All small business owners should make a diary note for 27 June 2018 - the date of the next World Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises day.
Why? Because it should be a great marketing opportunity for the 2,116,708 small businesses across Australia to collectively be recognised as Australia's economic backbone, encouraging other entrepreneurs to follow their example.
It should encourage them to engage with their local communities in an 'open day' style celebration of their diversity, personal journeys, fulfilment and creation of opportunity for others.
Instead, the inaugural celebration proved a fizzer! No one really knew about it, least of all the local businesses that employ some 4.7 million people - or 44 per cent of the total population.
In Western Sydney alone there are 129,900 businesses -- 60.1% sole traders (78,000); micro businesses (1-4 employees) 28.2% or 36,700 enterprises; small businesses (4-19 employees) 8.7% or 11,300 enterprises and other (medium-large 20 employees +) 3,900 establishments or 3%.*
It is the third largest economic region in Australia behind Sydney and Melbourne producing 38% of the overall Sydney GRP annually* -- and driven by SMEs.
The idea of recognising businesses came from the United Nations General Assembly who, in April 2017, set 27 June as the global day for the celebration of these enterprises in its belief that small businesses have the power to literally transform nations.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, issued a statement on 26 June welcomed the recognition saying that 95 per cent of enterprises in the world are micro, small and medium-sized and account for about 60 per cent of international private sector employment.
She said that in Australia, small businesses employ almost half of all workers and create a substantial proportion of new jobs.
“Small business contribution to the Australian economy is higher than the OECD average,” she said.
“According to the OECD, small businesses account for 44 per cent of employment in Australia and we rank eighth out of 32 OECD countries on this measure.
“The number of small businesses which are exporting continues to increase.
“The tax contribution of small and medium enterprises is also significant and growing faster than big business.”
Ms Carnell urged everyone to reflect on the importance of small business and make a gesture to show their support for the sector. “If you’re buying goods or services on Tuesday, June 27, think about small business and if you can support one with your purchase, please do,” she said.
“Just about everybody knows somebody in small business. A word of thanks or acknowledgement to your local hairdresser, coffee shop or pharmacist would be warmly welcomed.”
In Melbourne, Victorian Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis, said the success of Australian SMEs came down as much to people thinking about how they spend their cash, as it does from governments creating policies that reduce red tape.
“Each and every one of you should go to three small businesses today and spend a minimum of $10 dollars,” he said. “And you should go and speak to at least three other people to do the same.”
The Victorian Small Business Commission used the day to launch its three-year strategy for small business , with the state’s Small Business Commissioner Judy O’Connell speaking about the importance of her organisation moving beyond dispute resolution towards deeper engagement with small businesses in the region. By 2020, the Commission is aiming to step into a leadership role when advocating for small businesses in the state on national issues.
Ms Carnell said she hopes the international day will become more widely recognised.
“It’s the first year, and I sincerely hope that governments, business organisations and communities will get behind it,” she said.
Local Area Marketing is encouraging local chambers of commerce, local and state governments, employer groups, associations and other professional bodies to support their local business and to spread the word in their communities so that 27 June 2018 marks the launch of an annual celebration of micro, small and medium-sized enterprise throughout Australia's local communities.
SMALL BUSINESS STATS AT A GLANCE:
2,116,708 Australian small businesses at June 2016**
Employs more than 4.7 million people (44 per cent of total employment at June 2016)
Accounts for 35 per cent of Australia’s industry contribution to economic activity (as at 2015–16)
In 2013-14 there were 19,965 small business exporters, representing 44% of all business exporters, up from 38% in 2008-09
In 2012-13, small and medium enterprises accounted for 35% of company tax revenue, up from 32% in 2010-11.
*Research released in late 2015 by National accounting and advisory firm William Buck, in partnership with the University of Western Sydney, St. George Bank and the Western Sydney Business Connection.
**(based on ABS definition of 0-19 employees).