SME’s – the Engine Room of every Economy

The entrepreneurial spirit that has long been synonymous with us Aussies, is alive and well in the UK and making great strides.

Since the GFC hit the UK in 2007, self-employment in that country has grown rapidly with recent rises taking the number of self-employed to a record high of 4.6m. According to one of our Business Group members, Ken Phillips, of Self-Employed Australia, this UK growth continues today.

He reported some time ago “self-employment in the United Kingdom has risen again, this time by 154,000 in the three months to December 2015, thereby making up more than half of the increase in UK jobs. We’ve been observing this since 2013. You’d think this surge in self-employment would level out at some stage, but it’s not happening yet.”

Given the downturn in our own resources industry, the national debate is turning to entrepreneurship and innovation and there is no doubt that it is the self-employed and small business sector who will be at the forefront of this happening within the Australian economy as it always has been. Currently, 512,000 workers in WA are employed by a small to medium sized business so it is in all our best interest to support this business sector.

The critical statistic though is that out of 218,152 small businesses in WA a whopping 62% of these are non-employing.  How many of these would employ if the right conditions were there to encourage and support growth in their businesses?  There are some obviously but not too many business owners who start a business to stay small.

What the SME business community needs is for governments state and federal to encourage and support small business, provide the right infrastructure and climate so that we can have confidence in the economy, robust broadband and, most importantly, tax relief for investments. Governments have the capacity to shine a media spotlight on issues and projects but apart from that, they should get out of the way.

It has long been my view that, when it comes to delivering the day to day advice and support for small businesses, it is best delivered by small business, for small business and not by government alone but in conjunction with those that have ‘been there done that’!

SME Businesses need access to cost-effective, innovative business support and that involves the delivery of cost-effective expert advice across a range of issues and delivered in lots of different ways. Businesses not only connecting with their own clients but connecting their clients to each other can create a strong business community which, in turn, benefits all.

The UK government had to respond to this unprecedented record growth in the self-employed with changes to their tax system, funding for start-ups and a whole host of other support mechanisms now available.  Perhaps we could persuade our governments to do likewise?

Entrepreneurship is in our Australian DNA yet our political leaders don’t seem to recognise this and are not responding quickly enough to the issues facing small business today and many times the support they offer is not what businesses need.

Author: Angie Mardon

Engine Room Hub