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This is what we need to do to foster an entrepreneurial culture in Australia


There is greater scope to foster an entrepreneurial culture in Australia and to arm our current and next generations of entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and confidence needed to translate their creativity and innovation into market based solutions.

Early exposure to the benefits of starting a business in schools will help to overcome fear of risk taking and enable our young Australians to view entrepreneurship as a genuine pathway to economic independence.

There is also greater scope to celebrate those who have taken the risk of starting a business, applying outside the box thinking to deliver products and solutions to meet the constantly changing needs of the market and society, and to promote them as role models for entrepreneurs of the future.

Digital is here to stay, we should get comfortable

The digital economy presents opportunities to connect with domestic and global markets in a way that has not been possible in the past and embracing technology must become part of our way of being.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recently partnered with Google on a small business roadshow designed to highlight the advantages of building a strong online presence and the most effective tools to do so.

Digital automation and hosted IT services offer significant opportunities to streamline business operations and improve productivity.

The emergence of digital technology creates challenges and is placing pressure on policy settings that were built for an economic landscape and a time bygone.

But opportunities often come wrapped in challenges

However with this challenge comes opportunities and we must adapt to take full advantage of them.

Productive work is becoming less concerned with fixed hours and fixed work locations. Work is not confined to single jurisdictions and time zones and technology is continuing to change how consumers engage with business and their expectations about service.

The social dynamic is trending toward a desire for, greater flexibility, convenience and choice. Our changing work systems have enabled work options that allow people to balance their personal and work priorities in ways that were not possible when work was a thing that took place within four walls and within the 9am-5pm Monday to Friday paradigm.

Servcorp’s What’s Holding You Back? study found the main reasons entrepreneurs are starting their own business today is the desire for a better work-life balance (43 per cent) and also because they are increasingly becoming dissatisfied with the corporate culture (22 per cent).

Our entrepreneurs need to be well supported

We must also look for new ways to connect those with the good ideas with those prepared to invest the capital to develop them.

The emergence of new platforms designed to facilitate collaboration and connections offer another means for business to access the ideas and resources they need.

Later this year IP Australia is also set to launch Source IP, a digital marketplace for sharing information, indicating licensing preferences and facilitating contact for IP generated by the public research.

Structural changes in our sources of economic activity mean that as a society we need to adapt and encouraging small business investment is a priority that has the attention of Government and policy makers. This was the intention of the Australian Chamber’s Small Business Too Big Too Ignore campaign.

The small business measures arising from the Federal budget and record low interest rates will assist in creating conditions to enhance business confidence however further reform of our policy settings is required to better design our systems for the needs of small business and to further reduce red tape, progress reform of competition laws, simplify the tax system, adapt our workplace relations system for the modern economy and deliver enabling infrastructure.

We must direct our efforts to driving cultural change so that as society we embrace and pursue entrepreneurship as a genuine pathway to economic independence.

Alana Matheson is the Deputy Director Workplace Relations for Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.