The SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Approvals Program has been awarded for its partnership approach at the recent Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) WA Awards, taking out the silver category for Best Practice in Collaboration Across Government Agencies.

The IPAA WA Achievement Awards recognise individual and organisational excellence in the public service. The awards ceremony was held at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday 7 December 2023 and was presided over by the Governor of Western Australia and IPAA WA Patron, His Excellency the Honourable Christopher John Dawson APM. A total of 21 award categories, 11 for individuals and 10 for organisations, were presented.

The Approvals Program

The SBDC's Small Business Friendly Approvals Program was initiated to streamline the process of obtaining business licences and approvals from local government authorities. It was funded by the WA Government under the Streamline WA initiative to accelerate regulatory reform to support economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $2.2 million Program built on a successful pilot undertaken with the Cities of Canning and Stirling in 2019. Launched in January 2021 and concluded in April 2023, the innovative project enabled the SBDC to partner with 20 local government authorities to identify reforms that would help small businesses start, relocate and grow in their local communities.

Delivered by a panel of expert facilitators in conjunction with specialist SBDC staff, the Program was offered by progressive LGA partners as an important professional development opportunity for their staff in design thinking and human-centred design principles. Each individual partnership required a bespoke design and unique set of support measurements to meet the evolving pandemic situation and capabilities of each partner LGA.

Catalyst for collaboration

In acknowledging the award, SBDC Board Chair Grant Cucel said that the program was one of the most rewarding and effective that he had been involved in during his time with the SBDC.

“I was actively involved in this program at the City of Karratha,” Mr Cucel said.

“Having worked in a regional local government setting, I understood the huge potential impact this collaboration between the SBDC and local government authorities could have for the business community.”

“I hope it is a catalyst for further collaboration across government agencies that will benefit small businesses in the state”.

The collaborative approach that was recognised by the IPAA has resulted in:

  • 213 local government staff participating in human-centred design workshop sessions.
  • 499 reforms identified by participating local governments, with 78 per cent started or completed.
  • A projected economic benefit of approximately $73.8 million in participating LGAs, over the next ten years, representing a nearly nine-fold return on investment.

Small Business Commissioner and CEO of the SBDC, David Eaton PSM, said: “Local government authorities have long been an important collaborator and stakeholder when it comes to the small business community.”

“While we have worked closely with the local government sector since 2016 through our Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative, the Approvals Program allowed us to work more intensively together to develop a shared understanding of how we can all work to make the regulatory environment more accessible and welcoming for new and evolving businesses.”

“I would like to thank the IPAA for its recognition of the program, our partnering LGAs for their enthusiastic participation, and our staff and specialist consultants for their passion and hard work on this important program.”

Read more

For more information on the Awards and the Program visit:

SBDC news
Small business friendly
14 December 2023