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Small business has big impact on the economy

WA small businesses have a big impact on our state economy.

New research commissioned by the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) shows that small business contributed $50.1 billion to the state economy in 2017-18, based on the latest statistics available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This is nearly a quarter (24.7 per cent) of the total private sector economic activity for WA. Significantly, the contribution from small business is greater than medium sized businesses which generate 20.6 per cent of total private sector economic activity.

Small businesses are also job creators. The approximately 224,000 small enterprises in WA employ around 493,000 people, around 41 per cent of the private sector workforce. In fact, small businesses employ more Western Australians than the agricultural, retail and mining industries and the WA government combined.

It could be said that small businesses are making a bigger difference to the economy than any other sector. Our research determined that a 14 per cent growth in the number of small businesses in WA between 2012-13 and 2017-18 was responsible for 75 per cent of the growth in the state economy over that time.

Government recognises small business importance

The impact of smaller enterprises has not gone unnoticed, with all levels of government starting to adopt small business-friendly policies.

At a local government level, 39 local government authorities around the state have now signed up to our Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative, showing their commitment to supporting small businesses in their local areas to start, grow and thrive.

We offer a range of help and support including advisory services, skills development workshops, commercial leasing advice and a dispute resolution service to help small businesses deal with challenges and take advantage of opportunities in a dynamic business environment. Legislation is also pending to give our Small Business Commissioner greater authority to act against unjust treatment of small businesses including late payments or unfair payment and contract terms.

Nationally, the instant asset write-off threshold has been increased to $30,000 and the initiative extended to June 2020. This applies to small businesses with an annual turnover under $10 million. Last year the Australian Government announced it will invest $2 billion (through the Australian Business Securitisation Fund) to support the provision of finance to small and medium enterprises on more competitive terms.

It’s clear that small businesses are not only important for their local communities, but are having a big impact at state and national levels.

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