News Pulse for July 18, 2017

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

Innovation hubs help develop ideas into technology realities

Prime Minister Malcolm TurnbullThe Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Federal Member for Wentworth Prime Minister from 15.9.15 wants to position Australia as the ‘Innovation Nation’.

Mr Turnbull pledged $100 million to go into strengthening the ties between industry and academia as well as promoting a stronger emphasis on science and mathematics.

That included the formation of six dedicated ‘Industry Growth Centres’ for: advanced manufacturing; cyber security; food and agribusiness; modern technologies and pharmaceuticals; oil, gas and energy resources; and mining equipment, technology and services.

Shareconomy startup MadeComfy secures $1.1m for its short-term rental management service

MadeComfy, a Sydney-based startup helping property owners tap into the shared accommodation market, has attracted $1.1 million in funding from a quintet of investors including LinkedIn (ANZ & SEA) MD Cliff Rosenberg.

Launched in 2015, MadeComfy is a tech-enabled, end-to-end management service for home owners and property investors seeking to generate an income from short-term rentals, including bookings made through Airbnb and other sites. The shareconomy startup currently manages over 300 properties across Sydney and has seen its revenue increase by more than 500% over the last 12 months.

Crowdfunding to offer new equity opportunity

The concept of crowdfunding is nothing new to many micro and small businesses, and those operating in the startup sector, but the way it applies will change from September 29.

From that date, unlisted public companies with annual turnover and gross assets up to $25 million will be able to issue shares to the general public.

Hire crackdown ‘hurts others’

The PalaszczukThe Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk (pr. Pal-a-shay), Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts from 16.2.2015 Labor government has been accused of pandering to its union base with a legislative crackdown on labour hire companies that business warns is “ludicrously vague” and will unintentionally punish other industries.

The draft legislation before Queensland’s parliament will ­require mandatory licensing of labour hire companies and is ­designed to crack down on the ­exploitation of workers by “dishonest and shonky labour hire operators”, particularly in the fruit and vegetable farming ­industry.

Square deal gives it retail presence

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s payments start-up Square has teamed up with Vodafone Australia as they look to make deeper inroads into the local small business sector.

With more than 60,000 local businesses using one or more of its products, Square’s Australian country manager, Ben Pfisterer, told The Australian that the partnership with Vodafone added to his company’s arsenal as it looks to expand its share of the market.

Can you afford to skimp on your payroll?

It would be fair to say that payroll is one part of running a business that managers don’t often think about. That is, until something goes wrong. A poorly-managed payroll opens the possibility for numerous unfortunate outcomes. One example is fraudulent activity, such when a senior member of the finance team at the electronics retailer Clive Peeters stole nearly $20 million in 2009.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then that many organisations have chosen to outsource their payroll functions third party providers — some of whom offer the service for free in exchange for the data their clients’ payrolls contain.

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

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