social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok can help small businesses tell their stories to drive awareness and excitement. Influencers both large and small (micro-influencers) strengthen the story by providing relevance and endorsements. 

    2. Hybrid Workplaces

    It’s no secret that remote work took the world by storm in the last year and a half.

    Remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Having a hybrid workplace where employees can choose their optimal work schedule as well as whether to be remote or in-person will be a trend for the future as security and insecurity are balanced with a healthy home and working environment. This can boost productivity too!

    3. Networking With Business Owners in Person

    Don’t miss the biggest trend of 2022: networking! Instead of growing alone, small-business owners can multiply their efforts exponentially by connecting with other business owners. Networking helps you gain business lead referrals, hear new market perspectives and learn from other’s experiences.

    4. Coaching And Mentoring Of Employees

    To maintain a happy workforce and improve retention, small businesses will need to find creative, innovative ways to attract and retain talent. There’s a trend to provide employees with coaching or mentoring that is valuable to a person’s development. 

    5. Personal Branding

    Mastering not only business branding but also personal branding will be key. Sometimes small- and medium-business owners hide behind the business brand and choose not to show who they are or show themselves as being vulnerable and human. The only loyalty you can get as an owner is through the emotional engagement that comes through your authenticity and being genuine, showing the human side behind your business and showcasing you and your employees.

    Adapted from Forbes & All Business 

  • 08/11/2021 7:19 PM | Anonymous

    As part of the revitalised festival direction, Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival are delighted to welcome Australia’s oldest family-owned salt maker and Moss Vale based, Olsson’s Salt, as their live workshop partner.

    The Olsson’s Salt Sessions are an opportunity to enjoy a more intimate food and wine experience within the festival village and be dazzled by some of the best talent from the food scene in the country. Not only do our guest presenters either live locally or love the region for leisure but they champion the food and wine producers here for their quality produce and the sustainable practices the Southern Highlands has become famous for.

    Sharing a history of three generations working in the family business alongside Olsson’s, we are delighted that local farmer, butcher and businessman John Mauger, who with wife Vicki will be taking to the stage. They will be showcasing their experience in producing the finest quality meat that the Mauger’s brand is revered for and taking us on a journey of their ethical, sustainable, and newly adapted regenerative farming practises that will protect and future proof their family legacy.

    They are also welcoming new local chefs to the stage to share their skills and kitchen secrets. Amongst them is Tommy Prosser who has been delighting the Berrima Vault House members and visitors with his culinary skills from his UK heritage, counting world renown restaurants like the Roux Brothers, Waterside Inn at Bray and Michelin Star Gravetye Manor amongst his many credits.  Fire cooking expert Segundo Farrell, who trained under the legendary Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann, will be dazzling us at Osborn House in December and he will be adding some theatre to the stage for a unique live session.

    Local food maestro Nick Gardner from Hampden Deli will bring his signature flavour genius to the stage having wowed us from Quay, Silos, Tetsuya and Eschalot. Simon Evans best known for his modern take on using local indigenous and foraged flavours down at Bangalay Dining is coming up the escarpment as well as Ioannis Bernados from Bernie’s Diner who makes a Rueben worth driving 20 kms for.

    Additionally, many chefs known across the country are advocates of our local regional produce amongst them are Colin Fassnidge from Banksia Hotel who has grown an international following for his nose to tail food philosophy.  Mark Lebrooy who calls South Coast home when he is not at Three Blue Ducks in Roseberry or Byron shares his passion for cooking dishes from something he has caught or picked himself. And whilst we don’t have anywhere to use his surf or snowboard, he is a huge advocate for sustainable farming practises as well as subsistence hunting and fishing, something he and many of our local producers are celebrated for. 

    James Viles from long-time local favourite dining establishment Biota and now Offgrid Provisions and Emirates Wolgan Valley is making a welcome return for the festival alongside Burrawang local Byron Woolfrey who understands the science of foraged cocktails which has garnered a loyal following through sustainable events business Trolley’d, Australia’s first bar to embrace native and wild foraged ingredients. Alex Pritchard, who calls Kurrajong in regional NSW home, is leaving the salty waters of Icebergs Dining at Bondi Beach to come and share his love of native produce and the importance of origin in creating memorable dishes. We have also assembled an incredible line up for local winemakers for a horizonal wine tasting that offers something completely different to the stallholder sampling in the festival village.

    “Our family have been Southern Highland locals for 25 years and we’re thrilled to be involved with this iconic Festival.” Alex Olsson

    Offering real paddock to plate insights and bringing to life the stories that have moulded some of our most celebrated foodies, we are thrilled to be offer such a great line up for the SHFW Festival with local partner Olsson’s Salt. Our presenters share a common food philosophy of sustainable farming, respect for produce and using natural ingredients, a key factor in their success as diners are more and more engaged in the connection to where their food originates.

    Tickets on sale to existing ticket holders on Friday 12 Nov and general sale on Monday 15 Nov. Priced between $20 - $50 per 40-minute session which will include a glass of local wine and something delicious.

    This ticket does not include entry to the festival which starts at $30 pp. Purchase tickets here.

  • 06/11/2021 12:17 PM | Anonymous

    Thursday 2 December at Centennial Vineyards

    What better way to close the door on 2021 than by raising a glass of award-winning wine in the company of Australia’s most outstanding high altitude winemakers. Book now for The Australian Highlands Wine Show Awards Presentation Night on December 2, at Centennial Vineyards in the magnificent NSW Southern Highlands.

    Celebrating some of Australia’s most resilient winemakers, emerging from vintages like no other, this is the big night for a wine show that recognises the very best of wines made with fruit grown at 500m or more above sea level. Open to regions from all over Australia, the show attracts producers from The NSW Southern Highlands, Orange, Mudgee, Tumbarumba, Hilltops, new England, Canberra District and Adelaide Hills.

    Despite the toughest of growing and operating conditions in recent times, more than 126 wines entered this year’s show, in pursuit of the coveted title of Australia’s Best Wine With Altitude. Show Judge Toni Patterson says “There were many highlights. Judges were impressed by the clarity of the fruit and distinct varietal expression of the top wines. When we lined up the best white, red, sparkling and sweet wines of the show, they were of such high quality that it was hard to pick between them.” For Toni, Pinot Noir was a star performer, Pinot Gris was also strong, as was Riesling. “There was a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc, some excellent Cabernet and Shiraz, and a couple of really interesting wines made from Italian varietals.”

    Be first to know the results and celebrate with finalists attending the Awards ceremony, set in the winery of Centennial Vineyards, on Thursday 2 December from 6:30-8:30pm. Tickets are just $50pp including canapés, one glass of wine or bubbles on arrival and a selection of trophy and award wining wines available for tasting. It’s an enjoyable opportunity to get to know some of Australia’s best vigneron and winemakers.

    The Southern Highlands Food & Wine Association (SHFWA) is proud to host the only wine awards in Australia to focus exclusively on these exciting, high-country, cool climate wine styles.

    ‘Generally, cool climate wines will have a distinctive elegance and delicate character,” says SHFWA Industry Liaison Officer and show collaborator, Katrina Hill-Cooper of Rotherwood Wines. “There’s a wonderful vibrance and freshness to high altitude wines that the market really responds to.”

    The Australian Highlands Wine Show is now in its 11th year, this year supported by The NSW Government, Porsche Centre Sydney South, Vintec Club, Langtons, Riedel and Fritz Family. An esteemed judging panel will be led by Toni Paterson MW, together with Rob Geddes MW, winemaker Aaron Mercer, wine writer Paul Diamond and sommelier Ashlyn Foster.

    “This wine show highlights that wines grown at higher altitudes, with the corresponding lower temperatures, can look very different to wines grown at lower altitudes,” says Toni Paterson. “We will see intensely flavoured wines, diverse in style, which will keep the judging panel on our toes as we need to be very broad-minded when assessing quality. I expect the quality of this year’s wines will be high and anticipate that there will be some surprises too. Discovering new labels is all part of the adventure of wine, and the Australian Highlands Wine Awards showcases quality producers that people may not have heard of before. I can honestly confess to being as excited as anyone else to see the results!”

    Rob Geddes shares that excitement; “It’s truly a joy to judge the Australian Highlands Wine Awards and touch base with some of the most interesting viticultural climate zones in the country, in anticipation that with each year’s awards, we see something different and exciting!” says Rob. “These awards play an important part in providing constructive feedback for winemakers, who often work in isolation, some distance from where their markets are, and building brand recognition over time. I’ve personally grown very fond of the Highlands through my involvement, as Chairman or judge, over the past 21 years. It has been my pleasure to witness the evolution of local Pinot wines, especially Noir and Gris, as well as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.”

    Wine judging will take place at The Loch in Berrima November 2-3, 2021 and the Awards presentation will take place on Thursday December 2 at Centennial Vineyards.


  • 06/11/2021 11:39 AM | Anonymous

    Weekend of February 26-27 

    Uncertainties still surrounding the conditions in which big events can operate compelled the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Association to re-schedule our annual Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival, to the weekend of February 26-27, 2022. The many tickets already purchased will automatically transfer, or be refunded in the event that ticket holders are unable to attend on the new dates.

    Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by this latest COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. The wellbeing of everyone involved in, or attending, this festival is our first priority. This is an important regional showcase for Southern Highlands producers and we are dedicated to doing what’s best to support the many small business owners who make up our membership.

    A new format in 2022 will relocate the event to the wide open spaces and fresh air of Moss Vale Showgrounds, where a backdrop of rolling green hills gives a real sense of why so many growers are passionate about farming here. The alfresco experience includes an avenue of restaurants, picnic grounds, brewers’ garden and produce marketplace, as well as free, live entertainment and Olssons Salt Sessions chef workshops.

    “Already considered a must-do annual pilgrimage for food and wine disciples, the festival has been re-imagined with a wonderful new layout to make it more enjoyable than ever to engage with our growers, winemakers, chefs, distillers and brewers. An ideal way to start fresh in 2022” says Associated President, Jean-Marie Simart.

    Easy as . .

    There will be ample on-sight parking and easy access by public transport to take the hassle out of getting there and VIP tickets include Exclusive express entry with private parking. Taking the whole festival experience next-level, we will also offer a valet service for collection of the wines you throughout on the day, as you exit.

    Daydreaming of treating your taste-buds already? Tickets are available online now!

    General admission tickets are just $30pp. This includes a festival tasting glass and access to market stalls and growers areas with free live music. If you prefer all of the trimmings, our VIP experience is $150pp and includes exclusive express access, private parking, entry to the VIP marquee and facilities, a glass of bubbles on arrival, preferential access to the Porsche in Motion activation and Porsche test drive bookings, access to all market stalls and growers areas, free live entertainment and a gift box of Riedell glasses valued at $75.

    The 2022 Southern Highlands Food & Wine Festival

    Saturday 26 February 11am-6pm and Sunday 27 February 11am-5pm

    Moss Vale Showgrounds, 16 Illawarra Highway Moss Vale

    General Admission Tickets $30

    VIP Experience Ticket $150


    Meet some of the locals making their mark . .

    What could have more mystique than a nip of whisky that originates from a former Scottish settlement in the heart of a heritage ghost town? Taste one of the world’s only true ‘paddock to bottle’ whisky, “we strongly believe that whisky should reflect the land it’s created from so we grow our own barley on-site and use our own pristine spring water, straight from the source,” say the Jimenez family

    distillers. “Fruity notes of date, fig and quince shine through from the sweet sherry barrels selected from our native Spain, to mature our whisky.” Val Jimenez looks forward to the fun of spinning a tale or two over tastings this November.

    The Highlands’ own heavenly haven of artisan beers and Boozy Burgers (starring sauces, buns and pickles made with their beer), Eden Brewery will offer tastings of their latest brews, made with whatever fresh local ingredients have captured their imagination for the season. Brewer Jacob says “I love all my ‘kids” and new brews are born every two weeks but father’s favourite is a Phoenix German Ale, made with local honey. Eden is one of only three breweries in the world making it. All ingredients are Riverina-grown, orange peel and coriander seed in Jacob’s Belgian Birch Wit, and an allorganic Willow. Taste the new range of Renegade Spirits alongside the beers.

    And that’s just two exhibitors, among dozens of local producers showcased over one big weekend!


    Proudly funded by NSW Government, Porsche, Riedel, Olssons, Langtons & Vintec. 

  • 14/10/2021 6:26 PM | Anonymous

    New tools will assist businesses in meeting qualification requirements and understanding the tendering process.

    Small businesses across NSW can now access free online training and an informative guide to help them become “tender ready” and bid for NSW Government contracts.  

    The NSW Small Business Commission has collaborated with TAFE NSW to deliver an online training program as well as a written guide to help small businesses understand and navigate the tendering and contract processes involved in working with the NSW Government.    

    The launch is the first major milestone in the four-year $5 million tender support program being delivered by the Commission, part of the NSW Government’s commitment to sourcing more goods and services from NSW small businesses. 

    The NSW Government spends about $40 billion each year on procurement of goods, services and construction, with nearly half of that amount going to small and medium businesses.  

    Help with the tendering process 

    Tendering for Government work can be challenging and daunting for small businesses. The new resources will help small businesses gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to not only tender for Government work but also assist in tendering for private sector contracts. 

    The training program, Selling to the NSW Government, comprises four modules that help small businesses prepare for and navigate the four major stages of the tendering and contract processes:  

    ·         Getting Business Ready  

    ·         Finding Opportunities  

    ·         Selling to Government  

    ·         Successful Supplying    

    The training is complemented by a new publication, Selling to the NSW Government: A Guide for Small Business, a 45-page guide to becoming a Government supplier, which also includes templates for key tendering documents, such as a business’s capability statement and referee report. 

    The development of the resources was informed by a recent survey of small businesses, which identified their key pain points in tendering for Government work and what information and assistance was most useful in helping businesses lift their capabilities and compete effectively.  

    The Commission’s tender support program aligns with the NSW Government’s refreshed Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Regional Procurement Policy, which allows Government agencies to buy directly from an SME for procurements up to $150,000. 

    Register for the training modules here.

    The guide can be accessed here.

  • 27/09/2021 6:56 PM | Anonymous

    Although it may be the last thing you're thinking about, Christmas is actually only about two months away! As a small business, it's great to plan in advance to make sure you are on track for a fantastic Christmas period. Even with the uncertainty of COVID restrictions, there's still things you can do to boost your revenue over Christmas. Some tips we've compiled include: 

    1. Consider staffing

    Christmas is the busiest period of the year for many small businesses, and it is reasonable to assume you’ll need additional staff, especially as regular employees may want to take leave. Consider asking a recruitment agency for temporary support over the peak period! We suggest Highlands Recruitment, Flexiforce, Jobfind or LHD Nursing Recruitment Solutions. 

    2. Plan your stock in advance 

    Trading during peak times means you’ll need more stock to meet higher demand. Bulk buy ahead of time to take advantage of supplier discounts and to avoid running dry at critical moments. This not only applies to retail, but trades and hospitality too! 

    3. Start your marketing now 

    With delays in the postal service at the moment, combined with the peak period of Christmas, you'll want to inform your customers about your products well before December hits. Let them know now via your social media channels, emails and website the seasonal promotions you are running for Christmas time. This way you won't miss the shipping cut off!

    Now to count down until the big day!

  • 20/07/2021 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    The current resurgence in COVID-19 cases around NSW has led to a strict lockdown in Greater Sydney and beyond, greatly reducing the number of tourists and visitors coming to the Highlands. As a result, small businesses may be experiencing a decline in business and revenue over the last month. We understand how greatly this can affect a small business, so we've pulled together some tips so you can prepare your business for success after lockdowns and the pandemic.  If you focus solely on the things within your control, you’ll be better equipped to build your business during this difficult time. You may even come out stronger than before. 

    1. Apply for loans and grants - Whether you’re running a business with or without staff, start by checking Services Australia’s page covering payments, forms, services and information. Service NSW has a host of information you can tap into to get help with your business.  Refer to the 2021 COVID-19 Support Package – an easy-to-follow breakdown of the support available to businesses including micro-businesses and individuals. 

    2. Revamp your marketing strategy - Analyze your current communications to ensure you’re conveying the right message and putting your business in a position to succeed after COVID-19. You may have marketing materials that no longer make sense given the current economic and social climate. 

    3. Stay connected with your customers - Take stock of all the channels that you operate, including digital – such as social media, blogs and newsletters – and physical, like a shopfront window, to engage with new and existing customers. Every one of these channels presents an opportunity to stay connected and strengthen your relationship with customers, so use your most relevant platforms. 

    4. Stay informed - the economic environment is constantly changing during the pandemic, so the best you can do is stay informed on case locations, restrictions, new rules for business and more. This way you can most effectively plan for what's to come. 

    As always, stay safe. 

  • 09/07/2021 6:35 AM | Anonymous

    Since my last update there has been some changes within the SHCCI executive. We have decreased from an 11 person board back to 7, due to the four board members resigning mostly due to work commitments. 

    You may not realise, but all your SHCCI Board are actively involved in advocating for chamber members through a variety of stakeholder engagements in order to advance economic development within the Southern Highlands.

    Just some of these include: 

    Plasrefine Community Engagement Meetings

    Carisa Wells and I met with representatives from GHD, the company employed by Plasrefine Recycling Pty Ltd to assist with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support a State Significant Development Application for the proposed Moss Vale Plastics Recycling and Reprocessing Facility.

    If you’d like to find out more information take a look at the recently updated the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Plasrefine website HERE

    The updated FAQ topics include: phasing out single-use plastics and the upcoming community engagement sessions.

    Small Business Commissioner – Chris Lamont

    Several board members attended the Small Business Commissioner’s information gathering event in Bowral to provide him with vital information for his report into business conditions and economic development in the Wingecarribee Shire. The overarching sentiment was that the Council impeded business development, rather than encouraging it. We are very happy that most of the recommendations put forward by SHCCI and Business Illawarra were incorporated into the report.  

    You can read the report HERE

    WSC Administrator Consultations

    Over the course of Viv May’s appointment as the WSC Administrator a number of board members have attended individual consultations to further communicate the difficulties our business community has been trying to mitigate. We have felt heard and understood and would like to acknowledge the great work Viv is doing for our wonderful shire. 

    Southern Highlands Key Stakeholders Group

    Deb Blackah and Kate Ingham have been attending the Key Stakeholders meeting as representatives of SHCCI.  I’d like to say thank you to Kate and Deb for being part of this important local initiative. 

    WSC extraordinary general meetings & regular meetings

    Paul Samulski has been attending regular Council meetings since becoming a board member. This allows us to stay updated on any local issues we may need to become active in and his insights have been greatly appreciated. 

    Christmas Lights Organising Group

    Deb Blackah has established a working group to prepare for the 2021 Christmas Lights Festival and  has been meeting regularly with representatives from the major towns and villages across the Southern Highlands.  After recently meeting with Viv May, $80k was allocated to the Christmas Lights Festival. Mark Springett has also donated $10k to the project and we thank him for this generous contribution. Congratulations Deb, Christmas in the Highlands will be forever improved becausse of your passion and tenacity. 

    Creative Industries Cluster Meeting

    Deb Blackah and Kate Ingham have been attending meetings with the Creative Industries Cluster (CIC) and recently the Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding which provides both parties with an understanding of how to work collaboratively. The Chamber auspices a grant application for the CIC and we look forward to facilitating greater collaboration between business and the creative community in the Southern Highlands.

    WSC Economic Development Round Table

    As President of SHCCI I was honoured to represent our members at the WSC Economic Development Round table on Friday 25 June. Both Moss Vale and Robertson Chambers were in attendance as well as Business Illawarra, RDA – Southern Inland and a number of other local business and community leaders. 

    The day commenced with introductions, then we heard from the GM of Tamworth City Council who had been asked to provide an overview of the creation of their Economic Development Blueprint. I was intrigued to hear that he believed the turning point for the Shire came from a change in Mayor, who was business savvy and passionate about improving the region so as to leave it in a more positive place for his children and grandchildren. 

    All the attendees then had an opportunity to relay their perspectives on the issues in our Shire. There were a number of issues identified which ranged from greater concentration on horticulture and agriculture, improved tourism events and the Moss Vale bypass, to infrastructure investments, more streamlined DA processes and just an overall willingness to support the business community and attract new ventures.  A greater focus on the villages in the Shire and not just the three major towns was also discussed. We hope Council will provide the public with the report on this event in the coming weeks. 

    Fire In Bong Bong Street

    The fire in Wingecarribee Street Bowral came as shock to everyone and has caused a number of businesses to close until they understand the extent of the damage and what will need to come next. Our condolences to the businesses that have been impacted. I have been in discussions with Lisa Miscamble, the newly appointed WSC GM, who impressively called me early the following morning,  We are working with the WSC to seek assistance in fast tracking the steps to recovery. I have also spoken with Nathaniel Smith MP for Wollondilly to discuss possible assistance during the recovery process. There will be further updates on this situation as information comes to hand.

    State Govt Grants for this Covid Lockdown

    The State Govt has a range of grants available for small business and tourism and hospitality establishments. For more information click HERE

    If you would like to discuss anything further, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

    Stay well and safe and please remember your masks. 

    Steven Horton

    Chair SHCCI

  • 06/06/2021 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    Ultimately you're in your business to make money, so what are some ways you can maximise your return? Look at your revenue model and consider other streams you can introduce. Perhaps you could expand your operations with new products, services or features? ⁠

    Some great revenue models that you can use by themselves or in combination are: ⁠

    1. Products for purchase. These are tangible items available in store and/or online or digital products.⁠

    2. Services provided. Consider adding or refining existing services to complement your primary services.⁠

    3. Subscriptions and memberships. Capitalise on loyal customers with a recurring income stream, with three-month or twelve-month packages. ⁠

    4. Affiliate markets. Simply include links to other relevant products on your website or social channels and in return get kickbacks or commission when a purchase is made.⁠

    5. Freemium. In this model, you provide basic services for free but aim to entice your customers to pay for premium features. ⁠

    6. Retainer. If you work in a service industry, you can have consistent revenue by receiving an agreed fee for a service you provide at regular intervals - like monthly. ⁠

    7. Experiences and events. Explore the opportunity to create a physical event or virtual experience, perhaps using or learning about your product. ⁠

    Your revenue model may be fine the way it is, but if your business has hit a wall, you may want to consider these different revenue models!


    Adapted from Business Australia 

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