While the findings of the Microsoft report Culturing Success show that only 33 per cent of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are embracing technology, the Coalition Government, business and industry are working hard to increase these numbers.
The report, which I'm launching tonight and is the second in Microsoft Joined Up Innovation series, shows that Australian workplace culture has a significant and influential role in determining the degree Australian businesses are positioned to take advantage of innovation.
It says only about 33 per cent of SMEs are ahead of the pack in terms of their ability to adapt and change in response to threats and take advantage of opportunities.
While these numbers could be disheartening, they importantly reiterate what the Coalition Government, industry and business increasingly know and are working hard to change.
The findings are also in line with the Government's recently released Intergenerational Report, which highlights innovation as critical to the success of SMEs in the medium and long term.
The Government's work includes the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. The centrepiece of the Agenda is the Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme, which provides small and medium businesses with access to the best advice and networks in business management, research and accelerating commercialisation.
Our Small Business and Jobs Package, currently being developed, will also aim to create the right environment for innovation, including with an at least 1.5 per cent company tax cut for small businesses.
We are finalising changes to Employee Share Schemes, to provide generous incentives for new start-ups and the repeal of more and more red tape.
Research by Deloitte indicates that Australian SMEs that are online are twice more likely to be growing and four times more likely to be hiring staff.
In response, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has partnered with Google to host a national roadshow to get SMEs online. I launched the first in my electorate in Frankston, where SMEs make up 98 per cent of businesses, and the enthusiasm in the room was unmistakable.
I am regularly approached by SMEs looking for ways to innovate and that makes me even more committed to ensuring Australia is the best place to build and grow a small business.
I welcome the findings of Culturing Success as they crystalise the importance of these measures by Government, industry and businesses themselves.