The small business sector has always been part and parcel of the backbone of Australia’s economy. Small and medium companies provide employment for over half of the employees in the private system and, at the same time, they help less privileged areas in the land down under develop economically. However, it seems that current models for financing and development, where small businesses in Australia are concerned, are undergoing a change. This change has to do with recent government reforms, as well as with shifting mentalities, wherein competition is being replaced by a more collaborative model. Read on, to find out more about two recent developments that look like they have the potential to alter the way business is done in Australia on more than one level.
The future of the small business commissioner role
As the federal elections in September approach, public disputes between the Opposition and the current ruling Labor party are becoming more and more heated. In a recent statement, for instance, the small business spokesperson for the Opposition, Bruce Billson, has criticized the Senate’s announcement to discontinue the small business program. This program, funded by the current Government, has apparently only been budgeted until the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The Senate statement, initially made by Sue Weston, was that the role of the small business commissioner was not a permanent one. Billson went on to chastise the current government, by saying that this latest move shows they don’t really care about small businesses, especially if they can allow themselves to make such a move at a moment when the sector needs stability above all else.
The role of the small business commissioner has been subject to dispute and controversy before, since Chris Brown, the Labor politician that has recently resigned from this role, is the 4th small business minister in little over a year. He occupied the position for roughly five months. Meanwhile, the Shadow minister (Billson himself, a member of the Liberal party) has occupied the seat since 2007. Since this position comes under review every two years, it is important to ensure continuity during that span of time, as well as to lobby for Commonwealth support for the small business sector.
Going it on their own, but together
Political quibbles aside, it looks like small businesses in Australia are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves – or, at least some of them are, under certain circumstances. In recent years, a significant number of small businesses have come to the conclusion that a collaboration-based strategy stands to benefit both parties involved more than an acerbic competition. For one thing, working together means that the two (or more companies) will be sharing rental costs – an important improvement, which, together with the emergence of serviced offices, makes it easier for small companies to control overheads. For another thing, though, the deeper the collaboration runs the better. One report, for instance, speaks of a firm that develops video games for smartphones that has been working together with an Internet start-up business in Auckland ever since they were founded by their respective owners.
The two companies will look for business leads together: their most recent common project, for example, was a web project completed for a subsidiary of Air New Zealand. What’s more, they also work together with the same advertising agency. The chief executive of the game developer says the digital industry relies on a model they call ‘co-opetition’, which means that two companies within the same industry will share tips, information, and expertise, when one of them gets stuck. They even have a working model, which is concerned with sharing information in a way that is safe for both parties involved.
Anna Mathews writes about Business news of various fields for a number of websites and blogs. An enthusiastic supporter of lifetime learning opportunities for everyone.