Under the state’s new initiative, Victorian businesses will be offered a $1,200 rebate when they trial selected digital products including website, e-commerce, finance and business management products.
The program is designed for sole traders, micro and small businesses that operate in Victoria, hold an ABN and are registered for GST as of 13 September.
However, also eligible to apply are non-for-profit entities that are not registered for GST and are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission.
Registrations are open until 28 February 2021, with eligible businesses asked to register as soon as today, and trial, free of charge, selected digital products from suppliers who have partnered with the state government, before choosing one of these products to purchase.
Once businesses have purchased a product, they can apply for the rebate, to cover 12 months’ access to the product, regardless of their actual spend.
Applicants will then be contacted six weeks after they apply for the rebate and must confirm that their business has begun using the product.
While an initial suite of products for trial is available from Sunday, more products will be added to the Business Victoria website over time.
The program also offers free digital adaptation training and workshops to help registered businesses adopt and implement online tools in their business.
Commenting on the state government’s announcement, Gavan Ord, CPA Australia business and investment policy manager, welcomed the program, referring to it as “essential”.
“During the pandemic, online retail sales have grown strongly. Although small businesses reaped some of the benefits, they have actually lost market share in online sales to larger businesses,” Mr Ord said.
“Government support programs are essential to assisting small businesses compete with larger businesses for online customers.”
Mr Ord commended the “wide” eligibility criteria, noting that it will cover the direct costs of most small investing in a digital technology, such as an annual subscription to an online sales platform.
“Many small businesses dipped their toe in the water during COVID-19 restrictions and began exploring online business tools. This is an opportunity to consolidate and build on this new-found capability,” Mr Ord said.