Meet the small business owner starring at the G20 as Hockey strikes global growth deal

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has led global finance leaders at the Group of 20 summit to a deal designed to boost the global economy by an additional 2% in five years.

The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors will present comprehensive growth strategies at the Brisbane summit in November which could boost the economy by $US2 trillion.

The initiative is aimed at boosting trade, investment, competition and employment opportunities and could lead to tens of millions of additional jobs.

In addition to reaching an “unprecedented” global accord to enhance global growth, the group also edged closer to ensuring multinationals “pay their fair share of tax”, according to a statement from Hockey.

In general, the finance ministers and business representatives want to “enhance cooperation and communication between countries as well as building resilience in our economies and financial markets”, Hockey says.

The head of Luxmy Furniture Group, Priyanka Rao, was one of two small business representatives invited by Hockey to an event at Admiralty House as part of the summit.

She told SmartCompany it’s up to the government to better communicate with small business how they will be affected and what they can do to help meet the goals of the G20.

“The G20 has been looking at how larger private businesses can be involved in infrastructure projects and what can be done to get larger multinationals to straighten out offshore tax issues,” she says.

Rao says small businesses can make positive changes now to increase productivity.

“In terms of increasing productivity, it’s really about having key metrics around this and performance outcomes,” she says.

“For us it’s also about watching costs really carefully. In manufacturing, you only succeed when your price points are competitive, so you need to measure things like how efficiently staff are working, output and also external factors like labour costs and currency fluctuation.”

Rao was able to talk to attendees such as IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and a number of G20 finance ministers about issues facing small business.

Rao says the conversation focused on the relevance of small business to G20 priorities.

“I spoke to Christine Lagarde and Janet Yellen about the Australian dollar and what the manufacturing sector is like at the moment,” she says.

“Last year was a slow year for the industry, but we diversified our business into flat pack wholesale for big retailers and a commercial joinery business and we made an acquisition. This made sure the business was stable, but a lot of our manufacturing competitors went under last year.”

Rao says her key takeaway point from the event was that the government is actively listening to small business.

“They are aware of the issues like currency and wage growth rates which are impacting small business and you can see this in Joe Hockey’s mandate for growth,” she says.

“Entrepreneurship will be a priority on the agenda. The onus will be on entrepreneurs to find a strategy for growth without government assistance… stimulus isn’t really an option.”

Rao says the government will do its part to assist growth by looking at taxes and wage rates.


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