GROW Gippsland is a collaborative program owned by its participants: local businesses.
GROW is open to all local businesses and businesses from outside Gippsland who are operating in the region. During the development phase of GROW, 30 organisations committed to participate in the program.
The program is facilitated by the Latrobe Valley Authority and delivered by ArcBlue Consulting. Regional Development Victoria, Gippsland Business Connect and Industry Capability Network
are partners in the program.
GROW Gippsland (Growing Regional Opportunities for Work) is a collaborative program that seeks to strengthen social and economic outcomes and increase job opportunities through procurement and employment across the Gippsland region.
GROW Gippsland is modelled on the G21 Geelong GROW program.
Driven by strategic imperatives and with the support of local partners, GROW Gippsland is embedding an innovative approach to local economic development to improve social impact in the region:
- Redirecting procurement spend towards local business
- Creating jobs through local inclusive employment approaches
- Cultivating impact funding and investment opportunities
Inclusive employment occurs when organisations take proactive steps to employ people who have experienced barriers to work (eg. individuals from disadvantaged areas, the long term unemployed, Aboriginal people, people with a disability and young people). It promotes fair and equitable access to decent employment, ensuring satisfactory pay and conditions, career prospects and opportunities for social integration.
Social procurement occurs when businesses buy products and services from Aboriginal business, social enterprises and businesses that provide inclusive employment pathways. Social procurement supports the growth of these 'social benefit suppliers' and provides more jobs and employment pathways for people who have experienced barriers to work.
The local community provided a strong message regarding the imperative to increase the supply of local jobs available in Gippsland, and to ensure that these jobs go to local people from key target groups.
The opportunity for GROW Gippsland to significantly impact the regional economy is substantial. The community is passionate about growing the local economy and a number of foundational pieces are already underway. There are several initiatives and programs that complement the work GROW is doing.
There are large levels of State Government investment in the Latrobe Valley, resulting in significant work to revitalise the local economy.
Currently, over $17 billion is spent each year in the Gippsland region, however almost half is spent with suppliers located outside of the region.
Economic modelling shows that even a small shift in the way the region buys its goods and services can generate significant investment and increased job opportunities in Gippsland.