Where do I begin?

You’ve decided to start a business or are planning to grow or buy an existing one, but you’re unsure where to begin. We can help.

Help with permits and approvals

We can connect you to a range of free services to help you navigate the permits and approvals process.

They include:

Business permit finder

The Business Permit Finder is an easy-to-use tool. Use it in your own time to match your business activities and plans with the relevant:

  • permits
  • licenses
  • registrations.

From there, you can get in contact with our Business Concierge for further advice or start applying.

Find a permit

Business Concierge

Get tailored advice and support from our Business Concierge.

Our Business Concierge can help you:

  • navigate the permit process if you are opening, growing, or buying a business
  • find the right permits and approvals for your business
  • get information and advice across Council
  • improve the quality of information you provide with your application.

Make an enquiry

Open for Business Resources

Find your perfect property match

Are you looking to lease a commercial property, but not quite sure if it's right for you and your business? Check the address with our free commercial property look up, and you'll receive a report with property details, council demographics, and permit details. No sign up required, and it’s completely free. 

Guidelines and fact sheets

We know permit requirements can be confusing to understand so we have developed materials to help you complete permit requirements.

To make it easier to find we have grouped permit requirements by the industry you're working in. This means that small businesses can use these guides as a one-stop shop. You can find information about planning, building, health, local laws, acoustics and liquor licensing. All the information is simplified and tailored to the type of business.

Six councils partnered to deliver this project: Merri-bek, Stonnington, Port Phillip, Greater Shepparton, Yarra and Hobsons Bay. It was funded through the Victorian Government’s Regulatory Reform Incentive Fund.

Fact sheets

These fact sheets go into more detail. They include topics like what to look for when leasing, building code requirements around toilets and fire escapes, and acoustic attenuation for live music and planning zones.

Entering into a retail lease

A retail lease is a legal document that outlines the terms under which one party (a tenant) agrees to rent property from another party (a landlord).

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) provides detailed guidelines for tenants and landlords on retail lease agreements. Along with this helpful fact sheet.

Read more:

Dispute resolution

Dispute resolution is a way of resolving disputes without going to court. It is a good first step in trying to reach agreement about the issues that have led to the dispute.

These disputes can be business-to-business, business-to-government, retail leasing and franchising disputes. They can also be disputes between an independent contractor gig worker and their platform, including rideshare drivers who transport passengers and workers who provide care services including disability support, domestic services and a variety of other tasks.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) helps provide information to small business about their rights and responsibilities to help avoid disputes.

The VSBC can also assist small business in dispute by providing dispute resolution services, including preliminary assistance, pre-mediation assistance and mediation.

Some of the common disputes the VSBC can help with include:

  • licensing and agency agreements
  • franchise agreements
  • supply contracts
  • tenders
  • buying and selling a business
  • partnerships.

Read more:

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Contact us

Our Business Concierge is here to help.

Send us a message on My Port Phillip