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Starting a business

Below are some useful resources to help people thinking of starting a business.

Research local business opportunities

You can identify and research local business opportunities by accessing information including:

  • number of local businesses in different industries
  • industries that are growing and/or declining
  • employment clusters and hubs
  • residential demographics and workforce profiles

This industry and workforce data is available through the Economy ID website.

Permits and business registration


If you’ve decided to start a business, you will need to register your business and apply for any necessary permits and licences. You can register online for:

  • an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • a Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax

To register for these, visit the Australian Business Register website.

There may also be extra registration or licensing requirements for businesses in some sectors. For more information, visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Business and planning permits

Most businesses will require a Council permit, with specific regulations applying to some types, including food and health services.

For more information, see:

Certain businesses also need a planning permit, even if the land is in a business zone.

For example, you will need to get a planning permit if you cannot provide the required number of on-site car parking spaces for your business.

New advertising signs and changes to the shopfront may also need a planning permit.

Renovations or extensions

You almost always need a planning permit to do any renovations or extensions in business zones.

Run a business from home

You do not need a planning permit to run a business from home (known as ‘home occupation’), if you meet the requirements in Clause 52.11 of the Whittlesea Planning Scheme (PDF - 25KB).

You can run many types of business from home if they do not disturb the surrounding neighbours. It depends on the zone of your property.

A number of business types cannot be run from home, including a business involving the service and repair of motor vehicles on the site.

Rental homes and units

Laws about running a business from home are the same for a rental home or rental unit as for a property that you own.

Changing the type of business

Your business may change, for example, a shop becomes a restaurant or a restaurant becomes a bar. You may need a planning permit for this change.

If you have fewer car parking spaces than is usually required for your new business, you need to get a planning permit to allow the reduced number of on-site car parking spaces.

Training and development

Events and training

You can attend business events or training courses to expand your knowledge and make new contacts. For more information, see Business events.

NEIS Program

Eligible job seekers who start their own business can access assistance through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). NEIS can provide you with accredited small business training, business advice and mentoring, as well as ongoing income support.

Funded by the Federal Government, NEIS has helped more than 100,000 people in Australia set up viable businesses.

For more information, visit the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme website.


Local businesses can take advantage of our free business mentoring service.

Assistance and networks

Business Victoria

Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource that can help you start, run and grow your business. You can download:

  • a free start-up pack
  • business factsheets
  • information on marketing, business plans, finance, employing staff and legal requirements

For more information, visit the Business Victoria website.

Buying a franchise

Paying for the rights to run a business with an established name, promotional and operating procedures is appealing.

Before you buy a franchise, you should ensure you:

  • have the right information for franchising
  • know how to evaluate the franchise
  • get professional advice

The ACCC has a number of free publications designed to assist prospective franchisees, including a Franchisee Manual and Franchisee Start-up checklist. For more information, visit the ACCC website.

Home-based businesses

Setting up your business from home can be a very cost-effective way to get started, as you’ll save money on renting premises, transport and travel. You may need a permit to operate from home.

Being home-based doesn’t suit everyone. Business Victoria produces a guide and checklist to help you decide if you should start up a home-based business.

Tourism businesses

If you are interested in starting a new tourism business, see Tourism Development.