Thursday, August 28th, 2014

A LACK of funds is causing a barrier to business innovation, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures.

One in five Australian businesses have cited financial restraints as one barrier while a quarter of small and medium-sized businesses highlighted a lack of skilled people either in the labour market or business itself.

In WA, the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) is helping turn this tide by sponsoring the annual Ignition program run by the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Held from August 31 to September 5, the program helps anyone with a specific idea for a new or improved product or service to develop it into a real business proposition.

It features a blend of practical teaching sessions, expert clinics, mentor sessions, advice and support from leading entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as the necessary tools, contacts and confidence for a successful business venture.

Small Business Commissioner David Eaton said Ignition is based on the successful Ignite program, managed and delivered by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning.

“While the ABS figures do give pause for thought, I’m pleased to say WA has programs like Ignition that can help with business innovation,” he said.

“It’s a unique opportunity for organisations to be associated with entrepreneurship and the stimulation of innovation, and to help create new ventures, new employment and export opportunities.

“One of the greatest strengths of small businesses is ingenuity. A powerful combination of imagination, diversity and hard work are their driving force and help to make them a success.”

The ABS figures showed almost 60 per cent of businesses actively involved in innovation sourced ideas or information from within their businesses with the other 40 per cent gaining ideas from clients.

Just under 10 per cent had a collaborative arrangement with universities or other higher education institutions.

“It’s possible some small businesses are not aware of programs like Ignition or may not have thought about approaching a university to work collaboratively on stimulating innovation,” Mr Eaton said.

“The ABS results actually show that innovation had led to a reduction in cost for more than one in four innovating businesses involved in the manufacturing and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.”

More information about the Ignition program is available at  Further details about the ABS figures are available at



Photo attached (from left to right):

People offered scholarships to attend the Ignition program:

Rob Vis, Managing Director - SIPS Industries Australia Pty Ltd

Samantha (Sam) Judd, Founder - FlipLid

Simon Anderson, Founder - Common Room (previously

Sandy Heldsinger, Founder -  Pairwise

Ramanujam (Ram) Hemmige, CEO Focalabs International Pty Ltd

David Brown, Director – CitySwagga

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Small Business Development Corporation

About the SBDC

The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) is an independent statutory authority, established in 1984 under the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983.

What we do

The primary role of the SBDC is to encourage, promote, facilitate and assist the establishment, growth and development of small business in Western Australia.

This is achieved by providing advice and guidance, as well as education and skill development programs, to small business owners.

The SBDC works directly with small business operators and liaises with industry and business associations to exchange information and provide support and assistance to their members.

The SBDC also provides advice and support to the Minister for Small Business on matters impacting the sector, including the effect of government policy and legislation on small business.

Through these avenues, the SBDC helps to raise public awareness of the importance of small business to the economy and community.

In addition, the SBDC investigates any matters impacting small businesses and advises small business on ways to obtain assistance.

The SBDC also maintains an information centre with a comprehensive range of business resources and delivers workshops for existing and potential small business operators.

More recently, the SBDC has provided an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service in relation to small business disputes.

Chris Thomas


business innovation Small Business Development Coporation SBDC Ignition Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship Australian Bureau of Statistics ABS University of Cambridge WA Western Australia Perth




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