Hospitality businesses across Greater Sydney are encouraged to join forces with art, entertainment and cultural institutions and be part of a new program to help create 24-hour economy precincts.

Applications are now open for the NSW Government’s Uptown Accelerator Program, bringing together ‘district teams’, made up of three or more local businesses and organisations. Michael Rodrigues, the NSW 24-Hour Commissioner said the district teams will then take part in a four-week program which is designed to fast-track the development of new going-out districts across 33 Local Government Areas.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the night-time economy, with hospitality and retail businesses, artists, live performance venues and cultural institutions suffering disproportionately. Uptown is about supporting these sectors as businesses recover from the pandemic and look for greater revenue opportunities,” Rodrigues said.

“From Brookvale to Balmain, Harris Park to Hurstville, Sydney is blessed with diverse environments, multicultural communities and the world’s oldest continuing culture for whose custodianship we are grateful and for whose storytelling traditions we are privileged to contribute and share.

“Over the course of four weeks, Uptown will deliver workshops that will arm teams with knowledge on pitching, branding, legal, sponsorship, grant writing and more, to help them build capabilities and support the formation of their prospective ‘districts’.”

Sydney has seen the development of a new ‘going-out precinct’ in recent months with bars and businesses across York Street, Clarence Street and King Street working together to form YCK Laneways.

Vice-President of the YCK Laneways, and President of the NSW Independent Bars Association, Karl Schlothauer told The Shout that it is exciting to see initiatives like the Uptown Program become a reality.

“If the Uptown program was available when we started YCK, it would have made a world of difference,” Schlothauer said.

“Start-ups and small businesses face a unique set of challenges, and being able to lean on a panel of experts who can help turn your ‘blue sky thinking’ into clear, achievable actions will be a game changer.”

“What I find really exciting is the collective way of thinking, talking and doing. Since YCK’s inception in the height of COVID, we’ve seen over 25,000 guests come in to the city to enjoy some of the many events held within YCK and its venues. That in the height of COVID when office occupancy is a long way from reaching capacity. I can’t express how pleasing it is to hear venues say they’ve had record revenue numbers as a direct result of this collective effort.”

“When the industry is facing it’s toughest time in recent history, seeing the positive power of collective efforts is inspiring. I applaud the NSW government for recognising that and encouraging it further with the Uptown program.”

Following the four-week program, the Accelerator will conclude with a Pitch Night event where Teams will be given the opportunity to pitch their district to potential partners and sponsors.

Participants will also have the opportunity to apply for seed funding through the Uptown Grant Program (Stage Two) at a later date and subject to meeting the relevant criteria.

Applications are open until 9am AEST 30 August 2022, with more information and eligibility criteria available at

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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