BEC Australia: We want Bruce Billson to overstay his welcome

September 18, 2013

As Bruce Billson begins his role as Australia’s sixth Small Business Minister in 15 months, Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman, Jack Hughes, says the greatest wish among small business owners is that the Minister will stay in the job a long time.

“As Australia’s peak body for small business advice, I can say with confidence that what the small business sector is craving is stability in Canberra so that owners, managers and staff can plan with certainty,” says Mr Hughes.

“I think many in the sector would relish the ‘problem’ of the Minister becoming part of the furniture.

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Queensland Rescue ‘A Team’ On Standby For Small Business

March 1, 2013

In the wake of ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald, Australia’s peak body for small business advice says its members are ready to support a Federal Government initiative to help affected small businesses in Queensland get back on their feet quickly, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Small Business Chris Bowen have announced a new $2 million Queensland Natural Disaster Assistance program to help small businesses impacted by recent natural disasters to access expert advice and assistance so they can recover and grow.

“In a critical restoration mission like this, local, well-seasoned advice is crucial in helping small businesses find their footing and play their important roles in towns and suburbs,” says Mr Hughes.

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Federal funding shows small business is key to Australia’s big picture

November 21, 2012

Australia’s peak body for small business advice says the Gillard Government’s decision to renew funding of the Small Business Advisory Services program shows it understands how vital small business is to the nation’s future, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

The Small Business Advisory Service has provided advice and assistance to more than 207,000 small businesses around the country since it began in 2008, with Business Enterprise Centres at the forefront of service delivery thanks to a network of experience business advisors who understand small business at grass roots level.

“This decision to inject $12 million in funding over the next two years when external factors are placing great stress on the Australian budget, should send a strong signal to the small business sector that the government understands it is worthy of support for its significant role in our economy,” said Mr Hughes.

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Appointment of Mark Brennan sends strong signals of support to Small Business in Australia

October 19, 2012

Australia’s peak body for small business has welcomed the appointment of Mark Brennan as the inaugural Federal Small Business Commissioner and believes the decision will boost confidence in the small business sector, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

“Federal small business minister Brendan O’Connor has made another good decision in choosing Mr Brennan because he is a balanced and experienced candidate, with a proven track record of dealing with and understanding small business issues,” says Jack Hughes.

“The process of establishing this new role will involve navigating uncharted waters and we have every confidence that with Mr Brennan at the helm, the journey towards a fully functioning Office of the Small Business Commissioner will live up to expectations.

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BECs in NSW going deeper for better small business outcomes

September 5, 2012

Australia’s peak body for small business has welcomed the selection of so many Business Enterprise Centres as Advisors under the newly relaunched Small Biz Connect program in New South Wales, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

Small Biz Connect is a practical program that links small business owners in NSW with local business advisors, to help them plan for their business’ success.

“The NSW Government funds Small Biz Connect and we’re heartened to see it increase its stake further after Federal Government funding for such programs was reduced in 2012,” said Mr Hughes.

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Federal Budget 2012: Swan and O’Connor Maintain Faith with Small Business Advisory Services

May 9, 2012

Australia’s peak body for small business says a modest cut to funding for the Small Business Advisory Service (SBAS) in the 2012 Federal Budget should be seen as a diligent and measured decision when viewed in the context of global economic conditions and pressure to make savings on the road to surplus, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and Small Business Minister, Brendan O’Connor, have decided to extend the SBAS for another four years, just weeks before it was to end on June 30.

“Everyone who understands small business knows the SBAS is a lifeline, particularly to new businesses, in providing free advice to help small business people make sound decisions as they navigate the challenges of the marketplace and labour market,” said Mr Hughes.

“It is clear the Gillard Government has made a tough decision in the national interest, by ensuring BECs can continue nurturing the small business sector through the SBAS, such a crucial act for ensuring any new recoveries do not stall.

“Admittedly, it will be painful bearing a cut in funding from $40 million over four years down to $27.5 million, but to be frank, with all the pressures on the budget there was a real likelihood of getting zero,” said Mr Hughes.

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Rising to the Challenge: Small Business Ideas for Minister O’Connor

April 1, 2012

Australia’s peak body for small business will be submitting new ideas for the sector directly to government, after an open invitation was made by Australia’s first Small Business Minister with a seat in Cabinet, Brendan O’Connor, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

Small Business Minister, Brendan O’Connor, has thrown down the gauntlet to critics who have bemoaned the fact he has never run a small business himself, by saying his door is open and he is ready to listen to arguments and suggestions from small business for new ideas and better ways for government to support the sector.

“BEC Australia is greatly encouraged by Minister O’Connor’s frankness and approach to his portfolio,” said Mr Hughes.

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NSW Government Sends Profound Message of Hope to Small Business

February 23, 2012

Australia’s peak body for small business advice congratulates the NSW Government’s decision to expand funding of Small Business support services, especially because the new Small Biz Connect program will be focussed at “grass roots level”, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner, and Minister for Small Business, Katrina Hodgkinson, announced $5 million funding for the program today and called for Expressions of Interest from service providers such as Business Enterprise Centres.

“BEC Australia finds it profoundly encouraging that Minister Hodgkinson made particular reference to research that showed small business owners prefer advice delivery to take place face-to-face,” said Mr Hughes.

“This is a crucial insight because it shows that Small Biz Connect is a program set up to succeed from the outset.

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New Small Business Minister Knows the Ropes

December 16, 2011

Australia’s peak body for small business advice welcomes the decision to appoint Senator Mark Arbib to the role of Australia’s Small Business Minister given his experience with the sector during his time as Minister for Employment Participation during which he played a significant role in ensuring the continuation of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), according to Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.

Funded by the Federal Government, NEIS has helped more than 100,000 people in Australia set up viable businesses.

“A lot of our Business Enterprise Centres around Australia deliver NEIS and when its future was under review it was extremely pleasing to see Senator Arbib recognize the value of the program and ensure it remained a high priority for the Gillard Government,” said Mr Hughes. Read the rest of this entry »

Sun is Rising in the West for Small Business

May 30, 2011

Australia’s peak body for small business advice says the decision by the West Australian government to boost funding for its Small Business Centres with a $500,000 increase in this year’s budget, shows leadership worthy of the national stage, according to Business Enterprise Centres Australia chairman, Jack Hughes.

“Western Australia is currently the envy of many other states over its resources boom, but a string of decisions by Premier Barnett show WA is strengthening its economic foundations for the future by creating a new dawn of hope for its small businesses,” says Mr Hughes.

“The decision to appoint Simon O’Brien as a dedicated Small Business minister and now this extra funding to support the state’s 25 Small Business Centres puts WA in its own league when it comes to finetuning the economic engine room which is the small business sectors. Read the rest of this entry »


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