Bringing Ballarat’s best ideas to life | ourballarat winter 2021

A new platform is being used to crowdsource positive and constructive ideas from our community to support local businesses in their COVID-19 recovery and beyond.

Image of the Suggest It app creators

The City of Ballarat is working with a local start-up and other organisations to put Ballarat’s best ideas into action.

Suggest it is an online platform modelled on the old suggestion box. It connects businesses with ideas put forward by their customers that can help them improve, grow and prosper.

City of Ballarat Economic Growth Team Leader Kelli Moran says the initiative provides a mechanism for the community to play their part in supporting the businesses they love.

“It’s a great example of harnessing the energy of the incredibly supportive community we have here in Ballarat.”

Good for businesses, great for our community

Suggest it Co-Founders Nick Clare and Ben Wearne moved to Ballarat to work and live about 10 years ago.

Nick says the motivation behind Suggest it was its potential to make a positive contribution to their local community.

“Our lives and families are here. We love Ballarat and want to give back.”

Ben says Suggest it draws on the energy and passion of Ballarat people to support each other.

“They love seeing their local businesses thriving and we really saw that come to light during COVID. We believe people inherently have great ideas and are happy to share them.”

Ben says Suggest it simply provides a channel to connect businesses and customers.

“It gives businesses the opportunity to tap into a pool of ideas. They can be about anything from making simple changes to the way businesses do things that would enhance the customer experience to solving a new problem for the customer.

“For customers, it’s an easy way to get behind their favourite businesses. For businesses, it’s a genuine opportunity to hear from their customers without costing them anything and with no obligation to do anything.”

Nick says he feels energised by the efforts of the organisations coming together to make this happen.

“It’s not just a post-COVID thing, it gives a strong sense of how we work together in Ballarat.”

Supporting innovation and creativity

Kelli says initiatives like this are an important part of the City of Ballarat Economic Development team’s work as part of a collaborative network of local organisations with a shared vision for our city.

“We work closely with key partners with us all pulling together to get behind local businesses, especially when they need it most.”

Kelli says this work involves actively supporting entrepreneurs and startups. 

“We want to attract creative minds to our city and then harness that innovation and creativity. Suggest it is a great example of an entrepreneurial enterprise to come out of Ballarat.”

Kelli says the recent Ballarat’s Best Ideas competition highlighted the potential benefits to businesses for being open to receiving suggestions.

“The winning ideas are now being implemented with support from the key partners in this project – Commerce Ballarat, Runway Ballarat, Federation University Business School, Committee for Ballarat and Ballarat Regional Tourism.

“We’ll be continuing to monitor their progress with great interest.”

Commerce Ballarat Chief Executive Officer Jodie Gillett says there’s always potential for businesses to improve their service, product or processes, and encourages every Ballarat business and organisation to sign up to Suggest it.

“Sometimes it just takes fresh eyes and perspective. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

How can I use Suggest it?

Businesses and organisations can register to receive ideas. It’s private, positive and free.

Customers (‘Gurus’) can support their local businesses by putting forward ideas anywhere and anytime using the app. It’s easy and the ideas are shared only
with the business.

Do you have a positive idea to help a GOOD local business or organisation become great?

Submit your idea online at