The Morrison Government is future-proofing small businesses as they navigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new online tool to help them go digital and bounce back stronger out the other side.
Digital Coaching International will receive $1.9 million to establish ‘The Enterprising Community’, a non-government organisation that will create a website to drive digital capability among small businesses.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the online forum would offer small businesses advice on the benefits of going digital as they find a ‘new normal’.
“Australia has a very active and innovative small business community, but some businesses tend to put investing in digital technologies on the backburner due to costs and limited resources,” Minister Andrews said.
“This has only been magnified by the COVID-19 crisis. The most resilient businesses throughout this pandemic have been those that have been quick to adapt, using digital tools to change how they do things, what they offer and who they sell to.
“Supporting businesses to digitise their operations has therefore never been more important as small businesses look to readjust their operations and processes in a post-COVID economy.
“Importantly, new technologies, increased access to global markets and global competition are redefining and creating new roles and skills across the economy.”
‘The Enterprising Community’ will partner with the technology sector, industry associations and Small Business Commissioners to deliver up-to-date and consistent digital advice, training and online support forums.
Digital Coaching International Managing Director Liz Ward said the online community is going to make a genuine difference in the ability of businesses to thrive and adapt so they can grow and be sustainable in our new normal COVID business environment.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be the successful recipient of this grant and we have a clear vision on how the grant will empower small businesses to come out of the COVID-19 crisis stronger than before,” Ms Ward said.
Mark Bouris AM, who chaired the Small Business Digital Taskforce, welcomed the establishment of the organisation, saying it will help businesses prepare for their futures.
“There are so many hard working small business owners out there looking to chart their path in the COVID-19 recovery and this support will help make them more competitive and productive,” Mr Bouris said.
“This initiative will play an important role in making businesses more resilient and help them grow, which will in turn allow them to hire more Australians and contribute further to our nation’s economy.”
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) CEO Peter Strong said the creation of ‘The Enterprising Community’ provides support and incentive for industry associations and general communities to focus on the digital capability of members and small business residents.
“One thing we have learned during the crisis is that it is easy to say we need to do something but when reality bites we need all the support we can get,” Mr Strong said.
“Dealing with COVID-19 means using every tool available and we all know the best tools have always been around communications and communications in this day and age is built around the use of digital technology.”
The Empowering Business to Go Digital program is a key outcome of the Small Business Digital Taskforce report.
For more information about ‘The Enterprising Community’ visit www.navii.com.au