A month-long calendar of events designed to inspire and upskill small to medium business operators across Gippsland was launched in Morwell last week.
The Small Business Festival, coordinated by the six Gippsland councils with Small Business Victoria, will celebrate the role that small businesses play in the community and economy.
Latrobe City Council mayor Darrell White said the festival would be a "great opportunity" for business owners to access support and network.
"It takes hard work and determination and willing[ness] to take risks to run a business and there are countless challenges involved," he said.
"It is the passion and the drive of providers that fuels this region's small business community.
"Just imagine if every one of our small businesses would take on an extra person, or [are] encouraged and inspired to take on an extra person, what a difference that would make in terms of the number of jobs we have within our Gippsland community, and certainly we need that to be happening."
Speaking at the launch, member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said small businesses were incredibly important within the local economy.
"Around Gippsland as I understand it we have around 24,500 odd businesses and around 24,100 of those business are small businesses – so about 98 per cent of the cohort of business within Gippsland are small business and therefore they require a specific level of support and assistance," she said.
"Whether you have been in small business for 10 minutes or for 40 years, the needs are very specific and we want to make sure there are as many avenues for access to support and systems as possible, and that the tyranny of distance doesn't get the better of people along the way."
For more information or to see scheduled events visit festival.business.vic.gov.au/Gippsland.