SME snippets August 6, 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.

The Telegraph reports that local government secretary Eric Pickles has proposed a novel way to help SME retailers in the UK boost their sales. In the UK motorists are banned from parking or waiting in their vehicle on roadside areas designated with double yellow lines. But Pickles is proposing a 15-minute grace period for shoppers to park on “double yellows” to boost business in Britain's struggling high streets in the hope that this 14-minute window will help shops increase sales. The move stems from the idea that, “if consumers are worried about paying a fortune in fines, they’ll be more likely to shop online or go to out-of-town shopping centres”. Should we take a leaf out of the Poms’ book? There's not much more frustrating than pesky parking tickets.

Katie Hopkins, a UK business consultant and social commentator whose main claim to fame was an appearance on the UK version of The Apprentice, claims that overgenerous maternity benefit is crippling UK SMEs and should be slashed to six weeks unpaid leave, as is currently the case in the US. Hopkins says the UK government must take urgent action to reduce the burden of maternity leave on SMEs: “Maternity leave was designed for large corporate firms; it can have a devastating impact on an SME. If you only employ three or four people and one of them goes on maternity leave, it can cripple your business. If someone wants to have a baby, then good for them, but it is their baby and their decision. The employer was not consulted in the making of that baby so I am not quite sure how the employer has ended up being responsible for paying for it.” How’s that for opening a can of worms… .

SMEs in the Asia Pacific are leading the world in terms of generating revenues outside their home countries, says CFO World, after a survey of 2,100 executives from SMEs in 21 countries shows Asia Pacific SMEs being better equipped to compete with larger firms and enjoy some competitive advantage over them. Interestingly, the survey found that only 12 per cent of SMEs in the Asia Pacific region earn their revenue exclusively within the borders of the country they’re based in, and this percentage is expected to go down as low as four percent in the next three years. Read the full piece here.

According to credit data released last week by the Reserve Bank of Australia, business credit grew by 0.5 over June, after rising 0.2 per cent in May. That compares to housing credit, which grew by 0.4 per cent in June following a 0.4 per cent rise in May. In the 12 months to June, business credit only rose by a more modest 0.9 per cent.

The Australian Made Campaign, the not-for-profit organisation that administers the iconic green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo, has appointed Nicki Anderson as the new Director on its board. Anderson’s previous roles include Marketing Director for Kraft Foods, Marketing & Innovation Director for SPC Ardmona & McCain Foods and General Manager Beverage Marketing for Cadbury Schweppes Australia.

Macau Business Daily says a survey by the Macau Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Association has found that the involvement of international gaming operators and other foreign firms in the Macau economy is a mixed blessing for SMEs in the area. The news website says that while the inward investment of billions of dollars in new casino resorts has helped stimulate massive growth in gaming, tourism and supporting services, thereby providing new opportunities for SMEs, it’s also pushed up overheads and depressed hiring opportunities for those firms.

Dell has announced Altech Computers will become the first Australian distributor to sell Dell PowerEdge servers, giving small business customers more choice in the procurement and implementation of their IT solutions.

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