News Pulse for December 2, 2016

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Small business ombudsman’s hearings will help redress power imbalance between SMEs and banks

Over the past two days executives from the big four banks have been questioned by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell on how they treat their small business customers, especially in difficult times. Due to the significant power imbalance, small business owners who feel they have been harshly treated have limited access to justice.

The ASBFEO will now come up with recommendations to the federal government to better protect SMEs from unfair treatment by banks. Here are some of the issues raised with the banks that are likely to feature in Carnell’s recommendations.

Should small business loans be capped at $1 million? Banks questioned over lending practices

This week’s inquiry into small business loan practices saw the big four banks in the spotlight yet again this year, and the focus was on loan limits, communication and fairness.

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell grilled senior management from the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac on Tuesday and Wednesday, asking for specific explanations on how the banks explained complicated loan contracts and requirements to small businesses. Carnell drove home repeatedly how “naïve” she had been when previously taking out a small business loan for her own business, at the time unaware of the number of factors that could have affected her loan conditions in the long term.

How did the small business community react to the re-introduction of the ABCC? 

It’s the last day of school for Australian politicians and after a big week of legislation for the business community, the Australian Building and Construction Commission Bill has passed both houses of parliament after the government made key concessions to Senator Nick Xenophon.

Business groups have hailed this as a win for productivity and transparency on Australian construction sites, but how did we get here? And what does the future hold? Here are three things you need to know.

Four things the banks were forced to concede to Kate Carnell

After two days and over twelve hours, the inquiry lead by Kate Carnell into the banks’ treatment of small businesses is over.

Whether it achieves anything requires a longer term view but for now let’s take a look at some of the issues the small business ombudsman was able to force the banks to reflect on.

Ransomware attacks on businesses on the increase in Australia, APAC

Businesses in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia have paid an average ransom of $11,781 to ransomware attackers, with some businesses paying a ransom of more than $20,000, according to a newly published report on the growing prevalence of ransomware attacks in the APAC region.

A survey by global data protection solutions provider firm, Datto, of 100 managed service providers (MSPs) in the region, representing thousands of small businesses, found that 85% reported that their customers had experienced a ransomware attack in the past 12 months.

NSW launches Innovation Strategy

The NSW Government has launched a new Innovation Strategy aimed at strengthening entrepreneurship in the state and fostering a culture of innovation across government.

The new strategy includes a range of initiatives including creating a Ministerial Innovation Committee to encourage agencies to embrace innovation.

Australia’s startup scene has a plan to catch up to the rest of the world

Prime minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15’s “innovation boom” has been a hot topic in Australian business this year, particularly following the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), which committed $1.1 billion over four years.

But despite the government backing, Australia remains well behind the world’s innovation powerhouses and according to a recent report by PwC, the local economy is predicted to drop 10 places world rankings by 2050, putting us behind countries like Bangladesh, Egypt and Pakistan, and out of the G20.

SME’s are looking up according to latest MYOB Snapshot

THE Latest SME snapshot from MYOB says that a quarter of small and medium business owners are operating more than one business or are planning to.

The latest research revealed that a quarter of operators (25 per cent) are operating more than one actively trading business, with the average being 2.5 businesses. Additionally, one in six SMEs said they wanted to start a new business or another new business (16 per cent)

Why tech entrepreneurs take lion’s share of Young Rich List

I was recently asked if I thought the Australian tech sector would continue it’s winning streak and what opportunities it held for young Australians.

The question came off the back of a recently released Young Rich List that had technology as the dominant sector with 27 people on the list. Rightfully so, given the tech start-up sector is now worth more than Australia’s big banks.

My answer was a resounding yes and that the possibilities were limitless. Here’s why.

$170 billion boost to economy if ‘entrepreneurship’ also gets a boost: StartupAUS

An improvement in conditions for entrepreneurship in Australia could add up to $170 billion to the economy, but “significant barriers” still remain to Australia having a truly world class start-up ecosystem, according to startup advocacCommunications Access Co-ordinatory group StartupAUS.

Despite concerns about the barriers to achieving a better startup ecosysystem, StartupAUS chief executive Alex McCauley says Australia is well-placed to capitalise on the strong growth seen in fledgling start-up sector.

The difference between a startup and a small business

The Crossroads report for 2016 has been released, providing a detailed review of Australia’s startup ecosystem.

It also explains the ins-and-outs of the sector, how it works, what it needs and even how it compares to the rest of the world.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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