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Wednesday, 31 March 2021 10:46

SMBs’ resilient, optimistic 12 months on from lockdown restrictions, research reveals

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Twelve months on from the first lockdown restrictions across Australia, local SMBs are feeling resilient and optimistic, according to new research from Amazon Launchpad - Amazon’s program aimed at helping Aussie startups and entrepreneurs bring innovative products to shoppers.

According to the research commissioned by Amazon Australia, 89% of SMBs are feeling more resilient in running their businesses, 92% feel optimistic for the year ahead and 78% of SMBs will use e-commerce and digital tools to allow them to work from anywhere.

The 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report explores the current sentiment amongst Australian SMB owners, how they have evolved their businesses over the past twelve months, and a look towards the year ahead.

Amazon Launchpad has also announced that applications are open for its 2021 Innovation Grants initiative.

Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad at Amazon Australia,said,“Lockdown restrictions have fast tracked the digitalisation of Australian businesses with over three quarters of SMBs sayinge-commerce anddigital tools haveallowed them to run their business from anywhere.”

“Amazon Launchpad is a unique program that helps start-ups and entrepreneurs reach their online potential, whether they live in Broken Hill, Tassie, or Far North Queensland. We hope that this year’s Innovation Grants will nurture the ingenuity that Aussie entrepreneursare famous forand help the winners grow their businesses throughe-commerce,” said Ciccarelli.

”This year’s five Innovation grant packages are worth more than $200,000 each and include: a $20,000 cash grant, Amazon advertising support, an exclusive boot camp experience with access to Amazon experts, a national advertising package with JCDecaux Nurture, industry mentorship, and onsite marketing placements on Amazon.com.au.”

In a twist to this year’s initiative, Amazon Launchpad says it will give ten finalists the opportunity to virtually pitch their entry direct into Amazon Australia HQ,to a panel of judges.

This year’s judges are Chadd Ciccarelli from Amazon Launchpad, last year’s grant recipients Rosa-Clare Willis and Andrew Ford from Crockd; Carolyn Creswell, founder of muesli brand Carman’s;and managing partner, Kylie Frazer, of tech investment group, Eleanor Ventures.

2020 Amazon Launchpad grant winner and 2021 judge, Rosa-Clare Willis of DIY Pottery Kit brand, Crockd said, “Not only did Amazon Launchpad open our eyes to Amazon as a marketing and distribution channel, but the program provided the support we needed during 2020.

“The mentorship we’ve received has been incredible, and we’re seeing our business grow on Amazon.com.au.

“You’ve got to be in it to win it, and to any small business out there, whose wondering whether they should apply for a grant, I say, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!”

Other key 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation report findings include:

The e-commerce opportunity: more thana third (39%) of SMBs said their customers are more open to buying online now than 12 months ago,four in ten (41%) have seen an increase in online enquiries about their business over the past 12 months,andone in six(15%) of SMBs madea sale online for the first time ever in the past year.

It’s all about innovation: to help navigate the uncertainty of the past twelve months, almost a third (30%) of SMBs said they invested in product or business innovation to reach new customers, and 82 per cent said they will lean into innovation to grow their business over the next 12 months.

Top areas businesses are innovating in this year:growing their digital presence (42%), taking theirbusiness into new markets (39%) and revising product offering (33%).

Digital tools empower businesses for growth: four-fifths (81%) of SMBs will use digital tools to network over the next 12 monthsand more thantwo thirds (69%) will use online channels to seek investment in their business.

What Aussie SMBs need most in 2021: businesses have rated access to new customers (47%) and support with marketing, advertising and social media activity (34%) over financial support (31%). Additionally almost a third (30%) said they need help with future growth planning and innovation.

The Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants entry period is now open and runs to 11.59pm AEST, 10 May on www.Amazon.com.au/Launchpad, with the five Amazon Launchpad grant recipients from across Australia to be publicly announced in June 2021.


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