‘Covid crazy’ is being used a lot to describe spikes in productivity in real estate and online shopping, but it also extends to small business startups, which is evident in Park Ridge.

Business mentor Helen Cowley, owner-operator of Small Business Improvement Services, says she has noticed a substantial increase in the number of people wanting to start businesses in the Logan area.

“I certainly have noticed that very much,” she says. 

“I have been in business, helping small businesses for 25 years, and over that time I would have maybe 20 per cent new startups.

“At the moment, I would have more likely 60 per cent of startups.

“Just around here I have got a trade mechanic, travel agents, food businesses, it’s a real variety of businesses.”

This raises the question of whether there is enough of a demand to keep the vast number of businesses afloat, which she says is not a major concern at this stage.

“I’ve got a belief that there’s room enough for all of us, it’s just how we get our message out there,” Ms Cowley says.

Ms Cowley says the strong uptake has a lot to do with the effect the pandemic has had on people’s lifestyles.

“There are a lot of people that have found themselves at home, one, without an income and creating ideas, so they want to go off and develop it, two, I think more people are working part time so they want to have a side gig,” she says.

With more people working from home, Ms Cowley is concerned that government regulations are not designed to accommodate the increase.

“I don’t think that government, local, state or federal, have really thought about the implications of so many people working from home and the changes that will have to be made,”

Council regulates everything from the number of people permitted in the dwellings to the nature of business operations, which Ms Cowley feels will need to change as more people adopt home business models.

“The people working from home, they might just have an office desk, but what does that mean over time?

“Is that just going to be an office desk at home, or are they going to have lots of people coming to their door for interviews or whatever, and how’s that going to affect our traffic, our neighbours, and our council laws?”

Therefore, she says there needs to be ‘creative discussions’ at a regulatory level to assess the impact of the growing number of home based businesses.

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