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Renew Adelaide a valuable money-spinner: report

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Renew Adelaide delivered $3.90 worth of local wages and business profits for every $1 that taxpayers spent on its operations over 12 months, according to a cost-benefit analysis released today.

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The not-for-profit connects start-up businesses with short-term, rent-free leases in vacant properties and helps property owners improve their buildings to attract tenants.

Renew Adelaide today released a Deloitte Access Economics cost-benefit analysis of its operations, which finds it delivered $2,514,000 in benefits for the $647,000 it received in public funding during the 2018 financial year.

That results in $1,868,000 in net benefits, or a 3.9-to-one benefit-cost ratio.

“Arguably, the most important benefit of Renew Adelaide is the opportunity provided to entrepreneurs who may not otherwise be able to test their business idea in commercial premises,” the report says.

“Provided the project earns an income, it directly contributes to South Australia’s economy – by employing South Australians and paying wages, with many projects also turning over a profit for their owners.

“In addition, landlords may also benefit from new income where the Renew Adelaide project graduates to a commercial lease.”

Renew Adelaide CEO Tim Boundy said that although the financial benefits of the service were clear, its key benefit was encouraging people to transform disused spaces.

“We inspire young people to try new ideas, transform retail and office precincts encumbered by blight, and create partnerships between the established, asset-rich property industry and the emerging entrepreneurs and industries of Adelaide’s future,” he said in a statement.

“This is where the true immeasurable value lies – in providing pathways for people to see small business as a career path, in making Adelaide an energetic and exciting place that attracts and supports new ideas, and ensuring we have a thriving small business and retail offering across many precincts.”

Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said the City Council had supported Renew Adelaide since 2012 and would continue to do so.

“Our support of Renew Adelaide is resulting in jobs for locals and activation of underutilised office and retail spaces and this is fantastic news,” she said.

“It is also pleasing to see the financial boost for property owners when Renew Adelaide ventures graduate to a commercial lease.”

Renew Adelaide is currently in talks with the State Government over future funding.

According to the report, 53 businesses accessed Renew Adelaide support in the 2017-18 financial year, activating more than 2,200 square metres of vacant space in the CBD, in North Adelaide and in Port Adelaide.

The State Government axed funding from Renew Adelaide’s Port Adelaide program in late 2017.

Renew Adelaide was brought in to help reduce business vacancies along Hutt Street last year, following a political fight over the location of Hutt Street Centre and antisocial behaviour in the area.

The organisation says it received $300,000 from the Department of Premier and Cabinet and $216,000 from the City Council in the 2019 financial year – a budget it continues to draw from in the new financial year.

It is currently in talks with the State Government about future funding.

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