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Aerial of Adelaide city at sunrise.

A pilot program to encourage new shops to open for business in the main streets of Riverland towns will start this year.

Planning Minister John Rau said following the recent Community Cabinet held in the Riverland, Renewal SA would deliver a $200,000 pilot program in Renmark called Made in SA.

“The Made in SA program is about supporting small business and activating the main streets,” he said.

“When Cabinet visited the area in June, it was clear that filling empty shops to renew main streets is a critical issue for Riverland councils and the region.

“That is why the state government in partnership with Hub Australia is setting up a pilot program in Renmark that aims to help revitalise the main street.

“Through the Made in SA program, the Government, councils and landlords will work together to fill empty shops, helping to revitalise the Riverland and create jobs.”

Renmark Paringa Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Siviour said: “The Hub concept is a global innovative co-working community. The trial program of a pop-up Hub in the Riverland is evidence that the country cabinet meetings are working and the Weatherill government is listening to the concerns of regional communities.”

The Made in SA pilot program is designed to support new vendors that could help reactivate the main street. The program will include a pop-up Hub which offers business programs and networking in the main street of Renmark. This will encourage small business growth and increased employment.

The program will connect entrepreneurs from the Riverland with successful business people in Adelaide and interstate, providing local entrepreneurs with advice and support to help them succeed, and keeping local talent in the region.

Tom Freeman, co-owner of the Woolshed Micro Brewery in Murtho which was recently awarded the contract to supply beer to Jamie Oliver’s Adelaide restaurant is excited about the program.

“The hub networking concept is a fantastic opportunity for the Riverland, in particular but not limited to, young entrepreneurs getting together and sharing ideas in a constructive and supportive environment,” Mr Freeman said.

“It is also a great way to liven up the main street and stimulate activity in the town centre.”

2013 Young South Australian Citizen of the Year Zac Caudo from Caudo Vineyards in Waikerie agreed.

“I think it is a great opportunity, allowing unique ideas and businesses within the region the ability to flourish and grow,” Mr Caudo said.

“Isolation from major cities is one of our biggest issues, the creation of this hub will offer greater networking opportunities and the tools needed to create successful business.”

Hub Australia offers co-working spaces, learning opportunities and professional communities across Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Made in SA will have a permanent home at HUB Adelaide and in 2015 will activate a ‘pop-up’ HUB in Renmark. The pop-up Hub facility, to be located in the main street of Renmark, will provide professional networking and learning opportunities for small and growing businesses in the region.

Before that, a series of public workshops will be hosted in Renmark from 5pm-7pm on Friday 17 October, Friday 7 November and Friday 28 November.

If successful, the pilot program will be rolled out to other South Australian regions.

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