A taskforce has been set up to help more small businesses participate and shape Australia's digital economy.
The Small Business Digital Taskforce, headed by founder of Wizard Home Loans and serial entrepreneur, Mark Bouris, will work closely with small businesses to help them adopt digital practices.
Additionally, the taskforce will explore the regulatory or behavioural impediments for businesses when it comes to digitising, and how these obstacles can be addressed.
“If we empower small businesses to digitise and streamline their operations, the economy benefits through an increase in productivity and through job creation. Everyone wins,” said Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison on the initiative.
“Small business is at the heart of the Australian economy – 3.2 million small businesses employ around 50 per cent of Australia’s workforce, or around 5.6 million Australians. But many are not taking advantage of the opportunities that the digital economy offers.”
Also on the taskforce will be: Executive General Manager of Global Institutional Banking at NAB, Spiro Pappas; CEO Strategic Innovation at Suncorp, Pip Marlow; Chairperson of Energy Renaissance, Su McCluskey; Managing Director of BGA Digital, Gerd Schenkel, Federal Member for Banks, David Coleman MP and Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Craig Laundy MP.
The taskforce will host a series of meetings, workshops and hackathons over the coming months, before presenting their findings to the Government on 28 February 2018.
It will also look for examples of small businesses that are using digital technologies to improve relationships with customers, business management and productivity.
Consultation will occur with the relevant Government departments, such as the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, on how the work can inform the development of the Government’s national Digital Economy Strategy.
“We want more small businesses to participate and shape Australia’s digital economy and working with businesses on solutions that will help them is,” said Laundy.
The creation of the taskforce comes as Australian annual online retail sales increased from $14.1 billion in 2013 to $23.06 billion in 2017, with payment cards and PayPal continuing to overtake cash and cheques as the preferred payment method of costumers.
A 2016 Deloitte study also found that Australian small businesses with high levels of digital engagement were one-and-a-half times more likely to be growing revenue and eight times more likely to be creating jobs.
“When a business begins to digitise and use digital tools, it opens up new opportunities to grow, diversify revenue streams, find talent, access finance, work smarter and enhance the value of the business when it is time to sell. If you’re not going digital, you should be,” said Bouris.