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Businesses have until September 30 to access a free program to help them prepare for and survive disasters before they happen.

Created by corporate2community (now Resilient Ready), a social enterprise committed to building resilience in businesses, the Business Community Resilience (BCR) Toolkit program addresses relevant issues such as supply chains, revenue streams, data backup and evacuation kits, community networks, power outages and more.

The 26-module pilot program has been rolled out across 11 LGAs in Northern NSW and 12 in Southern NSW.

It helps business owners take small steps to build resilience by asking two ``yes’’ or ``no’’ questions within a theme each fortnight and providing simple tips and actions to implement in their business.

Resilience expert and program creator Renae Hanvin says the tips are commonsense hints that aren’t difficult or expensive to implement.

``You don’t need to be a big enterprise to unpack our toolkit, it’s tailored for micro, small and medium businesses but can also be useful for non-profits and government agencies.

``The actions we suggest are things that everyone working in the business should be across and actively contribute to.

``After all, if a business is forced to close, it’s a loss for the not just the owner, but also the employees, suppliers, customers and wider community so it’s in everyone’s best interest to nurture the business and watch its back for the disaster that will eventually occur in some form or another.

``Your business is only as resilient as the rest of your business community. That’s why we’ve created a program designed to complete all together, which a special emphasis on building social capital: meaning the connections within the local and even regional community. Connected communities are resilient communities after all.’’

The BCR Toolkit is relevant right now as communities struggle with natural disasters, compounded by the prolonged Covid pandemic, power outages and supply chain disruptions.

Former Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman, influencer and businesswoman Kate Carnell AO says: ``I think the approach C2C is taking [with the BCR Toolkit] – small chunks of things businesses can do to help them grow their capacity in this space, is really important.’’

Eden Antiques co-owner Eric Wolske says the program ``highlights the things we are doing right, while also highlighting what we could be doing a little better in the event of an emergency’’.

Disaster preparedness ``shouldn’t be scary and negative’’, Ms Hanvin says.

Rather, it should be a positive part of business routine that gives everyone peace of mind knowing that they know what to do when disaster strikes and that the business will survive.

``It doesn’t mean you won’t be unscathed or suffer, but it will mean a better chance at surviving and going on to thrive.

``Disasters can bring opportunities for businesses that are open to innovation and ready to adapt.’’

Business can register for free to the BCR Toolkit pilot program until September 30. Once registered they will be able to access the content until the end of the year.

The program is funded via the joint-funded NSW and Commonwealth Government Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF).

Click HERE to register.

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Norman Lindsay Gallery, Faulconbridge.

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The old Lucasville Station platform and stairs on the Lapstone Zig Zag track.

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