Sydney entrepreneur opens ‘ideas exchange’ centre


A Sydney-based entrepreneur has launched a Small Business Ideas Exchange Centre in a bid to help other Sydney small business owners share information, host and attend events, and network.


The Small Business Idea Exchange Centre is the brainchild of Belinda Stinson, founder of jewellery business Creatively Belle.


Stinson is also the founder of women’s magazine She Inspires.


According to Stinson, there is a real desire and need for a small business centre offering information, education, events and networking opportunities.


“As a small business owner, I think that it can be quite challenging making things happen. In terms of pricing, pricing can put me out of reach of things very quickly,” she told StartupSmart.


“I’ve been very fortunate to work with good government agencies and have a corporate background.


“Big organisations get preferred rates and discounted rates, and I want to change that up and challenge it.”


Stinson spoke to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which manages The Rocks Pop-Up initiative in partnership with Arts NSW, after stumbling upon one of the venues it was using.


“It is 150 square metres… With that size, I could host multiple events,” she says.


Stinson decided to request permission to use the space on an ongoing basis.


“It all moved very quickly… I only had really a week’s wait for it to go to the board and be reviewed,” she says.


The venue is being set up for workshops for 20 attendees, networking events for up to 100 attendees and seminars for up to 60 attendees.


Those who will benefit most include service business owners, creative business owners, retailers, cottage industry creators, consultants, designers and artisans, mumpreneurs and emerging artists.


Stinson is quick to point out the venue is open to men and women.


“I want people to make really good connections and have the opportunity to grow their business in ways that suit them, whether that’s through education, connections or having that ‘aha!’ moment,” she says.


“For a lot of small business owners, the majority work in quite an isolated space. Having a space where we can connect with others and is very accessible [is valuable].”


While male business owners are more than welcome to use the venue, female entrepreneurs with families are a key component, according to Stinson, who has set up an area for children.


“[One woman] has a family with children, so the idea is whoever comes in… can come with their family,” she says.


“We have a business coach involved and a lot of her clients are young mums that are starting up their business, so we need to make it easy for the kids to come in.


“[However], we need to find the right balance when there are events running.”


The Small Business Idea Exchange Centre is located at 13 Cambridge Street in Sydney’s city centre and is open on weekdays from 10am to 3pm.