City of Sydney now accepting applications for its third retail innovation program

The free 12-week program can help you adapt to the digital economy in response to Covid-19

In February of this year, the owners of Soul Dining in Surry Hills, Illa and Daero Kim, took part in a City of Sydney retail innovation program run by the investment group Investible. The intensive 12-week accelerator program involved mentoring, workshops, coaching and tools for planning, market analysis, solution design and idea validation, financial modelling, scale strategy and growth marketing.

They didn’t know it at the time but the Kims were arming themselves with the tools they needed to adapt rapidly to Covid-19 restrictions. 

“We knew takeaway was our only option to survive, but our contemporary food couldn’t be experienced in the same way in a takeaway container,” says Illa.

 The retail innovation program provided a framework to help them prioritise. “Instead of just shutting down, we redirected our team’s energies and ideas to develop Bowl by Soul – a fresh take on Korean comfort food.”

 The Bowl by Soul concept was such a hit that the Kims are now working to find a separate location to base its operations. “It’s quite amazing that through this program, we were able to turn Covid restrictions into a new business opportunity,” Illa says.

The retail innovation program is returning soon to offer practical help to 20 more local businesses. If you’re interested, then you can register now for an information session taking place on Monday October 28.

The program is part of the City’s continued effort to bolster the local economy, including a $72.5 million package to support the business, community and creative sectors.

Photograph: Soul Dining

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