Shop Local: coffee with Small Business Minister Paul Papalia

Shop Local: coffee with Small Business Minister Paul Papalia

1. What percentage of businesses in WA are small to medium?

99 per cent are small to medium enterprises but 97 per cent of those are small businesses. A high proportion of them are sole traders. I have incredible admiration and respect for anyone who embarks on small business.

2. Why is it important for us as consumers to support local business?

If you’re buying a product or service from a small business, their revenue is often returned in your community because those people live in your community.

3. How does the State Government support small business?

The Jobs Act that comes in on October 1 is an initiative that will ensure local small businesses are competitive for State Government contracts. We are in really tough times but we still spend billions of dollars in operating costs. In the past, we haven’t been effective in ensuring local players get contracts for things like the provision of infrastructure. We’re making the tender process more suitable for small business. The recent announcement of cheap flights between Perth and Broome will hopefully convince the 428,000 people who go to Bali every year to holiday in Broome.

4. What are the challenges for small business owners in this tough economic climate?

There’s a big challenge to convince people that they can get value for money at home. It’s become a habit for WA people to holiday in Bali but many people haven’t travelled in their own state. Pricing will always be a challenge. The perception is that bigger is better and cheaper but that’s not necessarily the case because they can overlook the quality of service that can be provided in a small business.

5. What is your local coffee shop?

Dome is across the road from my office and Jamaica Blue is nearby.

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