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Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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Why we need to celebrate the importance of Queensland Small Businesses

Today marks the start of the 2017 Queensland Small Business Week celebrating the importance of the Sunshine State’s small business community.   This is a great initiative that was first started by LNP Small Business Minister Jann Stuckey and continues under the guidance of Queensland Labor Minister Leeanne Enoch.  It is fantastic that small business has bipartisan support.

Quite simply small business is the backbone of the Queensland economy, playing a vital role in driving jobs and opportunity in our communities.

Too often Governments can make the mistake of engaging with only the big end of town.  This is almost understandable as meeting with Corporate Queensland offers Ministers a high return on their limited time and it is extremely difficult to engage with small businesses collectively to achieve scale.  However the importance of small business to our State economy should not be underestimated. 

  • Queensland has a small business population of 414,680 businesses representing over 97 per cent of businesses State-wide.
  • Small businesses contribute approximately $100 billion to Queensland’s Gross State Product.
  • They operate in all industry sectors and across the length and breadth of our proud State.

Perhaps even more importantly they are the heart of each suburb and town and directly determine the vibrancy of their surrounding community.  They do this by providing a job to nearly one million Queenslanders across the entire State. They influence an employee’s capacity to have a family and leave a legacy to last generations.

Many small businesses are family owned and run and often operate with a small number of staff with personable relationships with their employees. The nature of small business means that many do not have access to the same level of resources as larger companies.  Accordingly the owner is often responsible for doing the work, balancing the books, managing staff and meeting all the regulatory obligations which leads them to be extremely time poor working very long hours each week.  They are likely to have completed secondary school or trade qualification but often have not undertaken formal management training and tend not to use a business plan.  Yet there is an incredible knowledge and skill tied up in running small businesses. There is an enormous amount of expertise and specialist knowledge that thrives in this sector, the value of which is often underestimated. 

Despite all of their wonderful attributes small businesses in Queensland have been doing it tough.  Queensland business survival and exit rates are the worst of any State in Australia.

The State Government has a vital role in supporting small business although owners will tell you in no uncertain terms that they predominantly see the responsibility of State Government as getting out of their way.  They want Government to focus on creating an environment which is conducive to their economic growth in the areas of tax competitiveness, affordable energy costs, less red tape and world class infrastructure.

Queensland needs to have a business operating environment that is the absolute standout to do business in. The reality is that if the general business environment is right, the marketplace will determine their success and how our economy evolves.  This is the core and most important role for the Queensland Government.  

I love Queensland’s Small Business Week that is coordinated and run by the Department of Tourism, Events and Small Business. This week highlights the crucial contribution that small business makes and provides tools and knowledge to small business to help them to grow and employ.

Queenslanders due to their proud nature have a desire to support small businesses and rightly so as in many instances their products and services are world class.  Small business is an untapped opportunity for jobs growth in the Sunshine State and well done to all those who will help make this week an undoubted success.

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