SME snippets September 10, 2013

All the smaller, and often bizarre and humorous, SME-related stories from Australia and abroad that we’ve come across this week.

All the smaller, and often bizarre and humorous, SME-related stories from Australia and abroad that we’ve come across this week. 

New ABS figures show that Aussie businesses spent $18.3 billion on research and experimental development in 2011-12, with the ABS saying the increase was driven by R&D expenditure across four industries and was an increase of two per cent from the previous year. The major contributors to R&D expenditure were the manufacturing and mining industries, at 24 and 22 per cent, respectively. The financial and insurance services industry, and the professional, scientific and technical services industry each contributed 16 per cent. By state, the largest increase in expenditure on R&D from 2010-11 was reported in Western Australia (up $320 million), followed by South Australia (up $215 million). The largest decreases were reported in Queensland (down $180 million) and Victoria (down $141 million).

Small business supplier Bibby Financial Services believes the change of federal government will strengthen the resolve of many SME business owners to expand and put on new staff. Bibby says the Coalition’s small business policies appeal to SME proprietors – particularly the promises to reduce the corporate tax rate, cut $1 billion of “red tape” each year, and to work with banks and financiers to make their lending policies more small-business friendly. In a recent Bibby survey, SME owners put lower tax, less red tape, and no increase in the GST as the top three items on their wish list for government action. Next came more streamlined import/export regulations and improved access to credit. This is all good news, but you know what they say about politicians and promises…

One in 10 jobseekers in the UK would never consider taking a role at a small business, according to a new report cited in The Telegraph. Despite latest unemployment figures showing that 7.8 per cent of the UK is currently out of work, well above the 7 per cent target rate set by the Bank of England, 10 per cent of jobseekers have stated that they would not consider working for an SME as they believe it could limit their career prospects. Were this data extrapolated out to the rest of the UK, of the current 2.51 million jobless, 251,000 would never consider SMEs as an employment option. That's a scary thought for any Pommy SMEs looking to expand...

The Examiner
reports that insurance premium price hikes are causing small businesses to decide against contents insurance according to social service and business leaders in Tasmania. Price comparison company Canstar found Tasmanian premiums rose an average seven per cent for contents insurance, to $368 last year, and 11 per cent for building insurance. Tasmania Small Business Council chief executive Robert Mallett said cost-cutting measures included cutting insurance, while an Insurance Council of Australia spokesman said floods and bushfires, and the increase of Tasmania's stamp duty to 10 per cent, also had an impact on premiums.

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