That was the key message attendees took away from the City of Joondalup�s second business forum of the year at Joondalup Resort on Tuesday morning.
Small Business Development Corporation chief executive and WA small business commissioner David Eaton spoke about the importance of small business to the economy and our way of life.
Small and micro-sized businesses � enterprises with fewer than 20 employees � represent almost 98 per cent of all businesses in the City of Joondalup.
There are also more than 211,000 small businesses in WA, employing 40 per cent of the private sector workforce and, when combined with medium enterprises, they employ over 70 per cent.
�Small business is not just the caf� and retailer that brings a sense of community; small business is also the major source of employment in WA,� Mr Eaton said. So in a state where the mining sector gets a high profile, in fact it is small and medium-sized businesses that dominate.�
He said the small business sector was often �forgotten and undervalued� because it was broad and diverse and had �no single voice speaking on its behalf�.
He urged all sectors of the community to �think small business first�, highlighting the need for legislators to use regulation as a last resort, big business to pay on time, for shoppers to consider smaller retailers and the media to feature positive small business stories.
He also explained the benefits of the SBDC�s new $3.5 million business local service, which started yesterday. It will provide free advice and guidance to help small businesses across WA.
Business Station, which works with ECU in the Business Incubation Centre, was chosen as the key partner to deliver the service in the northern metropolitan area.
Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt said the City was aware the success of the small business sector was a �critical factor� in increasing local employment, but that businesses operating in the City had not �grown at the rate we anticipated�.
�There has also been a lack of growth in the number of staff the City�s smaller businesses employ,� he said. �We are looking to reverse those trends and this forum will focus on the support available to small business and raise awareness of the programs and opportunities aimed at driving business growth.�
These included the Federal Government�s $664 million Industry Skills Fund and the $482.2 million Entrepreneur�s Infrastructure Program.