Sarah Bell is growing her business, Manta Creative, thanks to Gippsland Business Connect’s Concierge service.

Having freelanced in the creative industry for a number of years, which led to the establishment of her website and graphic design business – Studio Manta, on the Great Ocean Road in 2017, Sarah and her family moved from the South West Coast to Gippsland a year later to be closer to family.

Establishing a new client base on the other side of Victoria would take some time, and Sarah was looking for new ways to develop local connections for her business. Sarah discovered Gippsland Business Connect (powered by Localised) which gave her the perfect local platform to connect with potential clients, research businesses, hear from industry professionals, and discover projects and opportunities.

“I joined Business Connect and began making connections with local businesses. I wrote and shared articles about web design on the platform, and I landed new clients from having my business profile listed.”

“What I love about it (Business Connect) is that it’s a genuinely local network. Everything on there is generated by users for other users therefore it’s a natural channel for people to find us.”

When COVID hit, Sarah started receiving a lot of requests for quotes via Business Connect.

“I knew it was time to grow Studio Manta, and I wanted to establish a strong creative marketing agency going forward. I contacted my local business concierge for Baw Baw Shire through Business Connect to find out more about Grants available for my business.”

Sarah successfully applied for two Latrobe Valley Business and Industry Capability Fund grants; one to develop a business plan and the other for training. 

“We wanted to find a local expert to help us grow and scale our business in the most strategic, profitable and sustainable way, and we found local management consulting firm, Aerium, through Business Connect.”

“Part of the business plan and growth strategy we developed for Studio Manta (now Manta Creative) was to incorporate my partner’s passion for photography and videography into the business, and we were able to research professional photography training providers through the platform.”

Sarah said she is excited about the future of her business.

“We’re not going back, we’re going forward and we’re working hard to establish a strong creative marketing agency going forward.”

“Business Connect is a great tool not only for the local business community, but also for our local Councils to have a greater understanding of what’s happening in their local business communities.”

Through the Business Connect Concierge pilot program, local businesses can access a free concierge business support service via Gippsland Business Connect, funded by the Latrobe Valley Authority, with staff based at Latrobe City, Wellington Shire, Baw Baw Shire and LVA offices. 

For more information visit: