News Pulse for January 9, 2018

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

Calls for legal aid for small businesses as dispute resolution enters the spotlighty

Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell says Australia should consider giving small operators access to legal aid or other forms of financial support to fight legal disputes with bigger players, with the small business community marking access to justice as a top priority for 2018.

Carnell has previously signalled to SmartCompany her office will continue to focus on the difficulties small businesses face when entering legal disputes, and speaking to Fairfax last week, she said her office is examining the possibility of opening up legal aid to businesses as part of its research into small business disputes in Australia.

Blockchain marketplace startup CanYa raises $12 million in Australia’s second-largest initial coin offering

Blockchain-based services marketplace CanYa has completed Australia’s second-largest initial coin offering (ICO), raising $12 million in cryptocurrency Ethereum over a 30-day period via a crowdsale of its CAN tokens.

During that period, the 2015-founded startup also completed the acquisition of a majority stake in online bug bounty platform BountySource for an undisclosed amount, taking the platform’s 46,000 members under its wing in a move that CanYa co-founder Kyle Hornberg says is unprecedented in the ICO and cryptocurrency space.

Canva joins unicorn ranks

Sydney design technology firm Canva has become Australia’s newest unicorn — a billion-dollar start-up — raising $US40m ($51m) in a round that values the company at $US1 billion.

Canva chief executive Mel­anie Perkins, who started the company 10 years ago with Cliff Obrecht while studying at university, told The Australian she hoped to create one of the world’s most valuable companies and to use the platform as a force for good.

More Aussies getting a little on the side

ENTREPRENEURIAL Aussies are set to make 2018 the year of the ‘side hustle’, with improved technology enabling more people to turn a hobby or idea into a second income stream.

Recent research by accounting company Xero revealed 62 per cent of Australians are seeking additional income streams and nearly a quarter already have a side business on top of their regular income.

NAB listens to entrepreneurs about balance and revamps micro loan program

When Tomas Jajesnica was ready to embrace career change with a new business idea he hit a brick wall. His business plan for a franchise-style meditation service was solidifying but funding was impossible to secure.

“My capacity to get a loan was pretty much non-existent. I had a lot of personal debt. Nobody was keen to lend to me,” said Mr Jajesnica.

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