New government manufacturing report on SMEs

Small businesses will rejoice at the fact that the Federal Government's newly-released manufacturing taskforce report recommends a number of initiatives specifically geared towards small to medium sized enterprises.

The report, Smarter Manufacturing for a Smarter Australia, provides a recommendation to upgrade the government's Enterprise Connect, a free service to help businesses expand and innovate. The taskforce proposes giving the service more funding and independence to act as a 'one front door' for SME support, with a series of partnership agreements with other agencies such as Austrade and Commercialisation Australia.

It should also be easier for SMEs to access knowledge, and this can be addressed through the distribution of 'Innovation Vouchers', states the report. These vouchers would encourage suppliers and knowledge providers to connect with businesses to raise their productive and innovative capacity, by introducing new technologies, products or processes.

The report also proposes creating a SME-focused procurement initiative at the federal and state level, to help businesses become more innovative; as well as other initiatives to gain more funding for businesses (such as the adoption of a Canadian-style loan guarantee).

The report can be found here.

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