Category Archives: Media Release

World Small Business Day: Canberra business numbers reach a new milestone

On World Small Business Day 2020, Canberra reaches an important milestone. More than 30,000 private sector businesses now operate across the city – an increase of 5% over the past year. The majority of these enterprises are small, but together they employ nearly two-thirds of Canberra’s workforce.

To recognise the importance of small businesses, the United Nations has designated 27 June each year as Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day. The day recognises and celebrates the important contributions small and microbusinesses around the world make to job opportunities and prosperity in local communities. According to the International Council of Small Business, these companies account for 60% to 70% of total employment and 50% of global GDP.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest Counts of Australian Business publication shows that the ACT had 30,050 businesses formally operating within its borders during the last financial year.

This is the largest number of private companies we’ve ever had in the city’s history. In fact, during the 2018-19 financial year, the ACT had the highest rate of new business creation in the country! That’s a great achievement to celebrate on World Small Business Day.

Retail turnover in the ACT increased at almost twice the national rate, growing by 4.7% last year; and residential construction growth helped to support our building industry at a critical time when the sector struggled nationwide.

However, this year’s World Small Business Day will be bittersweet as we take the opportunity to recognise that small businesses around the world have been hit hardest by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented health measures enacted to contain the spread of the virus have resulted in supply chain disruptions and a massive drop in demand.

While we should celebrate the growth of the private sector and ACT economy, our small businesses are facing tough times ahead. The last seven months have been especially difficult as so many were severely affected by bushfires, smoke, hail damage and now COVID-19.

However, we know that small business owners are resilient, and over the past few months we’ve seen them innovate and improvise, against all the odds, to support their people, customers, and communities. This year we need all Canberrans to shop and buy local to help our fellow Territorians in business, as well as seek help for small businesses from the territory and federal governments.

Post-COVID cyber hygiene key for business

cyber security - laptop
cyber security - laptop

Thursday, 11 June 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

Post-COVID cyber hygiene key for business

ACT businesses are gathering today for a virtual workshop on the critical issue of cyber security, delivered in partnership by the Canberra Business Chamber and AustCyber.

The new business landscape, after a large-scale transition to remote working, incorporates new work practices and greater reliance on digital infrastructure. The importance of maintaining business cyber hygiene, especially in terms of up-skilling staff and data management and protection, is greater than ever.

“As businesses grapple with post-COVID realities, the focus is shifting from access to support and survival to mitigating the risks attached to new business models and ways of working,” said Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt.

“So many people moved rapidly to working at home, and also to socialising online, often using the same devices and accessing a number of software platforms without formal training” Mr Catt said. “Small to medium businesses are now actively looking for support so that they can better understand and manage their risks.”

AustCyber CEO, Michelle Price said malicious cyber activity is a complex challenge for Australian business and having good cyber security practices is key to manages the risks – and by being a more trusted organisation, business can underscore future growth opportunities.

“Today’s workshop is a practical way for Canberra business to make a start on improving their cyber security and connect with experts in the field. Having the means to manage cyber risks in your organisation, and ensure your suppliers and partners are not exposing you to unnecessary cyber risk, is critical.

“When you have staff working remotely, or in a hybrid arrangement between the office and home, protecting your organisation and people from cyber attack is more important than ever.”

Featuring local expert presenters from Terra Schwartz, FifthDomain, Ionize and Cybermerc, the workshop will provide crucial information and guide businesses through this accelerated digital transformation, whether they operate locally or internationally.

Using virtual breakout room technology, the workshop will feature three streams to give businesses the tools they need to become cyber secure:

  • Cyber Health 101 – Active discussion on what to do to increase your business cyber resilience with simple practical actions
  • Cyber Skills Uplift – How to recognise cyber threats, maintain cyber resilience and upskill your employees
  • Threat Protection – Defensive and offensive strategies for having a more robust, cyber resilient business

Media Contacts:

  • Graham Catt, CEO, Canberra Business Chamber | E: ceo@canberrabusiness.com | T: 02 6247 4199
  • Tom Finnigan, Media, Public Relations and Engagement Manager, AustCyber | E: tom@austcyber.com | M: 0408 867 367

Media Release: Canberra Business Chamber says more support is needed for ACT business survival

sorry we're closed by still awesome sign
sorry we're closed by still awesome sign

Monday 23 March 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

Canberra Business Chamber says more support is needed for ACT business survival

As “non-essential” businesses across the ACT take steps to shut down, more support will be needed to help businesses survive in the longer term, the Canberra Business Chamber said today.

“New restrictions that shut down “non-essential services” businesses such as clubs, hotels and restaurants will decimate an industry that has been dealing with a severe downturn for months,” said Chamber CEO Graham Catt. “There’s no way to sugar coat this, the business support measures that have been announced, while welcome, won’t go far enough for the tourism and hospitality industry, and the many small businesses that supply them.”

“Furthermore, targeted financial support will be needed,” said Mr. Catt. “Businesses can’t pay staff when there are no customers and no money coming through the door. We welcome Government assistance to help businesses keep their people, but now we have to face the difficult reality that we cannot save every business or every job.”

The Chamber said that, for many businesses, Government support for “mothballing” may be the best way to help survival.

“A local retailer might need to close their doors temporarily and be given support so that they can be reinvigorated when the health crisis is over,” said Mr. Catt. “To recover from this crisis, we’ll need businesses to still exist in some form and scale up quickly to provide the jobs, and goods and services we need”.

Canberra businesses, like the community as a whole, are facing an unprecedented crisis.

“Nearly two thirds of Canberrans in jobs are employed by the private sector,” said Mr. Catt. “Businesses and their people need information, options and flexibility to make the best decisions during this period. And the support measures announced by both the Federal and ACT Governments must flow urgently to help keep as many businesses as possible afloat.”

Media Release: ACT stimulus welcome, but more will be needed says Canberra Business Chamber

man in workshop
man in workshop

Friday, 20 March 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

ACT stimulus welcome, but more will be needed says Canberra Business Chamber

The Canberra Business Chamber has welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement of a $137 million dollar stimulus package for the local economy. It has however warned that more stimulus measures may need to be fast tracked to support businesses and protect jobs.

“The ACT private sector provides almost two thirds of Canberra’s jobs,” said Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt. “Many businesses have been suffering from a severe downturn in trade since last December. Bushfires, smoke pollution and hailstorms have already taken a heavy toll economically and on mental health”.

A meeting of the Chamber’s Kindred members, including ACT industry and community groups, was convened on Wednesday 18 March 2020. “Our industry body and community group members made it clear that the impact of COVID-19 is accelerating rapidly, with new challenges facing their members each day,” said Mr. Catt.

The Chamber welcomed initiatives such as the deferral of payroll tax, rebates on commercial rates and targeted support for sectors such as hospitality, and believes these will offer some much-needed relief. But with business and community confidence at an all-time low, more support may be urgently needed.

“Businesses are telling the Chamber they need immediate financial support to survive, or they’ll have no choice but to lay off staff or even close down,” Mr. Catt said. “The initial stimulus package is welcome and will help the local economy, but the reality is many small businesses have been struggling for months and they are desperately looking for immediate and direct financial assistance”.

Mr. Catt concluded by saying, “We appreciate the steps the ACT Government has taken to engage with the business sector in developing this initial support package. The Chamber and the business community will continue to work with government so we can respond swiftly and as needed over what will be challenging weeks and months ahead”.