News Pulse for August 16, 2017

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

R&D Tax scheme gets a makeover

The federal government may still be pondering a formal response to the ‘Three F’ review of the R&D Tax Incentive that concluded nearly 18 months ago, but it has embarked on a plan to help make the scheme easier to understand.

The Department of Industry has announced plans to simplify the language and develop better processes to help tech companies better understand how to access the R&D tax scheme.

Crowd-sourced equity funding to open up for DIY funds

DIY super funds and other investors will soon be able to invest in start-ups and small companies through “crowd-sourced” equity funding platforms.

These are the minnow unlisted companies of which some, at least, if only they had access to capital, could go on to great things.

Why Australian startup founders are escaping to Singapore

Talk to anyone in an Australian startup and almost all will be keen to remind you how the federal government is still dragging its feet when it comes to supporting the sector.

Back in May, founders were quick to label the federal budget a “joke” after it appeared the government had all but abandoned its “innovation agenda”, choosing instead to support traditional industries.

Dick Smith believes Amazon will deal “incredible damage” to Australian SMEs, but JB Hi-Fi is ready for a fight 

Prominent entrepreneur Dick Smith has hit out at the “ultimate greed” of Amazon, sounding a warning about the potential damage the retail giant could do to Australian SMEs when it arrives on Australian shores.

Businesspeople right across the country have differing views on the potential effects of the online retail monolith on Australian businesses, and Smith is just one of the high-profile businesspeople to weigh in during the past week.

Building a successful start-up ecosystem

When it comes to start-up success, Australian tech wizards are increasingly making their mark both at home and abroad as they chase their dreams ‘over the rainbow’. And just like in the song, many are finding that, with the right support, “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”.

Of course, Dorothy’s trek along the yellow brick road has many parallels with the start-up journey, not least of which is the importance of banding together with other like-minded souls in pursuit of your dreams.

Boosting competition in banking | The Hon Scott Morrison MP

The Turnbull Government welcomes the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) release today of the discussion paper on a phased approach to licensing new entrants to the banking industry.

As announced at the 2017 Budget, the Government supports the implementation of a phased APRA licensing system to encourage new and innovative providers.

APRA’s proposed new approach to licensing authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) seeks to reduce barriers for new entrants while maintaining adequate safeguards.

Local firm claims ‘Australian-first’ for SMB cybersecurity

Australia’s Small Business Minister Michael McCormack joined local cybersecurity startup Cyber Plus to announce the launch of a cyber tool ‘bundle’ designed to protect SMBs from cyber attacks.

The Small Business Bundle is described as ‘the first of its kind’ in Australia, brings on board partner consultants from Deloitte Risk Services, BDO, Ernst & Young, Equifax, Minter Ellison, King & Wood Mallesons and Madgwicks.

Small businesses are still in the ‘letterbox marketing era’, says Salmat

Letterboxing remains the most popular marketing tool for Australian small businesses as most of them neglect online media, Salmat has found in a survey on SME marketing behaviour.

While just over half of Australian businesses with up to 25 employees plan to increase their spend, most lack the time or resources to plan and monitor their campaigns, putting them at a disadvantage to bigger and better resourced competitors, the direct marketing company found.

Strengthened competition law to benefit Aussie small businesses and consumers | The Hon Scott Morrison MP

The Turnbull Government has today legislated significant amendments to strengthen Australia’s competition law providing greater protections for small businesses and more choice for consumers by boosting innovation and opening new markets.

The amendments implement a key recommendation of the Harper Competition Policy Review to strengthen section 46 of the  Competition and Consumer Act 2010 , also known as the misuse of market power provision. The Harper Review found the misuse of market power law was not reliably enforceable and did not effectively target and deter anti-competitive conduct.

Competition reform victory

The Turnbull government yesterday chalked up a key legislative achievement, winning Senate support for sweeping amendments to competition law governing mergers.

These included the controversial change to section 46, banning companies from acting to lessen competition, which was opposed by both the Business Council of Australia and by Labor, but supported by small business lobbies and by the Nationals. The reform was backed in the Senate by the Greens and all crossbenchers, except for David Leyonhjelm.

How start-ups with $3m in capital could get their banking P-plates

Start-up businesses with $3 million in capital could qualify for a “restricted” banking licence under a proposal from the industry regulator designed to put more competitive heat on the big four.

As the federal government looks to shake up the concentrated banking industry, a discussion paper from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority proposes a revamp of the tough approval process for a banking licence.

Cash no longer king in Australia

The federal government should consider banning wages paid in cash and granting tax concessions for non-cash business models, according to KPMG.

Its submission to the Turnbull government’s Black Economy Taskforce also suggests another tax amnesty – this time for employers and/or workers if they come forward and admit they’ve taken illegal cash payments in the past.

Sydney fintech startup Spriggy raises $2.5 million to change the way parents give their children pocket money

Sydney-based pocket money management startup Spriggy has closed a $2.5 million funding round to help parents teach their children about finances and savings, after its co-founders left their corporate banking roles “to do more for their customers” than what the big banks were offering.

Co-founded in 2015 by Mario Hasanakos and Alex Badran, the mobile app allows children aged between 8-17 years to manage their pocket money with the help of their parents and is looking to capitalise on the growing consumer demand for fintech in Australia.

APRA to adopt ‘phased’ licensing for start-up banks

The prudential regulator will become more accommodating towards fintech start-ups that want to become banks, announcing a new “restricted” licensing regime that will allow new entrants to start operating before progressing to a full licence.

Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 said the new regime “forms part of the government’s fintech agenda to encourage challenger banks to enter the market”.

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