The Queensland government has revealed the details of a $140 million small business strategy first announced as part of the December 2020 state budget.
The Big Plans for Small Business Strategy aims to help the small business sector recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic by increasing the skills of small business owners and their workforces, driving jobs growth and supporting regional economies.
The plan was developed during the state government’s Small Business Roadshow that took place from February to March this year, and will be detailed in today’s state budget.
$100 million business investment fund
As part of the roadshow, the state government sought the advice of more than 2,500 small business owners and industry organisations in virtual forums, in-person sessions and a survey.
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The small business strategy includes a $100 million Business Investment Fund to help small and medium sized businesses that have “significant growth potential”.
The strategy also includes $30 million to increase skills through grants and other support for small businesses, and $10 million to make the Queensland Small Business Commissioner permanent.
Announcing the strategy, Queensland Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the plan will ensure a “strong and resilient small business sector that will not only survive but thrive”.
$250 million industry partnership program
The Queensland state budget will also include a $350 million industry partnership program to support business, industry and research institutions collaborate over four years.
The program will encourage business, industry and research institutions to work together by offering incentives that will help unlock growth in a range of industries.
Incentives, which can be non-financial and financial, will be offered in assistance packages developed specifically to suit each project.
Assistance could include leveraging government assets such as infrastructure and land, rental assistance and leveraging government procurement.
Financial incentives could consist of payroll tax reimbursements and relief from other state fees and charges, as well as cash reimbursement grants or concessional loans.
Specifically, the industry partnership program will spend $20 million on the development of the Translational Manufacturing Institute at the Translational Research Institute.
The program will invest $43 million in the Building Acceleration Fund to support additional catalytic infrastructure projects around the state.
The government will also spend $26 million to design priority industry roadmaps and strategies.
$320 million for skills, training and jobs
The Queensland state budget is expected to include $320 million over the next four years for the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.
The additional funding is designed to boost job skills and training, as well as fund an assistance program for businesses to hire the unemployed.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the program, which already exists, has helped put more than 36,000 people into jobs.
“Supporting skills training is part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Palaszczuk said.
“In fact, 73% of Skilling Queenslanders for Work participants have gone onto secure employment or further training.”