Online portal offers support for bushfire-hit SME owners

Web portal My Business Health, an initiative of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, has been providing holistic support for small-business owners by providing easy access to tools, templates and tips to manage stress and engage proactively while runing a business.

In light of the recent bushfires that affected many small businesses, My Business Health has now added a dedicated section that is devoted to small businesses impacted by natural disasters.

ASBFEO Kate Carnell has expressed how much she was struck by the devastation of the recent bushfires, saying small businesses are dealing with extraordinary challenges right now.

“Small businesses in bushfire-hit areas are under enormous pressure and the difficult reality is that many will be in survival mode for months to come,” Carnell said.

With the new section, My Business Health will be offering simple and practical information to small-business owners to help them get back on their feet. This includes the latest information on grants and loans that are being offered administered by state and territory governments and assistance with employer responsibilities, finances, insurance claims, and tax.

“While some of these small and family business owners will be consumed with the recovery of their business – they may not be aware of the psychological distress they have experienced,” Carnell pointed out.

My Business Health was developed in consultation with mental health organisations including Beyond Blue and EveryMind. With the new section, there are new feature links to Beyond Blue resources that deal with bushfire-related trauma specifically.

“Mental health is a serious issue for Australia’s small business community with the Productivity Commission finding the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism to the sector is over $17 billion per year,” Carnell said. “That figure is likely to be amplified in the wake of this bushfire season, so it’s really important that small business owners prioritise their wellbeing. Visiting My Business Health is an excellent starting point.”

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