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Backing Small Business


Creating an environment for small business to grow and prosper.

Photo of the Hon Minister Cash MP

To make it easier to start or grow a small business, the Australian Government has put together this guide on resources and support available to you.

While we might call them ‘small’ businesses, their impact is anything but small. Small businesses in Australia represent 98 per cent of all businesses and employ around 6 million Australians, which equates to around half of Australia’s business employment. Small businesses contributed over $413 billion to the economy in 2017-18, or around 34 per cent of private-sector output. With statistics like that, it is no surprise that small and family businesses are actually big hitters — crucial to Australia's economic success and driving the prosperity that we all want to see for future generations.

We know one of the hardest things about running a small business is staying innovative, competitive and contemporary in this fast-paced world. We have listened to the small business community, and have developed policies to protect business operators. We have implemented programs and established incentives to help unlock your potential, making you more flexible, competitive and ultimately, more profitable. This guide is intended to help you to find out about these initiatives.

We value the contribution our small businesses make to the Australian economy and how essential small businesses are in supporting local communities. I hope this guide helps you find useful support and information.

Kind regards,

Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

Starting a business

Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy and backing small business is a key part of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy. The Government is investing in Australia’s small businesses to foster an environment of confidence, increased investment, economic growth and employment.

The Australian Government understands the challenges of running a small business and has a range of initiatives and programs to support Australians to start a small business. Grants, funding and support programs from across government are now available to assist small businesses to succeed and thrive.

For more information visit: Starting a business page (a printable version is also available).

Tax relief and assistance

The Australian Government is providing tax relief for small businesses. Lower taxes mean more money for small business owners to reinvest into their business, create more jobs for Australians, and continue to contribute to the Australian economy.

For more information visit: Tax relief and assistance page (a printable version is also available).

Access to finance and faster payment times

Small businesses are the engine room of the economy and the Government is committed to ensuring they are able to access the finance they need to capitalise on new ideas, grow their business and employ more staff. Faster payment times improve cash flow, which is critical to the prosperity and health of small businesses and unlocks opportunities for investment and growth.

For more information visit: Access to finance and faster payment times page (a printable version is also available).

Support to go digital

The Australian Government knows businesses with higher levels of digital engagement are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue, eight times more likely to be creating jobs, seven times more likely to be exporting and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products and services. Small businesses can access a range of government programs and subsidised digital advice to make the most of the opportunities in the digital economy and stay ahead of their competition.

For more information visit: Support to go digital page (a printable version is also available).

Assistance and advocacy

Australia is a nation of small businesses and family enterprises. One of the fastest growing in the economy, the sector presents many opportunities and challenges for those who dedicate themselves to pursing a small business venture. The Australian Government has put in place a range of initiatives to level the playing field to support small business to get a fair go.

For more information visit: Assistance and advocacy page (a printable version is also available).

A skilled workforce

The Australian Government is committed to delivering a vocational education and training (VET) system that will deliver the skilled workers needed by Australia’s small businesses to help them grow and prosper. There a range of initiatives and support that will strengthen the VET system and provide small businesses with support to take on more apprentices in areas of skills shortage.

For more information visit: A skilled workforce page (a printable version is also available).

Employing staff

When small businesses grow, there are more jobs for Australians. Small businesses are integral to the Government’s jobs strategy and Australia’s more than three million small businesses provide employment for around six million Australians.

For more information visit: Employing staff page (a printable version is also available).

Selling to Government

The Australian Government purchases a wide range of goods and services for delivery right across Australia including regional and remote areas. In 2017-18 almost 39,000 contracts, valued at nearly $13 billion, were awarded to over 9,000 different small and medium enterprises from right across Australia.

Your business could share in this. Selling to the Australian Government may be an opportunity to expand your client base, increase your income and grow your business.

Whether you are a new business operator or a well-established company, if you provide the quality goods and services the Australian Government buys, there may be an opportunity for you.

For more information visit: Selling to Government page (a printable version is also available).

Accessing global markets

The export of Australian products and services means more Aussie jobs and a stronger economy for all of us. The Australian Government is delivering better access to export markets, so small business can benefit from the global marketplace. There has never been a better time to start and grow an exporting business.

For more information visit: Accessing global markets page (a printable version is also available).

Small business wellbeing

Good mental health is good for small business, good for the economy and ultimately benefits the whole community. The Australian Government has a strong focus on the prosperity of small business as a key economic driver and recognises that mental health is linked to the productivity of the small business sector. Prioritising the wellbeing of small business owners is investing in the future and will benefit not only small business owners, but also their business, families and the communities where they live and work.

For more information visit: Small business wellbeing page (a printable version is also available).

Supporting regional businesses

Around a third of Australia’s small businesses are outside of the capital cities. Regional small businesses provide local jobs and services and are central to building strong and vibrant communities. The Australian Government has a range of initiatives and programs that focus on creating jobs, supporting the economic growth and securing the prosperity of Australia’s regional small businesses.

For more information visit: Supporting regional businesses page (a printable version is also available).

Energy prices

The Australian Government understands that power prices are hurting Australian small businesses, preventing them from employing more people, grasping new opportunities and being able to thrive. The Government is committed to lower power prices while keeping the lights on.

For more information visit: Energy prices page (a printable version is also available).

Making it easier to do business

Small businesses are the beating heart of the Australian economy and backing small business is a key part of the Australian Government’s plan for a stronger economy. The Government wants small business people to spend more time growing their businesses and less time dealing with paperwork and red tape. The Government has taken decisions to remove a net $5.9 billion in red tape, as at 30 June 2017. While this exceeds the original commitment, which was to reduce red tape by at least $3.5 billion across the first three and a half years, the Government recognises there is more to do.

For more information visit: Making it easier to do business page (a printable version is also available).

My Business Health Portal

My Business Health portal helps small business owners navigate government systems, to find what they need to face challenges and identify opportunities to grow their business. Pulling together a range of resources, My Business Health gives easy access to tools, templates and tips to manage stress and proactively engage with running a business.