SMEs still optimistic about growth prospects

Despite currently experiencing economic hardships as a result of the global COVID-19 crisis, Australian SMEs are still generally optimistic about their prospects for growth and their ability to innovate for the next 12 months.

The Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report looked into the current sentiment of Australian SME owners, how they have evolved their businesses to meet the current challenges they face, and their plans for the post-COVID-19 recovery phase.

The research revealed that in the midst of what is considered to be an uncertain period, 28 per cent of Australian SMEs have spent this time thinking of how to be innovative for the future, 35 per cent refreshed their business plan, and 38 per cent focused on fostering creativity.

With regards to those innovation efforts, about a quarter of SMEs have explored new revenue streams or have made an online shift, one in six managed to create new products or transformed existing ones to address the current needs, while one of five are planning for or have built a new business or product strategy.

Other key findings include:

  • 34 per cent of SMEs said the lockdown helped them develop their digital strategies for future growth.
  • 84 per cent of SMEs said they felt an increased support for local businesses, while 76 per cent said they had received messages of encouragement from their customers.
  • 15 per cent of SMEs said they most need funding to for their digital presence, another 15 per cent would need funding to grow their business into new countries, another 15 per cent would need funds for addtional staff, 11 per cent need them for their creativity efforts, and 10 per cent needing them for their e-commerce efforts.
  • 84 per cent of these SMEs say about $20,000 as an “impactful” amount so they can fulfil such plans.

The release of the report coincided with the launch of the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants, an initiative which will provide more than $80,000 AUD in grants to selected Australian start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs who have showcased innovation in their products or services.

“More than a quarter of SMEs (29 per cent) said that the lack of available funding is the biggest barrier to innovating or growing the business for the remainder of 2020 and more than half (55 per cent) lacked guidance or mentorship during this time,” Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad, Amazon Australia, said. “We hope that the new Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants will catapult a new wave of small businesses who have evolved during this time to continue creating and transforming products.”

Each Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants package is worth more than $80,000 and includes a $20,000 cash grant, Amazon and AWS marketing support, and exclusive access to mentors such as Amazon leadership and entrepreneur experts from Australia and HQ in Seattle; time with successful e-commerce savvy Australian SMEs; and insights from angel investors in the Venture Capital community.

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