Vodafone is the latest telco to target small business sector

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Vodafone is expanding its mobile app offerings aimed squarely at Australian small businesses, unveiling a new range of flexible plans and an expanded portfolio of Ready Business Apps, featuring a selection of the world’s best mobile business tools.

Dropbox Business, Xero, MozyPro, Norton Small Business and Office 365 now feature on Vodafone’s Ready Business apps platform, while Google Apps for Work and GoDaddy will launch in mid-June.

Vodafone selected its range of Ready Business Apps following a comprehensive review of the core communication requirements and needs of Australian small businesses, says Vodafone Executive General Manager for Enterprise Business Stuart Kelly.

“We found through our research that mobility and office enablement were common needs across numerous industries and business sizes, so we have designed our Ready Business Apps range to ensure that whether you’re a graphic designer, a plumber, a retailer or real estate agency, your business has the tools it needs to help grow and run more smoothly, all at the touch of a button,” said Kelly.

Vodafone says that the new range of Ready Business Apps have been handpicked to help businesses save time, engage better with their employees and customers and deliver better operational agility.

Kelly said that while business mobility is now mainstream, enabling teams of different sizes and job functions to work efficiently and effectively across various devices remains a huge challenge for businesses today.

“Many companies see the value in truly mobilising their workforces, yet many are faced with the difficulty of making information accessible to employees across different teams, functions, and devices,” said Kelly.

“We recognise that businesses need a simple way to capitalise on mobile technology and manage these solutions securely and quickly, and this is where we believe Vodafone can help.”

Tara Commerford, Country Manager, GoDaddy Australia & New Zealand, added, “We are delighted to partner with Vodafone to help Australian SMBs recognise the benefits of an online presence.”

The small business sector is attracting greater attention from the big three telcos. Optus is refocusing its retail presence on small business, creating a network of centres and a small business Olympic campaign led by Ian Thorpe.

Meanwhile, last week, a new start-up venture between NAB and Telstra was launched to 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.