In most recent ABS data, there were more than 2.3 million small businesses within Australia spanning all industries from mining to manufacturing, education to healthcare and everything in between. As the cliche goes, they really are the backbone of the economy, creating around 7 million jobs and contributing over $400 billion to Australia’s GDP, a third of Australia’s total economy. SMEs play an important role in the global economy, constantly adapting to changing conditions, market disruption and advancing technologies. The ability to adopt new operating models and transform business as usual practices has seen small business owners drive revenue and generate new opportunities as the Australian economy enters its recovery phase.
But it wasn’t always this way. COVID-19 had a large and disproportionate impact on small businesses, and many lacked the funding and resources to operate under crisis. At the height of the pandemic in Australia, 58% of business owners reported being greatly affected, 67% reported lower demand for goods and services and 37% reported cash flow issues. Another significant statistic reported 37% of businesses were driven to change businesses practices such as embracing virtual, remote working and increasing their online presence. For many, an investment in digital tools was the difference between life and death.
And in response, small business grants funding digital adoption, entrepreneurship and disaster recovery have given hundreds of employers an opportunity to not only recover, but grow and thrive. In March 2020, the Australian Government announced an economic support package of $66 billion to support small businesses who required assistance through the challenging times. If you’re a sole trader, start-up or SME, there is financial assistance available to you. Below are some opportunities available to support digital adaptation, business solutions and grants for those experiencing financial hardship.