Small Businesses in Canberra 2011

I would like to use this opportunity to talk about the recent forum I organised and moderated for Canberrans looking to start a small business. As someone who has gone through the difficult, risky, frustrating but deeply rewarding process of starting a small business, I wanted to use my connections and knowledge to help Canberrans to start out on their own. I wanted to do this for two reasons. First, small business provides a means to diversify the Canberra economy and capitalise on all the wonderful talent we have in this city. Second, small business provides a means for giving people opportunities to enter the workforce or employment that is more fitting to their lifestyle. Here I am talking about young mums who have babies at home who want a more flexible and possibly part-time working environment, and small business provides them with that flexibility. I was particularly interested in encouraging women to start their own small business. I know they often have some great ideas and it is just a case of knowing what to do.

To keep the event exclusive and to give people value from this free event, I wanted to keep the numbers relatively small so that people got value through one-on-one contact. I was expecting about 25 people to sign up and actually got double that. All in all, 38 people attended my first business seminar, a number that exceeded my expectations and the actual bookings, to listen to presentations on the processes of how to start a small business and the kinds of things that need to be considered when starting a business. Participants also learnt about various services, networking opportunities and programs run by various groups, both government and nongovernment, that are aimed at assisting small business. They were also provided with information on the many support packages that have been made available to small business under the Gillard government and details of what we are doing for small business in terms of taxation arrangements and assistance to streamline the process of setting up a small business.

I would particularly like to highlight the award winning website, which provides services and information about start-up, taxation, licensing and legislation, as well as transactions on ABN Lookup, compliance and licence applications.

It is continually being refined and is constantly responsive to the needs of business. I would also like to highlight Enterprise Connect, which also gives Australian businesses tools, skills and knowledge to improve their competitiveness and productivity in order to maximise their growth potential. Finally, I would like to mention the actions this government is taking on behalf of small business in the budget, particularly the $5,000 tax deduction for motor vehicles and also the reduction of PAYG instalments for small business.

My forum was a success and I look forward to holding more in the future.

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