Starting & growing your business

Cairns Regional Council is committed to supporting local businesses.

When starting or expanding a business, information and advice at the early stages is critical. Below are links to resources available to you from across government and other agencies.

Start-ups and entrepreneurs

The following agencies provide services and information to support new businesses.

Urban Spaces
  • Urban Spaces is a Cairns Regional Council facilitated program that matches start-up businesses, social-enterprises and creative industry professionals with vacant commercial premises across the Cairns region.
Advance Queensland
  • Advance Queensland  is a comprehensive suite of programs designed to create the knowledge-based jobs of the future, drive productivity improvements and build on our natural advantages. It aims to help position Queensland as an attractive investment destination with a strong innovation and entrepreneurial culture.
Entrepreneurs' Programme
  • Part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Entrepreneurs' Programme supports business competitiveness and productivity at the firm level.
  • The Australian Government's online business portal offers advice on grants and assistance, programs to help businesses innovate, grow and succeed, business establishment and compliance, skills and training and a range of useful templates.

Small business assistance

Business Queensland

The Queensland Government's Business and Industry Portal features useful interactive tools,  information and support to make doing business with government faster and easier,  saving you time and money.

  • Starting a business: before you start, options, licensing, planning, legals, research, premises, suppliers
  • Running a business: money, sales, marketing, service, design, technology, tendering, risk, recovery, environment
  • Growing a business: ways to grow, rapid growth, mentoring, trends, tips, innovation, R&D, NPD, new customers, exporting
  • Support, tools, grants, services
  • Employing people: taking on staff, employee rights, payroll tax, managing staff, developing staff, ending employment
  • Exiting a business: ways to exit, closing, selling, valuing, succession planning

Funding support

Council considers funding support to Industry Sectors that stimulate significant economic and community benefit, strengthen and diversify the region's industry base.

Contact Economic Development for further information:

TNQ Small Business Development Program

Tourism Tropical North Queensland's TNQ Small Business Development Program can provide business support through workshops, one on one mentoring and industry networking opportunities.  The program is for business or business intenders with less than 20 staff who derive a significant portion of revenue from tourists or operate in a tourism related industry.  Funded by the Small Business Advisory Services - Northern Australia Tourism Initiative, an Australian Government Initiative.

New Business assistance with New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

Individuals not in employment, education or training who are interested in running their own business may be eligible for New Business Assistance with NEIS. New Business Assistance can help by providing:

  • Accredited small business training;
  • Personalised mentoring and support from a NEIS provider in the first year of the new business to help the individual put their business idea into practice; and
  • NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks and NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible).

CCIQ's Definitive Guide to Starting a Small Business

CCIQ's Definitive Guide to Starting a Small Business   ( PDF, 1.62 MB ) aims to give you the heads-up on what you need to begin and grow a business in Queensland.  It will assist you with where to start with:

  • Legislative requirements
  • Structuring your Business
  • Business Planning
  • Registering your Business
  • Insurance, Finance/Accounting
  • Record keeping
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Working online
  • Employing Staff
  • Taking your first steps as a business owner.

Asialink Business

The Asialink Business Country Starter Packs provide comprehensive guides to key Asian markets, helping Australian businesses looking to establish or expand their operations in Asia to develop their Asia capabilities.  Each pack includes valuable information on market opportunities and risks for Australian businesses, as well as in-depth case studies.

For more information and information packs on China, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Veitnam, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong visit the Asialink Business website.

Black Business Finder

Black Business Finder (BBF) is an online database established to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses a platform that can be assessed by government or businesses looking to source goods and services from Indigenous suppliers.

Business regulations

Council regulates many business activities including food and dining, accommodation, personal services, advertising, commercial filming and busking. Visit our business regulations page for more information.

Sustainability in business

  • Council's ECOlogic program supports Cairns businesses to capitalise on sustainability as an opportunity.
  • Council offers a range of waste services to support business needs and recycling in the workplace.

Procurement and tenders

Council's Capital Works Program amounts to $169 million for the 2017-18 financial year. Council advertises tenders, expressions of interest and requests for quotations in The Weekend Post and on our tenders webpage.


The nbn™ network is Australia’s new landline phone and internet network, designed to support future economic and social growth. nbn co limited (nbn) is the government business entity responsible for providing wholesale services to landline phone companies and internet service providers who offer nbn plans for homes and businesses. To find out how the nbn™ network can benefit your business and how to move your services over to the nbn™ network, visit the nbn website.

Last updated: 05 March 2019