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The diversity of small business in Australia is one of its fundamental strengths. There is no average, one-size-fits-all small business or small business owner.
A common definition of a small business is one that has from zero to 19 employees, and the total number of these at June 2018 was 2,259,098.
In fact, small businesses with fewer than 20 staff make up nearly 98 per cent of the 2.31 million businesses in Australia. Almost 70 per cent of these businesses are family owned and in 2016–17 small business contributed $393 billion to the Australian economy, and that amount is increasing.
Almost two thirds (1,435,547) of small businesses employ no staff — they are one-person operations managing all the technical, financial and other requirements of running a business.
Micro businesses — those employing from one to four people — make up less than a third (627,932) of all small businesses. Other small businesses employing from five to 19 staff make up 195,619.
These businesses span just about every conceivable industry. About a third of them are run by women and that number is increasing. The number of Indigenous owner-managers grew by about 30 per cent from 2011 to 2016 and that trend is also continuing.
The three biggest industry sectors are construction; professional, scientific and technical services; and rental hiring and real estate services, with 40.1 per cent of small businesses operating in these sectors in June 2018. The total number of small businesses has increased by 10.5 per cent from June 2014 to June 2018.
To find out about Government initiatives available to support small businesses, visit the websites below.
From the Newsroom
- Growing the Launceston small business community
- Restart for Firestorm
- Providing advice for starting a business
- Source: ABS cat. no. 8165.0
- KPMG Enterprise and Family Business Australia, Family Business Survey 2018
- ANU research into Indigenous business growth