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Update: NSW Events, Government & Young Business

You will recall in a blog post about 2 weeks ago, I wrote about my concern with the cancellation of Small Business events in NSW, in my post I referred to my major issue being with the process [or my lack of understanding of the way in which] the conclusion was arrived at which meant the cancellation of things like Small Business September.

Yesterday I met with the Small Business Commissioner and staff of the Small Business Minister’s office to gain a better understanding around this and talk about the Young Entrepreneur space as this represents a majority of our audience here at Shoe String. In summary I feel that the meeting was constructive, some very valid points were raised and the ideas I spoke about particularly around Young Business owners were listened to.

When it came to the events side of things what became apparent in our conversation was that although there were plenty of bums on seats at events and some great networking opportunities arose between business owners from attending these events, what was really lacking was the data that supported [either way] the real results these events were having on small business both short term and long term. As someone who relies heavily on data to make money from advertisers I can understand that a decision needed to be made and without hard evidence that supported the contrary one that made the most economic sense at the time prevailed. [Not unlike my decision to terminate the hardcopy of the magazine this year after our July issue]

I still maintained my stance that events are good for the small business community and that the recognition they provide to small business owners is important, but in this meeting I really wanted to move past the fact of what didn’t exist anymore, and start talking about what we could create to have a more engaged community in the future.

We then spoke about the side effect of “events” – one of the major things we spoke of was the continued need for a collaborative eco-system within the Small Business community – it is pleasing that the Small Business Commissioner is all for supporting an environment like this.

Obviously my passion lies in the Young Entrepreneur space, and I was really pleased to see a very open receptive approach to my ideas around how Young Business owners can work more intimately at a high level with NSW Trade and Investment, it is obvious that our generation has a very unique approach to the way we do business, we understand fast growth and multiple channels and touch points in sectors such as retail because of our exposure to new technologies, and are able to use these to our advantage when starting up.

We spoke today about a mutually beneficial, dynamic relationship between Young Entrepreneurs and government – over the next few weeks the Small Business Commissioner and her team will be determining what that may look like and will get back to us about next steps in bringing something to fruition where our young business community can really have an influence on the future of the small business landscape and inject fresh ideas as well as ask questions about things we may not be clear on.

We will keep you updated on this.

We also agreed to have a more open dialogue between our website and the Commissioners office – which is going to be extremely important over the coming 24 months, as the business landscape within our state begins to change dramatically.

Final Thought on Events:

As a wrap up, whilst I know many people are resistant to the absence of Small Business September, it also leaves in its place a HUGE GAP – and Gaps mean OPPORTUNITY – I have already heard some thoughts from various people and organisations in the Small Business space about some events and programs they would like to run. Yes something was taken away, yes it’s change, But no it is not the end of small businesses being able to network and build collaborative relationships. I also am hopeful that good quality events, that collect real data and proven results, will be endorsed by Trade and Investment moving forward.


[pictured: Small Business Commissioner, Yasmin King]

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