EXCLUSIVE: NSW cuts Government support for business owners

Small Business September logo

Dynamic Business has learned that NSW Trade & Investment has today confirmed it is cutting all of its small business event programs. These include Small Business September, MicroBiz Week, the Young Entrepreneurs program and, ironically on International Women’s Day, the Women in Business mentoring program.

The magazine was media partner of last year’s Small Business September and an event we hosted was so popular it booked out within six hours, prompting us to hold a further event at the end of this month. It is not yet known if that will still go ahead.

Editor Jen Bishop said: “Small Business September is the only events program of its kind specifically for small business in New South Wales. I have seen for myself how popular the events are and it concerns me that these are being cut with no consultation.

“Small Business September was particularly good at providing small business events out in the regions. It has always been a month of celebration and recognition of the contribution small business makes to the community as well as a great time to educate business owners on the latest topics to help them grow their businesses. It does not seem to send the message that NSW Government supports these people who are the lifeblood of our economy. I will be interested to hear what they intend to replace these popular programs with.”

Small business owner Hazel Theocharous said: “It is against everything that the government should be standing for – what is happening for small business? The Women in Business Mentoring program which is an absolute godsend for new business owners who need guidance and assurance that they can take their business to the next level,”

“They are also cutting the September Small Business month? Why? This is an amazing month where so many businesses offer amazing free or cost-effective information to new or existing business owners wishing to learn something new or take their business to another level using the one platform,” Theocharous said.

“We get get a new Small Business Commissioner and then we lose so many amazing initiatives. We need to work together to ensure that the most important initiatives already around for us, remain around,” she added.

Dynamic Business is seeking comment from the office of Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King, who was appointed last year, and we will update this story as soon as we can.


12 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: NSW cuts Government support for business owners

  1. Hazel Theocharous

    It is against everything that the government should be standing for – what is happening for small business?

    They cut the Women in Business Mentoring program which is an absolute godsend for new business owners who need guidance and assurance that they can take their business to the next level.

    They are also cutting the September Small Business month? Why? This is an amazing month where so many businesses offer amazing free or cost-effective information to new or existing business owners wishing to learn something new or take their business to another level using the one platform.

    We get get a new Small Business Commissioner and then we lose so many amazing initiatives.

    Come on Small Business Owners, we need to work together to ensure that the most important initiatives already around for us, remain around.

    Reply
  2. Harry

    Might have been worth waiting for comment to get some clear answers rather than speculate? I’ve recently attended forums hosted by NSW Trade & Investment where they are getting feedback from SME’s for future requirements and from this I expect a plan will be put into place.

    Reply
    • Jen Bishop

      We immediately put calls into the Office of the Small Business Commissioner and the Small Business Minister for comment and as soon as we get one we will update this story.

      Reply
  3. Jack Dalton

    What is the NSW government thinking at a time like this? Apart from shattering any faith small business owners might have had in this government after 12 years of mismanagement, corruption and sloth from Labour it is the one sector of the community that needs every bit of backing and promotion that is possible to create jobs, innovation and opportunity.

    An immediate total cut to pollies outrageous overseas freebies, an ongoing total waste of money, could go a long way to funding several of these events.

    NSW businesses have had enough after 12 years or being ripped off or ignored by the Labour government. O’Farrell and his colleagues should move instantly to reverse these decisions.

    Jack Dalton, small business owner

    Reply
  4. Sue Heins

    To cut the small amount of real asstsance to small business owners is incrediblly short sighted.
    As we know it is the small business community who really do most of the employing. The majority of business people who have done training/mentoring programs whether Young Entrepreneurs,Women in Business or others have usually gone on the employ more people as their businesses strengthen and grow.

    How many businesses rely on the events and programs run through Trade & Investment? Most events book out in only hours and that’s when it holds 250 people in the city. Small business owners are hungry for information and I fear that there will be a rush of people who will make small business owners pay dearly for any information at all.

    Interesting that the new government sees fit to create a new small business commisioners office at almost the same cost it was to provide real assistance to small business owners. Another level of bureacracy and red tape.

    Harry, they’ve announced the replacement model already and the organisations(Business Enterprise Centres etc) are in shock- I was there.
    The NSW government will pay for the wages,super,telephone, laptop and car expenses of a business advisor to give approx 2 hours of face to face advice. The advisor is to go to the business and use an online diagnostic tool. Though the organisations who coordinate the business advisors will get paid nothing for running it…and if the organisations all work together and come up with a way of working efficiently, they won’t own the IP for creating their own system, the NSW government will.
    You know that an advisor can usually see (with travelling time) about 3 businesses a day unless as one guy said, he was from Broken Hill, where it takes him 3 hours to get to a local business.And as for online out there- forget it!
    All BEC’s will lose their funding on June 30 unless they work out a way to make this work. BEC’s are the places where small business owners look to for information, advice and networking- where they know they will have it explained simply to them.

    We need all business owners who have been part of a program or event and have benefited to send in to the Minister for Small Business and complain they are taking away the assistance that small business owners need.

    I am the only one in Sydney who is running a Women in Business program this year, and sadly it will be the last one. It took years to get assistance out here and now it’s going to be taken away. We have the largest concentration of small business owners in Sydney here on the Northern Beaches. This program makes almost an immediate impact on the participants businesses. We have only been running about 1 month and already the Mentees are contacting me saying how much it has already changed their businesses and I have already been asked about telling them how to employ people as their business are already growing.

    Are they going to get the same amount of help in 2 hours from an advisor?
    I also provided Business Advisory assistance and I know how a business can be stuck on one issue and all they need is advice on that one topic. But what about the small business owners who have been running a business on a wing and a prayer without any business knowledge? They need much more than 2 hours but at least they put they hands up and say they need help!

    I fear there will be another exodus out of NSW of small business owners as what happened when the GFC really hit and those small business owners who contacted me said it was much easier in Queensland and Victoria than here in NSW.

    Short sighted and looking for a quick fix is what I see.

    Reply
    • e.g. John Smith

      PS: Just to add to my comment- without the funding assistancefrom NSW Trade & Investment most small business owners could not afford do a program…they are normally cash strapped and many pay for the current program which is why the 50% assistance is so needed!

      Reply
    • Leonie Smith

      I’m one of the Women in Business doing the program that Sue is running…Actually I’ve been so busy implementing so much that I am learning and getting incredible support and advice from my mentor (only been going about a month) that I have not had my head up today to have even noticed this, and when I saw it… jumped up and wanted to write in. (waves at Hazel :) If there’s anything I can do to support keeping the Women In Business Program going please ask.

      My business is a very young business, my Cyber Safety Lady part of my business is the main part of the business I’m focusing on for this course. Where I train parents in Cyber Safety to protect their kids online. Its an entirely new and unique business at the cutting edge of new technology and social media. I’m not funded by Govt, I’m bootstrapping it. And it seems like there is a real need for this.

      The Women in Business program is the first program I could actually afford to do, (yes I looked around) it was around $600 dollars to get in and I had to show good cause as to why I should be considered. It’s a perfect course for someone like me in her later years…I’m 50 with no small business experience. I wanted to get back into the work force…now that my kids are older, and I needed to! This course has certainly helped me realise that desire. The information we are getting is very specialised, practical and totally necessary. The course is incredibly well run and set out. And we are getting tangible results! and fast! I feel like I’m on a bullet train! I feel privileged to have advice and teaching from the mentors and presenters who are people who have no interest in getting money out of me, but are altruistic in their desire to give back to the small business community, that has given them so much.

      I would really love for other people to get the benefit of this type of course that myself and the other ladies in the course are getting. And no, at my stage in business I could not afford the professional business seminars and courses that are around, simply don’t have the cash flow, its all going into printing brochures paying insurance, registration fees, and all the things you need to pay for when setting up a new business. And to be honest, most of the courses just weren’t that practical…and there seem to be a LOT of get rich quick type seminars I was very wary of.

      This business course will make the difference between me bumbling along for years on my own jumping from one mistake to another…or possibly quitting if I couldn’t sustain it.

      I feel like I’m getting somewhere…and I know why!

      I guess this decision is just typical Liberal Party behaviour, user pays, the rich gets richer the poor get the picture…and in my case…if I hadn’t snuck in this year, my unique business idea goes no where.

      Please let me know if my experience which is happening right now can help reverse this.

      Reply
  5. Sabrina Ferguson

    As the EO of Ryde’s umbrella Chamber of Commerce I’m both saddened and furious to read this news.
    Small business makes up around 80% of business state-wide. Small business owners are typically cash-strapped and information-hungry, and the I&I programs of recent years have been a boon for them. And it’s not just about learning, either, it’s another opportunity to meet fellow business owners and increase and enhance your network.
    Last year the City of Ryde and ourselves had sellouts on every Small Business September event we ran.
    We ran MicroBiz week events too and they were sellouts (well, they were all free events, but fully booked pretty quickly). Our MicroBiz week was a real help for attendees who were almost all startups or people about to start their own business. It was information they needed, and contacts they needed, all in one place. A success? Absolutely.
    I wonder – were these events cut to fund the salary of the Small Business Commissioner? Why can’t we have both? Personally I think the events may be of more use to small business owners than the Commissioner.

    Reply
  6. Laurel Papworth

    As I commented yesterday (vanished) and then on the other post – this is rubbish. I ran social media Small Business September workshops across the State, was told there would be 20 people and 100 would turn up, over the last 5 years or so, so not a recent thing. I’m not sure why Gov would say the events aren’t successful when everyone I spoke to loved ALL of them. None of the events that I saw were for a whole day, and all of them fit in with small business needs time wise. Total rubbish and poorly researched statement by Gov – these events ARE needed. Follow #BringBackSMBevents discussions on Twitter.

    Reply
  7. Sean Daniel Grobbelaar

    Its awesome to hear so many Small Businesses call for the return of Sydney Small Business Month. Kate Tribe and I have been working rather hard to offer at least something for small business owners to attend in September.

    We have setup http://www.SydneyBusinessMonth.com to offer 40 workshops for Small Business owners to attend in September on Social Media, Marketing, Sales and building a smarter business. Tickets are only $20 each or $199 for 20 coupon pass.

    We hope you will support our initiative and look forward to catching up in September.

    Reply

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