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Here to help? Then show us how you're doing it, government told

Business

Queensland’s small businesses have expressed frustration with the state government’s approach to supporting the sector, saying there is little help for them after hours and compliance requirements to get assistance are too onerous.

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Feedback from a much-publicised roadshow by Small Business Minister Di Farmer earlier this year shows a sector confused and poorly informed about the forms of government assistance on offer.

Some 1500 businesses and organisations took part in the roadshow, with consistent messages that emerged from the exercise centring on the difficulty small business has navigating and dealing with government processes and regulatory requirements.

A series of reports on the roadshow recently released by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training highlighted the need for better promotion of assistance to the sector, a clearer focus on mentoring and simpler regulatory requirements.

“In particular, grant and program eligibility criteria and the application processes were highlighted as problem areas,” the department report stated.

“Further, businesses were concerned by the lack of support available outside of business hours and the need for service providers with local knowledge of small business issues.”

“Many businesses reported being unaware of government support for small business and advised that better promotion of these programs and services is needed.”

The department has told participants that the feedback would be used to inform a new “small business strategy” backed by a $140 million investment package the government announced as part of last year’s state budget.

Minister Farmer recently pointed to the success of the government’s targeted procurement policy, which obliges government agencies to spend at least 25 per cent of their procurement budgets with small and medium sized businesses, as an example of effective government help for the sector.

“That money certainly helped keep smaller operators open for business and Queenslanders working,” she said.

“It’s just so important our small businesses get their fair share of government procurement because that drives increased investment and employment right here in Queensland.

The government has also given funding for Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland staff to help businesses navigate its procurement processes.

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