Managing business development for the nursery industry 2008-09 (NY08007)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
The aim of Managing Business Development for Nursery Industry 08-09 was to facilitate the ongoing development of industry skills in the areas of business management, HR management, marketing and retailing. It provided funding to each NGI State Association as service providers, to extend national business improvement initiatives to the whole industry and was a continuation of the Business Skills projects NY06015 and NY07016. This project was linked into other Nursery Industry programs including Awards and Accreditation, Industry and Stakeholder Marketing as well as general extension activities for Training and Environmental issues.
The provision of business skills was of vital importance to the nursery and garden industry as many nursery and garden centre owners were passionate and skilled horticulturalists but lacked the business skills and knowledge necessary to run a successful business. By providing training, local advice and business performance measurement tools the researcher helped to ensure a more sustainable and profitable industry.
To develop the necessary business skills to ensure the sustainable growth of industry, the service providers (State Associations) to the program were required to:
- Actively promote business improvement and accreditation locally and through industry events
- Organise networking and special interest group events to provide a platform for peer-topeer learning, information exchange and input into industry programs.
- Deliver local advice (phone, media) - where to go for business assistance and advice, information about accreditation and industry programs
- Assist with extension activities for national projects such as accreditation recruitment, KidsGrow, CNP, Wise About Water, World Environment Day etc.
- Conduct accreditation audits
- Ensure a strong uptake of business improvement tools such as AGGAS manuals
- Encourage industry adoption of legislation requirements – environmental modules – especially weeds, OH&S modules.
To assist in the management of and reporting on this project new contracting obligations were implemented with activities and the outcomes required clearly defined. For the duration of the project the states who were delivering the extension activities provided their reports in line with the new requirements including a summary of the activities undertaken, the audience reached plus samples of materials produced. For the last quarter reports were not received from Tasmania as they did not have the resources to deliver on the project.
In all areas of measurement for this program growth and outcomes were achieved except for the Australian Garden Centre Accreditation Program (AGGAS). The decision not to provide any further levy funds for this project had already been made by the IAC in March 2009. However industry was keen to find a way to maintain this program within the business improvement portfolio of services. As many businesses within the nursery and garden industry employed less than five people and tended to be family owned and managed the provision of business skills and support was of vital importance for both the professionalism of the industry and it was future growth and profitability.
The results of the Industry Needs Assessment conducted in July/August 2009 showed that 16 per cent of industry believe levy funds needed to be used to provide business skills training for staff and 16 per cent wanted access to extension officers to assist with business advice/questions (advice relevant to horticultural information was covered under a separate question). Interestingly the main sources of financial/business information were external consultants - accountants, workshops and training plus magazines and nursery papers.
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Nursery & Garden Industry Australia and the nursery industry.
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