News Pulse for November 14, 2017

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

Consumer groups ‘extremely concerned’ over fintech ‘sandbox’

Consumer groups are raising the alarm over a plan to give financial start-ups a wider temporary exemption from key regulations, warning “unscrupulous” advisers may exploit the regime to sell consumers harmful products.

As part of a push to position Australia as a “fintech” hub, Treasurer Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 in this year’s budget unveiled plans to expand what is known as a “regulatory sandbox”.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for small business

Xero’s Small Business Insights, provided exclusively to Fairfax on Tuesday, showing a total of 61.1 per cent of retailers were in the black as of Christmas 2016, far above the 54.6 per cent of all Australian small businesses.

Start-ups told to reveal their funding as LaunchVic claims $790m raised in five years

Victoria’s official start-up body, LaunchVic, has called on emerging companies to be more transparent about capital raisings, in order to help overseas investors weigh up the funding potential of local players.

To spearhead the effort LaunchVic has published the first comprehensive overview into the state’s start-up investment landscape, covering the last five years, after the organisation was approached by US-based Startup Genome earlier this year, which said it could not find accurate information on the activity of the local start-up community.

Amazon is quietly building a supplier network for direct sales in Australia

Amazon is building a strong network of suppliers and actively recruiting third party sellers so it can launch both its own retail offering and its Australian Marketplace platform at the same time.

The US-based online retailer is planning a two-pronged attack on the Australian market, including consumer electronics, and a diverse base of independent sellers using Marketplace.

Small business sector welcomes fair contracts law

The Australian small business sector has embraced and welcomed legislation that protects them from unfair contracts.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, said a recent survey showed high awareness among small business operators of the unfair contract terms (UCT) legislation, which has now been in force for one year.

The East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 49.6 per cent had relied on the UCT legislation to negotiate fairer terms in the previous six months and the awareness level was 78.2 per cent.

ACCC has improved ‘tens of thousands’ of contracts for SMES since November 2016

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.) says its only at the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of its efforts to ensure small businesses are not subject to unfair contract terms.

Since 12 November last year, when unfair contract terms laws were extended to small business contracts, the ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. has taken successful court action against a major waste management company, JJ Richards & Sons Pty Ltd, for unfair contract terms including an automatic five-year rollover clause, a unilateral price variation term and a broad indemnity provision.

Delivered: 12 months of unfair contract term protections for small business | The Hon Michael McCormack MP

A YEAR ON small businesses no longer have to “take it or leave it” when negotiating contracts with big business thanks to the Coalition Government’s continued support for small business, Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack says.

“Small businesses are often disadvantaged when it comes to contract negotiations which is why the Coalition Government delivered on its promise to level the playing field,” Mr McCormack said.

Amazon discounts to compete with Wal-Mart

Global e-commerce giant Amazon has said it will launch in Australia with both an online retail and a “marketplace” offering, confirming for the first time its plan of attack for the local market.

But Amazon’s Australian country manager, Rocco Braeuniger, fell tantalisingly short of saying when the company would finally start trading here, telling a suppliers’ summit in Sydney on Monday morning only that it was “getting really, really, really close”..

Australian design software startup Canva just tripled its revenue

Australian graphic design software startup Canva has tripled its revenue to rake in $23.49 million for the 2017 financial year.

The cloud software provider, led by Business Insider Tech 100 entrepreneur Melanie Perkins, brought in $6.8 million in the previous financial year, representing a 245% climb in the space of just 12 months.

Signs of imminent Amazon launch

Amazon’s entry into Australia is imminent with some local items now listed for sale on its Australian website.

About 30 locally configured powerboards are listed on Amazon’s Australian website but they are marked “currently unavailable”. This has stoked expectations that the US retail giant might begin local online sales here as early as this month.

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