GROW Bendigo is a collective impact initiative with business, government, community organisations and individuals working together to address disadvantage in areas of high unemployment.

GROW Bendigo is based upon evidence that suggests the most effective way to improve outcomes for persistently disadvantaged communities is to reduce unemployment rates within those areas and, by doing so, strengthen the social and local economic fabric of the region.

GROW Bendigo is about creating new jobs, by asking organisations to support social/local procurement, and impact investment through electing to buy goods and services that contribute economically and socially to our local community and injecting capital into businesses and non-for-profit enterprises to target communities.


In 2014, the first GROW initiative was developed in response to the G21 Addressing Disadvantage Taskforce Report in which it was acknowledged that innovative, collaborative and evidence-based approaches were needed to tackle the problem of entrenched poverty and disadvantage in the Geelong region.

After four years, GROW G-21 (Geelong) has signed on more than 100 local businesses and organisations which has created 80 jobs and led to a shift towards local spending valued at $22 million.

The success of the GROW program in Geelong has led to State Government funding to implement the initiative across the major regions in Victoria.

The GROW program is underway in La Trobe Valley (2017) and recently launched in Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo. The program has been funded until 2021.

Be.Bendigo has been selected to oversee the implementation and running of the GROW Program for the Greater Bendigo region.

How will GROW Bendigo achieve this?

The GROW Bendigo compact aims to increase employment opportunities for disadvantaged job-seekers by using the following principles:

Buy Local

To support local businesses to thrive and prosper in Bendigo and, in turn, keep money spent in our region.

Buy Social

To support socially driven purchasers and social enterprise suppliers coming together – building on business relationships that generate benefits to communities across Bendigo.

Employment pathways

Traineeships, apprenticeships, work placements and work experience help train people for real and accessible employment opportunities. This means that job seekers are equipped with the skills they require to meet job needs.

Employ from target areas

Focusing on equitable access to employment and helping to create strong, skilled and inclusive communities.

Business adopting GROW principles

By adopting our principles, buying local and buying social will reinforce the ongoing prosperity of local business and ensure the creation of employment opportunities.