Tuesday, 22 January 2019 09:45

Australian Govt launches program for SMEs to get a free digital makeover Featured

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The Australian Government has launched a program for small and family businesses to apply for a digital makeover valued up to $20,000 to help them unlock the potential of technology and strengthen their businesses.

Applications have now opened for businesses to apply, with the Federal Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator Michaelia Cash, announcing that the Small Business Digital Champions project will create “relatable, real-time case studies to inspire and inform small business owners across Australia about how to go digital”.

“The Small Business Digital Champions project is about helping support small businesses learn the skills and build confidence to embrace digital opportunities,” Senator Cash said.

“The evidence shows us that when small businesses are digitally engaged, they are 50% more likely to be growing revenue, eight times more likely to create jobs, seven times more likely to be exporting, and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products or services. The Liberal National Government wants every Australian small business to share in this success.”

Senator Cash said 100 small businesses from across Australia and various sectors would have the opportunity to receive a digital transformation that will include hardware, software and digital skills training to help them thrive in their particular field.

From the 100 businesses, 15 would be selected to become Digital Champions and be paired with a high-profile Australian innovator known for their success in digital innovation, including:

  • Larry Kestelman – founder of Dodo Internet, lead investor in technology start-up incubator Oxygen Ventures, chairman of Frankly Digital Marketing agency and owner of the National Basketball League.
  • Dr Sam Prince – founder of hospitality chain Zambrero, founder of aid organisation One Disease and medical group Next Practice.
  • Michelle Bridges – fitness trainer and founder of the online 12WBT Program.

Senator Cash said many Australian small businesses were lagging behind in their digital uptake for many reasons and the Small Business Digital Champions Project would break down some of those barriers for small businesses.

“Twenty-five percent of small to medium enterprises are sceptical about the value digital tools will bring to their business, while only 41% of microbusinesses even have a website," she said.

“In regional areas, the benefits of going digital can help bridge the distance with their city counterparts, making them more competitive.”

Senator Cash said small businesses across the country would be able to follow the 12-month digital transformation of the Digital Champions, through online, interactive case studies that will provide the small business community with real-life insights into the practicalities and business benefits of adopting digital technology.

Applications for the Small Business Digital Champions close on 4 February. To apply or register interest in being a Digital Mentor or a corporate partner, click here.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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