Gillard pledges $1 billion in support for Australian business

Julia Gillard

Australian SMBs are expected to thrive and grow as part of the Government’s new $1 billion A Plan for Australian Jobs package.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has unveiled the Government’s new initiative which aims at providing SMEs and start-up companies with the opportunity to grow, improve productivity and to encourage international competitiveness. The package, entitled, A Plan for Australian Jobs, comprises five separate measures to stimulate small business expansion and job creation.

Minister for Small Business Chris Bowen recognises that Australia’s small firms are currently being held back by factors such as accessing finance, accessing advanced technologies, the difficulties of breaking into new markets and the difficulties of finding potential business collaborators and partners.

“We want to ensure small businesses have access to programs that help identify new markets or research, assist with adopting new technologies or look at better ways of doing business,” Bowen said.

The strategies proposed by the Government aim to help Australian SMEs overcome these barriers.

Venture Australia

A $378.6 million package that improves access to finance and business expertise. This will in turn facilitate the success of Australian companies which can generate high levels of growth, skilled jobs and competitive products and services. Venture Australia will stimulate greater investment in Australia’s venture capital market to provide $700 million of capital for companies that are vital to Australia’s future prosperity.

Enterprise Solutions Program

A $27.7 million program to help SMEs gain access to public sector markets and to fund innovative SMEs to develop solutions to future Government procurement requirements. Consequently, SMEs will develop the capabilities needed by governments and this places them in a better position to win tenders for Government procurement work.

Extending Enterprise Connect (the Government’s business advisory service)

An important service that has already helped more than 18,000 Australian firms to become more productive and improve their performance. The services will be extended to more manufacturing firms and to SMEs in new sectors like professional services, information and communication technologies, and transport and logistics.

Growth Opportunities and Leadership Development (GOLD) initiative

The initiative provides focused support for SMEs with high-growth potential.

Create up to 10 new Industry Innovation Precincts

New Industry Innovation Precincts will bring together firms, researchers and business service providers to collaborate on new technologies and business opportunities needed for success.

The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said, “Australia has a good track record in starting up new businesses but we need to ensure that our small businesses can take advantage of opportunities to grow, collaborate, adopt innovative practices and succeed in export markets.”