The month of March is small Business month – a chance for businesses to connect with state body Business NSW through various events and seminars – to raise issues of importance as we move forward out of the pandemic.
By Michael Mekhitarian
The month of March is Small Business Month – a time for us to celebrate and recognise the 800,000 small businesses across the State which employ more than.6 million people and contribute $400 billion each year to the national economy.
Those figures are impressive, but as New South Wales heads into Small Business Month, I think it’s time to make a special mention of the pivotal role that small businesses play within our communities.
Small businesses are often the cornerstone of small communities, particularly in regional New South Wales. These are the businesses that kit out the local sports teams every season, who donate to the School P&C committees, who provide jobs, and pitch in during a crisis. They provide a sense of stability.
And it’s fair to say that while all small businesses have done it tough over the past couple of years, the small businesses in our regional communities have really been through the ringer.
They barely had time to recover from the 2019 summer bushfires, then there was the pandemic, and now there has been severe flooding across a number of areas throughout the state, many of them in regional areas.
The theme or focus for Small Business Month is: Rebuild, Recharge, and Renew. Which is very apt. It’s an opportunity for us to focus on what’s ahead … and to make sure that small businesses in their myriad of shapes and sizes are supported as they move forward – particularly because Australia will be heavily reliant on the small business sector to pull the economy out of the post-covid-19 slowdown.
A significant issue that needs some frank and open discussion between business and the government is insurance.
The cost of premiums continues to rise – making insurance unaffordable for many small businesses.
The increasing frequency and ferocity of natural disasters means that some areas could be deemed completely uninsurable. Unless we get the balance of risks and costs right for business, we will do significant damage to the economy at a critical time.
It’s also important to understand that given the numerous significant and relentless pressures of the past couple of years, many business owners have been, and still are, under stress. Mental health and overall wellbeing is also something that requires some open discussion and support.
Throughout the month of March, Business NSW (formerly NSW Business Chamber) will be facilitating a number of workshops and events under the Small Business Month banner, bringing people together to share ideas, lessons and opportunities that have arisen through the challenges of the pandemic and other crises, and it’s an opportunity for small businesses to be heard, so it’s important to participate if you can. Sharing personal stories, ideas and innovations is important right now as we work towards solutions.
Don’t forget that financial assistance is available – you can apply now, until March 31 through Services NSW. There are also disaster payments available to those areas that have been affected by floods.