New digital platform helps SMEs to network

Big businesses are stepping in to help their smaller counterparts connect with one another through the launch of a new digital platform. 

Proquo, the digital marketing platform initiated by NAB and Telstra, will be officially launched in July and will enable small businesses to network and swap services with others.

“Small business is the backbone of the Australian economy; around 97 per cent of all Australian businesses are small businesses and they provide a huge economic contribution to Australia’s current and future prosperity,” said Leigh O’Neill, NAB executive general manager micro and small business.

“[Owners of small businesses] tell us they are continually looking for new ways to do business, and we think Proquo will provide them with a unique way to network and grow their business.”

Proquo will aid small businesses in marketing, accounting, legal, design, and technology-related services.

Proquo can be used in five steps:

1. Write a brief

With Proquo, users can sign up and write digital briefs, describing their needs to other small businesses who can then offer their skills and services. 

2. Write a quote

Along with a brief, users can attach a price for the intended work. Users who sign up for Proquo’s beta period can conduct transactions fee-free for the rest of 2016. From 2017, however, fees will range from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent. There will be no fees attached to pure skill-swaps.

3. Agree outcomes and commence work

With the brief and the quote established, both parties can agree on the terms and begin the required work.

4. Complete and pay

After the intended task is completed, payment can be made via Proquo. All members have to supply their ABN to ensure transactions are legitimate.

5. Rate and review

After a task is completed, the user’s skills can be rated and reviewed, so that talented users can be identified by other small businesses, and users who don’t provide adequate help can be avoided.

The service is entirely cloud-based, so users can access Proquo from computers, smart phones and tablets, with no fear of losing records due to damage or theft.

“Small businesses often struggle to get off the ground, and our research shows that the exchanging of services will be a great advantage to many start-ups,” said Andy Ellis, group managing director of Telstra Business.

“We’re excited and proud to partner with NAB to offer this unique digital platform. This joint venture further highlights our commitment to small business so they can run, develop and grow their business,” said Mr Ellis.

Although Proquo is a collaboration between NAB and Tesltra, it will operate independently from these businesses.

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