Clare Fountain, Ian Holland Julie Miller Markoff, Ian McBurney , Mayor Margaret O’Rourke and Marcus Turnbull.

The inaugural $60,000 Great Ideas Grant has been awarded to the bHive Cooperative Villages project, a community owned person-to-person digital sharing economy platform.

The City of Greater Bendigo and Fosterville Gold Mine launched the grant earlier this year to kick-start great ideas for social innovation in the Bendigo community.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the selection panel was impressed by the outstanding proposal from the bHive Cooperative and the benefits the project would deliver to the local community.

“Through the grant $60,000 was available to undertake a project that applies new ideas and ways of doing things to improve our community’s wellbeing and sustainability,” Cr O’Rourke said.

bHive’s platform is an Australian first that allows Bendigo residents to create, own and run enterprises that provide access to local goods and services.

The company was established by four locals, with founder Ian McBurney noting national interest in the initiative.

“We are so pleased that Bendigo is taking the lead and kick-starting the development of our platform,” Mr McBurney said.

Fosterville Gold Mine Vice President of Australian Operations Ian Holland said the project is a unique opportunity for the community.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this project roll out and the connections made in the community,” Mr Holland said.

The platform will also connect groups together across the region to build social capital, share free resources and skills, run events together and communicate collectively and individually.