2021: The IF Year That Was

Pardon? 2021 is nearly over? How did that happen Frankston City? Where did the time go?

We all came into 2021 feeling positive and hopeful that this year couldn’t possibly be as bad as 2020. Oh how wrong we were. But like the resilient, tough beings we are, we took all the trials and tribulations in our stride and through gritted teeth (and a few tears) we battled through… we survived.

Despite being locked down for more than 200 days (our IF team are now superstars in the art of WFH), we managed to have a very busy and productive year!!! How did that happen??

Throughout the year we posted an astounding 325 times (on IG), released 17 videos as part of our IF Series and gained hundreds of followers.

We began our Invest Frankston Business Networking Nights – of which two were virtual and 3 in person- and ran 3 Business Leaders Live chats on Facebook with high profile guests including Bernadette Schwerdt and Adele Barabaro.

We dished out more than $150K in grants to recipients as part of the Facade Improvement Grants, the Kerbside Dining Grants and the Vacant Shopfront Activation Grants.

Throughout the year we published four new Invest Frankston Prospectus’ – Health & Medtech, Workspaces, Manufacturing & Making and the general prospectus for 2021/22 highlighting the best bits of our city plus we produced 4 Economic Scorecards to give a snapshot of how our economy fared during the year.

Despite lockdowns, restrictions and economic uncertainty, we had new businesses open in Frankston City such as General Public, Rebel Donuts, Levazzi Gelateria, Frankston Brewhouse, Clean and Pressed Health Bar, Gami Chicken and Commonfolk Coffee, to name a few.

In January we launched our Do It Outdoors campaign encouraging the community to sip, stomp, chomp, chill, play and shop outdoors as much as possible to help keep us open safely. This campaign helped celebrate our new outdoor dining parklet installations in Frankston CBD and Seaford plus highlight our Yoga in the Park series and DIO live entertainment which ran all summer throughout Frankston City.

Our Visual Merchandising Workshop was held on 28 January via Zoom by Ching Ching from Pop Creative Collective who gave bricks and mortar businesses tips and tricks on how to improve their shopfronts and get them looking schmick and inviting.

In February our Yoga in the Park program kicked off and our IF Series launched showing off the key IF Projects, IF Stars and IF Mentors of our city.

March held a very popular Business Leaders Live for International Women’s Day at Cube 37 which had more than 8100 views on our Facebook page and an exclusive live audience of 25 came to watch. We also ran outdoor cinema activations at various locations around the city throughout the month as well as supporting the amazing Big Picture Fest which added some great new street art murals to the CBD.

Our very special augmented Easter Hunt came in April along with the super cool Vinyl Record Market which took place on the Frankston Foreshore on 17 April.

More than 60 business minded parents took part in our Mumpreneurs Workshop Series in May right before we went into lockdown on May 27.

In June we launched our Vacant Shopfront Activation Grant program which resulted in three businesses (Betty’s Burgers, Loom & Spindle and Eeny Meeny) receiving a $20,000 grant to help them move into a vacant shopfront in the Frankston City Centre.

July was a busy month with Do It Outdoors, Do It Indoors, Just Do It With A Local, our awareness campaign, which kicked off to encourage consumers to think and shop local first. As part of this campaign we personally delivered more than 30 window decals to businesses all over the city. Also in July we ran #repaintfrankston adding splashes of street art throughout town to add colour and vibrancy to our blank walls and unoccupied shopfronts. On 14 July Horizon Apartments and Cobild Construction held ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the nine-storey luxury apartments planned for 1-2 Plowman Place, Frankston.

A highlight for the IF team was when Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson attended our virtual Business and Industry Chamber Design Sprint on 29 July and delivered an incredible speech about how “jazzed” he was about Frankston City and it’s economic future. Read his speech here.

The inaugural South East BIG Build was held virtually in August in conjunction with City of Kingston, City of Monash, City of Greater Dandenong and Mornington Peninsula Shire showcasing all of the upcoming developments in the region and providing tips for understanding public and private procurement and the tender process.

A new six week program for new and existing Frankston City businesses called Business Basics Workshop Series ran in October and November providing fundamental advice from local industry experts on how to get started and grow a small business. More than 20 people signed up the virtual sessions which included Getting Started, Business Mapping, Finance and Cashflow, Website and Branding, Digital Marketing and eCommerce and Resources and Networking.

Continuing our Do It Outdoors campaign, next up in August we launched DIO – Destinations, bringing commercial businesses to our popular public open spaces to create destinations for Frankston City.

In September Nepean Hwy was on our minds with State Government providing us with funds to ramp up Frankston City’s Outdoor Dining 2.0. The rapid funding was implemented fast and within a month planning has taken place and construction began for new outdoor tables, furniture, parklets, shade sales and planter boxes outside a large number of businesses in October.

October, was about the environment and we launched the Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) & the Small Business Energy Saver Program (SBESP), helping businesses look at ways of upgrading their buildings and saving on their energy bills as part of 2021! We also saw Metro Melbourne reopened and our economy slowly recover and bounce back to the strong, vibrant one we’ve always known…

November had us getting back together in person and our team looking at ways of in-person events. The Monash Linking to Business program kicked off, Do It Outdoors 2.0 started up again with weekly live entertainment and vibrant outdoor dining vibes. DIO Active Summer Series program also launched, helping us kick those fitness goals and it saw the return of our awesome Networking nights TOGETHER at the wonderful Frankston Bowls Club ….

Whoosh it’s December (IF team lets out an exasperated sigh here!), looking back now it’s no wonder we are exhausted, yet exhilarated, from the year that was 2021! It was a massive year for our beloved Frankston City and a massive time for recovery, innovation and forward thinking. Bring on 2022 we say!

Wishing you all a bright and festive Christmas and very joyful New Year.

From the Invest Frankston Team.