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The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has officially opened a consultation period to find out from small businesses and family enterprises what the key issues are when running a business and what solutions are needed to target challenges faced by the SMB community.
Since taking on the role as ASBFEO in March, Ms Carnell has made it a priority to work cooperatively with the small business community rather than taking a more traditionally adjacent approach like similar agencies. The consultation process indicates this shift as small businesses have been lacking a way to voice their opinions and gain traction in initiating strategic policy interventions in the SME landscape.
To connect with businesses during the consultation process Ms Carnell has launched thinkBIGsmallTALK, an online platform, which enables business owners to submit their ideas and communicate feedback.
“The online platform has been specifically created to enable small business owners – who are typically time poor – to submit their ideas in a streamlined and user-friendly format.”
“The interactive website is a dynamic digital forum that allows users to not only put forward their views and opinions, but to rate the ideas of others and offer practical measures that will positively shape the Australian small business and family enterprise landscape,” explained Ms Carnell.
A short Discussion Paper has also been published that contains some information about the kinds of issues the small businesses may be interested in raising with the office and how to use the platform.
In her previous role at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Chief Executive, she was quick to identify the primary challenges facing small businesses including taxation and the need to make changes which identify how SME operate differently than big businesses.
“Challenges may include problems around red tape or possibly payment terms, which is a growing concern for many small businesses, and one I’m looking at the possibility of conducting an inquiry into,” she said.
In the next phase of the project it will be imperative to see how the concerns and thoughts of the small business community are translated into targeted policy for the Government.
Ms Carnell said that once the formal consultation period concludes, the information that has been gathered will then be used to create an ‘advocacy agenda’, which will signal the key areas of focus and act as a framework moving forward.
The consultation period runs until Thursday 30 June 2016.