After the Small Business Digital Taskforce (SBDT) provided their report to the Government in March 2018, the Government then released their response in December 2018. Two ABSIA Board Members, Karen Lay-Brew and Simon Foster, contributed to this effort.
In their response, they addressed the nine recommendations posed by the SBDT with the Government supporting four of the recommendations and, supporting in principle, the remaining five recommendations.
The Government is committed to supporting small businesses to 'go digital' and referred to research that shows small businesses can save 10 hours per week and boost revenue by 27 per cent when they use digital tools. Many small businesses are not currently realising the full potential of digital technologies and hence why the Government has committed to establishing a non-government organisation (NGO) to build and enhance small business digital awareness and capability.
Through this, the Governemtn will provide seed funding and a grant to the successful applicant to establish the NGO. Applications for the grant opened on February 5 at 9am (AEDT) and close on April 3 at 5pm (AEDT).
The most important point from ABSIA's perspective is the role of the NGO to establish and build relationships with industry associations to improve digital awareness among small businesses and develop specific digital best practice guides. The NGO will rely on, and work closely with industry associations like ABSIA, and small business commissioners to promote case studies to small businesses and to provide sector-specific digital advice to their members.
The recommendation to create video and audio case studies will be supported by the Government through a commitment to their 'Small Business Digital Champions' initiative. This will involve developing case studies about small businesses who have 'gone digital' and will aim to both document and showcase their digital transformation to inspire and help other small businesses 'go digital'.
The Government supported exploring the expansion of the 'Queensland Local Digital Champions' program at a national level as put forward in Recommendation 9. It was stated that the 'Small Business Digital Champions' program has provided a tangible demonstration to the benefits of adopting digital technology to the broader small business community.