Covid-19 has had devastating impacts to small businesses in Australia. Small and medium sized businesses employ almost half of our workforce, at approximately 4.8 million Australians.

A whopping 99.8% of Australian businesses are classified as either small (fewer than 20 employees, or less than $10 million revenue) or medium (20–199 employees, over $10 million revenue) enterprises. These businesses contribute significantly to Australia’s economy, employment, and sense of community, and are crucial to Australia’s recovery.

Our Australian Leadership Index research reveals SMEs are seen as providing more benefits to Australian society than national or multinational businesses. Where 60% of large businesses are performing well enough to expect to hire new staff in the next three months, this is only true for 33% of small businesses. Unsurprisingly, small businesses were twice as likely to be concerned about surviving 2020 than larger companies

In a new study from GoDaddy, 77 per cent of survey respondents reported reduced revenues and 37 per cent endured forced closures. However, often described as Australia’s “economic engine room” small businesses will be a major contributor to bringing Australia out of economic decline.

While government support has allowed some SMEs to continue operating, support schemes alone are not enough. Therefore, we need a collective effort from governments, SMEs themselves, and consumers, to lead Australia’s economic recovery.

Compared to larger companies, Australian’s believe SMEs are more transparent, ethical, and accountable, as well as being more responsive to the community and balancing the needs of various community subgroups.

While only 11 per cent of Australian small businesses have managed to increase in revenue during the pandemic, 87 per cent are predicting full recovery within the next 12 months. The survival of Australian SMEs is imperative to rebuilding the economy in a post-COVID world.

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