ASBAS to allocate $18m to get small business online
Over $18 million in grants have been allocated to small businesses as part of the government’s redesigned Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) program.
According to Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack, the ASBAS program will allocate $18.02 million in grants over three years to deliver low cost, high quality, digital advisory services to Australian small businesses in metropolitan and regional areas.
Advisory services will include assessments of small businesses’ needs, tailored digital engagement plans, and support in relation to one or more of the priority digital capabilities including websites and selling online, social media and digital marketing, using small business software, and online security and data privacy.
“Australian small businesses are looking for opportunities to grow their domestic and international customer base, but are often confronted by hesitation or doubt when it comes to getting online,” Mr McCormack said.
“The ASBAS program has been overhauled to focus on helping small businesses to get online and reach out to new markets for their goods and services.
“By having digital skills and access to expert advice, small businesses can take advantage of the endless opportunities the digital economy provides here in Australia as well as internationally.”
The ASBAS funding round will begin from 2 July 2018 to 30 June 2021, with $6.09 million allocated for NSW and the ACT; $5.68 million for QLD, the NT and WA; and $6.25 million for SA, VIC and TAS.
Small businesses will have to qualify under the eligibility criteria before being selected through a competitive merit test. Applications open from 23 January 2018 and close on 6 March 2018.
Mr McCormack said there were proven benefits for small businesses which adopt digital technologies and missed opportunities for those not engaging with the digital economy.
“Deloitte research shows small businesses which reach advanced levels of digital engagement are one-and-a-half times more likely to be growing revenue and eight times more likely to be creating jobs compared to those which have basic digital engagement,” Mr McCormack said.
“On the other hand, Commonwealth Bank research shows up to 80 per cent of small and medium businesses are delaying the adoption of digital technologies which could provide long-term benefits to their business.”