Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Business Support Group triage process aids Sprout Eden expansion

15 January 2021

Eden small business owner, Karen Lott (above), owns Sprout Eden café. Socially conscious and community focussed, she sources locally grown produce as ingredients for Sprout’s fresh foods and cakes, and provides a point of sale for local food products, such as condiments, smoked foods, dairy products and breads.

The café was heavily impacted by the Black Summer bushfires and then COVID-19.

With the support of funding through JobKeeper, bushfire and COVID-19 grants, Karen was able to maintain her staff and position the café to reopen when restrictions eased.

Bega Valley Business Support Group member, Paul Morris of EY Virtual Drop-In Centre connected with Karen and created a business Roadmap, which identified the challenges and opportunities for the business as it recovered from the impact of extremely difficult trading conditions.

Paul then introduced Karen to another Business Support Group member, Rewire Business Coaches. The Roadmap provided the foundation for Rewire’s Rhys Treloar and Simone Eyles to further investigate Sprout Eden’s operating costs, profit margins and cashflow.

This forensic financial investigation provided clarity around the businesses’ profitability and identified opportunities to reduce its operating costs and improve its profit margins. It also highlighted the opportunity to leverage benefits from investing in complementary business ventures that could be vertically integrated.

As a result, Karen opened a wholefoods outlet and just recently opened an adjoining coffee bar. The wholefoods outlet provides a service not previously available in Eden and complements the café in offering high quality, nutritious food products.

The new coffee bar complements the café by serving customers wishing to take away, thus maximising seating capacity and reducing the waiting time for service at Sprout Eden café.

The triage process by EY Virtual Drop-In Centre identified the most pressing areas of need for Sprout Eden and identified Rewire’s business service as best placed to provide ongoing and more intensive support.

This Business Support Group collaboration allowed Karen to grow her business and grow the local economy by providing extra hours to existing staff, employing more staff and providing the Eden community and visitors with additional products and services.

Local business owners looking to recover and grow their business this year should register with the Business Support Group, or contact Tim Whitaker on or call 0427 402 050.

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