Entrepreneur concern over NSW Government cutbacks prompts workshop series

Two entrepreneurs have launched a series of Sydney small business workshops amid concerns over cut-backs in SME event programs by both the NSW and Queensland state governments.


In March, the NSW Government scrapped its small business events programs, claiming the events often failed to provide adequate advice and assistance to small business operators.


Programs included Small Business September, MicroBiz Week, the Young Entrepreneurs program and the Women in Business mentoring program.


At the time, NSW Small Business Minister Katrina Hodgkinson told StartupSmart the state has underperformed in assisting small businesses.


“Last year, the inaugural Small Business Commissioner [Yasmin King] travelled throughout NSW and met with over 500 small business owners,” Hodgkinson said.


“Many small business operators indicated they are quite often unable to take extended time away from work to attend training courses and seminars.”


“While small business events can be a great way to get out and network, many small business operators found that training events and networking opportunities…did not often provide the practical advice and assistance they were actually seeking.”


Now, entrepreneurs Kate Tribe and Sean Grobbelaar have taken it upon themselves to replace the Small Business September program, which in the past attracted more than 20,000 businesses.


Tribe and Grobbelaar have organised more than 40 workshops as part of Sydney Business month, each of which will be led by high-profile speakers.


NSW isn’t the only state that has seen cutbacks to some small business programs.


Stephen Baxter, founder of Brisbane co-working space River City Labs, told StartupSmart last month the level of support from the Queensland Government leaves a lot to be desired.


“Now we have an emperor instead of a premier. There’s no government support at all,” Baxter said.


“We’ve been told there’s no money available for new programs.”


Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has come under fire amid severe budget cuts, along with his decision to join the fight against the Federal Government’s mining tax.


Earlier this month, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said Newman’s decision to shut down a tax designed to spread mining wealth through the economy was a sign of his twisted priorities.


“By taking part in this action, Campbell Newman is trying to stop 560,000 Queensland small businesses getting a tax break,” Swan said.


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