SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION INFORMATION

Hi Everyone

FYI

What’s in this edition

FROM THE COMMISSIONER

Small Business Commissioner David Eaton

Welcome to this, the first edition of our e-newsletter. I hope you find the information useful and informative.

Since becoming Small Business Commissioner mid-January, my first priority was to deliver an effective and affordable Alternative Dispute Resolution service for small businesses in WA. This service came on stream on the 26th March and has been very well received. Within the first 14 days of operation, 170 calls were taken by SBDC advisors and as a result 28 disputes are now being handled by our case managers.

Establishing the ADR service, together with taking up the reins as CEO of the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) has made my first three months in the job both challenging and extremely interesting.

With the ADR service now in operation, I am turning my attention to meeting more small business owners and listening to their concerns. I hope to meet more of you and I will be travelling to the regions in the coming months. So far I have visited Albany and I am scheduled to visit Geraldton on 3 May, Kalgoorlie on 9 May and Bunbury on 15 May, with more visits around the State planned for later in the year.

If you have any comments or feedback about our e-newsletter, please contact our communications team via events@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au

Regards,

David Eaton

Small Business Commissioner WA

About the Commissioner and ADR service

In recognition of the importance of small business in WA, the Government established the state’s first Small Business Commissioner. It is the most significant initiative for small businesses in WA since the establishment of the SBDC in 1984. David Eaton was appointed to the position of Small Business Commissioner in December 2011 and took up as CEO of SBDC in mid January 2012.

One of the first priorities for the Commissioner was to introduce an Alternative Dispute Resolution service (ADR) for small business and on 26 March 2012, this new service was launched.

The ADR service is based on the successful Victorian model and will provide small business operators with a low cost alternative to the court system.

Please visit our website for more information.

Australian Business Number/Business Names register

The new national Australian Business Number/Business Names register is due to commence on 28 May 2012 and will enable current and new business name holders in Australia to register their name through a simple and easy to use online service.

New businesses will only need to register their name once, and will no longer be required to register separately in each state and territory they operate in. Existing business names currently registered in Western Australia will be automatically transferred to the new register.

Small business operators are invited to learn more about the register at free information sessions being held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on Tuesday 15 May at 10am and 1pm and on Wednesday 16 May at 10am, at the Hotel Ibis Perth, 334 Murray Street. The sessions will help business name holders and industry professionals better understand the new register and hear first-hand how the transition from state and territory registers will take place.

The SBDC encourages all business operators and representatives to attend these sessions – to book your place, visit the ASIC Website.

For more information about the ABN/BN Register please visit our website.

Carbon tax

According to the Clean Energy Future website, carbon pollution is the main cause of climate change. The Federal Government has introduced the carbon pricing scheme (e.g. the carbon tax) as a measure to reduce Australia’s level of carbon pollution. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.

The carbon tax will come into effect on 1 July 2012 and it is wise for small business owners to understand how the carbon pricing scheme might affect their business prior to its introduction. Clean Energy Future (a Federal Government agency) has released a brochure to assist small businesses understand the impacts of the carbon tax.

While small businesses will not have to directly pay the carbon tax or monitor their pollution and electricity use, they may be indirectly impacted by the carbon tax. The Small Business Development Corporation recommends all small business operators check out the Clean Energy Future brochure for more information.

A new directory for Aboriginal businesses

Image for Aboriginal Business Directory

The Aboriginal Business Directory WA is a free service that provides a comprehensive list of Aboriginal businesses operating in Western Australia and will make finding Aboriginal businesses easy.

We are currently seeking Aboriginal businesses operating within WA to be included in the directory. If you would like to be included, or know of a business that would qualify for inclusion, you can register online. Alternatively you can email your details to info@abdwa.com.au or call 13 12 59.

The Aboriginal Business Directory WA is a joint project between the Department of Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Training and Workforce Development, the Small Business Development Corporation and CCIWA’s Project Connect.

The New Personal Properties Securities Register

PPSR logo

While Australia’s new Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) came into effect in January 2012, many small business operators still do not know what impact this will have on their business.

The PPSR is a single online national register of personal properties securities replacing over 40 Commonwealth, state and territory security registers. It is designed to make life easier for businesses by protecting their interests over personal property through a central register of security interests.

As a result of these changes, many small businesses will find their suppliers are now seeking to update their terms of trade. Similarly, small businesses providing goods on terms to customers should also consider updating their terms of trade so they can register their security on the new PPSR.

A major change with the introduction of the national PPSR relates to retention of title clauses in supply contracts, whereby the seller retains ownership of the property until it is paid for. In many cases, this interest must now be registered on the PPSR to be effective.

Other areas of concern are security under hire purchase agreements, conditional sale agreements, and the lease or hire of equipment for a period of more than 12 months. Secured parties should take steps to review their agreements and amend them where necessary.

While registration on the PPSR is not compulsory, the SBDC recommends all small businesses register their security over personal property in order to protect their interests.

For more information, visit the PPSR website.

Changes to Australian Consumer Law

A range of changes to consumer law has taken place over the past eighteen months, commencing with the new rules for unfair contract terms in July 2010, followed by the implementation of the Australian Consumer Law on 1 January 2011, which covered the majority of changes including rules about consumer guarantees. Further to this, new rules covering product warranty information came into effect on 1 January 2012.

The Australian Government has developed a range of guides to assist businesses understand the new consumer laws. These guides can be downloaded from the Australian Consumer Law website.

For more information on these changes and the introduction of the Australian Consumer law visit the Consumer Law website, see the ACCC’s video or visit the Department of Commerce’s website.

SBDC Advisors become mentors to young inventors in WA

SBDC Senior Business Advisors, Mike O’Donnell and Russ Davis have become mentors to the participants involved in Scitech’s 2012 Young Innovator of the Year Program.

The junior program runs from March – September and will see entrants aged 13 – 21 years bring their innovations to market.

Both Mike and Russ have many years of business experience and are looking forward to mentoring these keen young entrepreneurs.

Tourism BOOST – New online tool!

Tourism-boost-picture

SBDC’s highly successful tourism development program Tourism BOOST now has a new online resource.

The Tourism BOOST online tool is specially designed for tourism businesses and includes:

  • Information on Understanding the Tourism Industry
  • Marketing Tips and Tricks
  • Pricing tools, checklists and templates
  • Quizzes

Check it out today at www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/TourismBoost 

In 2012 we will be visiting locations around WA hosting Tourism Boost workshops covering the topics of; understanding the tourism industry, how to make your business stand out from the crowd and how to succeed in the online world.

To find out when Tourism BOOST will be in your local area, call 13 12 49 or visit our website.

Business Skills Workshop: Succeeding Online

Succeeding Online is a practical, interactive workshop which will teach you how to create a website from scratch or update your existing site and give you the knowledge to be able to effectively communicate with IT professionals.

You will also discover how to access detailed statistics about your website, how to optimise your site so it ranks highly in Google and how to maximise your online marketing through avenues like Search Engine Optimisation and social media.

These workshops will be held at the SBDC on:

  • Wednesday 30 May, 9am to 11.30am
  • Thursday 7 June, 9am to 11.30am

Book online, call 13 12 49 or email to reserve your place.

Franchising and Business Opportunities Expo

The 2012 Perth Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo will be held at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre on Saturday 26 May and Sunday 27 May 2012.

Free registration to the expo is available on the website, so register now to save paying an entry fee at the door.

The expo is a good opportunity to see displays by various franchise and business groups, speak to representatives from legal and consulting firms who specialise in franchising and chat with an advisor from the SBDC.

Visit their website for more details.

New Media Centre on Website

Media Centre logo

Check out our new Media Centre for regular updates and great stories.

This is a great resource for journalists looking for small business stories and small business operators with stories to tell.

The media centre includes our most recent media releases as well as:

  • Research, statistics and fact sheets regarding small business
  • Information regarding changes to Australian legislation
  • Media kit
  • What’s Happening Section and
  • Media release archive

If you have a story to tell or a looking for a story lead, check it out today!

Franchising Webinar: Scoping a suitable franchise offer

If you are considering buying a franchise and want to know more about ‘due diligence,’ take a look at the latest webinar by the Griffith University Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence.

This webinar is also appropriate for those buying an independent business, rather than a franchise.

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