Australian entrepreneurs have applauded the federal government for placing small businesses and startups at the heart of this year’s federal budget, with the small business tax cut, $20,000 instant asset write-off scheme and changes to employee share schemes among the highlights.
However, one entrepreneur says Australia still has plenty of catching up to do with neighbouring countries when it comes to encouraging local entrepreneurship.
On Tuesday SmartCompany asked three entrepreneurs their thoughts ahead of the budget. Today, we caught up with them to get their reactions.
Chris Strode, founder and chief product officer of Invoice2go
“It’s fantastic to see that the government has listened to the key pain points shared by startups around the country and is finally taking action,” says Chris Strode, founder of $100 million invoicing startup Invoice2go.
“The changes to the employee share scheme are the big standout for me.”
“I’m really excited about the leverage this gives local companies with regards to attracting the best talent and incentivising productivity and growth.”
Dean Ramler, founder and chief executive of Milan Direct
Dean Ramler, who founded online furniture retailer Milan Direct in 2006 at the age of 24, says he is “happy to see a very pro small business and startup budget”.
“Tax breaks for small business should encourage growth in the economy and I am sure the tax deductions for items under the $20,000 mark will be well received by all small business owners,” Ramler told SmartCompany.
While Ramler says he would have liked to see the federal government move to abolish payroll tax in the budget, he says “no budget is ever perfect”.
“We look forward to rising business and consumer confidence on the back of this budget,” he says.
“Overall a very positive budget and small business owners should be happy with the outcome.”
Jo Burston, founder and chief executive of Job Capital and Rare Birds
This year’s budget is a “really good starting point” says Jo Burston, founder and chief executive of Job Capital and Rare Birds.
“But there is still a long way to go,” she says.
Burston says she supports “any tax cut” and is pleased to see the changes to the employee share schemes, but like Ramler, she would like to see the federal government take the lead in working to abolish payroll tax, which she describes as “the burning elephant in the room”.
“I know this is a federal budget and payroll tax is state-driven, but I would love to see that change,” she says.
Burston says she took advantage of the previous government’s instant asset write-off scheme, which was later scrapped when the mining tax was abolished, and she believes the new $20,000 scheme will be “fantastic, as long as it is clear what you can use it for”.
“It’s a good move and it will stimulate the consumer market, which is a good thing.”
While Burston says “this is the first government in a long time” that has had ongoing conversations with entrepreneurs and SMEs and is acting on those conversations, she says reform is “a slow burn” and “there is a long way to go” to encourage entrepreneurship in the same way other countries, including New Zealand, do.