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


24 June 2020

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

On World Small Business Day 2020 Canberra has reached an important achievement. 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 jobs, opportunities and prosperity in local communities. According to the International Council of Small Business, these companies account for 60 to 70 per cent of total employment and 50 per cent 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,” Canberra Business Chamber CEO, Graham Catt, said today.

“In fact, during the 2018-19 financial year, the ACT had one of the highest rates of new business creation in the country”, said Mr Catt. “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.

This year, World Small Business Day is an opportunity to recognise that small businesses around the world have been hit hardest by the economic fall-out of the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented measures enacted to contain the spread of the virus have resulted in supply chain disruptions and a massive drop in demand.

“This year’s World Small Business Day will be bitter sweet.” said Mr Catt “While we should celebrate the growth of the private sector and the 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.”

“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 our businesses need Canberrans to buy local. We are all connected, and every local purchase helps to support a business, their suppliers and the people they employ.”