Awards funding cut for small businesses
The plug has been pulled on WA’s Regional Small Business Awards after State Government funding was withdrawn last week.
The regional awards have been responsible for showcasing hundreds of businesses to the public for the past 15 years and were previously sustained by Royalties for Regions funding.
Small Business Development Corporation chief executive David Eaton said sponsorship and support would continue but this year’s event would not be held.
“The Small Business Development Corporation will continue to support regional small businesses through our advisory and business support services,” he said. “However, as 2017-18 is the final year of the four-year Royalties for Regions funding allocation for the WA Regional Small Business Awards event, usually held in November, this event will not be held this year.”
Chelsea Brown, owner of former Karratha business Beautylicious by Chelsea and winner of the 2015 Aboriginal business award, said the awards were good accolades to promote regional business.
“I feel like it’s a nice incentive when these kinds of awards are offered, and considering how much of a contribution small businesses make to towns in Australia I think it’s quite a small price to pay,” she said.
Nudge Psychological Assessment and Consulting director Melissa Harrison, who won the overall Western Australian regional small business of the year award last year, said the decision was surprising.
“It seems like there is more and more money being pulled away from small business,” she said.
“It really does keep the State running. It’s disappointing and probably very disillusioning.
“It’s a really good opportunity for small businesses to get together, share stories and feel normalised in the often difficult job that we are doing.”
Member for North West Central Vince Catania said awareness of the diversity, success and innovation of more than 54,000 regional small businesses had been left by the roadside.
“Small business accounts for nearly half of private sector employment and make up 43 per cent of all goods exported from WA,” he said.
“Why the economic contribution and employment opportunities created by the small business sector isn’t supported and celebrated by the Government leaves me questioning whether they value the State’s economy at all.”
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