A new start-up venture between NAB and Telstra will allow small businesses from across Australia to develop and grow through a new online marketplace called Proquo.
The platform will give two million Australian small businesses an online location to network, trade or swap services with each other.
Proquo will begin a pilot phase in June, with a full launch to be underway in July 2016. There will be a 7.5 percent to 10 percent fee charged if a service is sold, but there will be no fees charged for swaps.
The marketplace will be available to anyone with an ABN, but the only services that can be traded are design, marketing, accounting, legal or technology services.
NAB Executive General Manager Micro and Small Business, Leigh O’Neill, said NAB is continually looking at ways to support Australian businesses and to make it easier for them to build their business.
“Small business is the backbone of the Australian economy. Around 97 percent of all Australian businesses are small businesses and they provide a huge economic contribution to Australia’s current and future prosperity,” said O’Neill.
Small businesses will be able source a range of services from other providers, create briefs for the work they need, exchange quotes, manage payments and publish reviews all on the one simple platform.
Proquo plays with the phrase quid pro quo, meaning ‘this for that’, and offers small businesses the chance to swap or exchange their skills or services in addition to traditional monetary payments.
Proquo was developed by NAB’s innovation hub, NAB Labs and Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab. While it is a 50/50 joint venture, it will operate as an independent entity.
“Small business owners tell us they are continually looking for new ways to do business and we think Proquo will provide them with a unique way to network and grow their business,” said O’Neill.
“Strategic partnerships like this one with Telstra, to combine the capabilities of two of Australia’s biggest companies, creates a really innovative business option for the small business community.”
Telstra Group Managing Director Telstra Business, Andy Ellis said Telstra supports more than 1 million businesses across the country with technology solutions so they can focus on running their business; and believes Proquo will offer them a new and innovative way to network and help their business thrive.
“Small businesses often struggle to get off the ground and our research shows that the exchanging of services will be a great advantage to many start-ups.”
“We’re excited and proud to partner with NAB to offer this unique digital platform. This joint venture further highlights our commitment to small business so they can run, develop and grow their business,” said Ellis.