As NSW kicks off Back to Business Week we caught up with Minister Barilaro to ask him about his small business experience, current NSW Government small business initiatives as well as his personal vision for the future of startups and SME across New South Wales.

It certainly fills small business owners’ hearts with hope when the Minister for Small Business has walked in their shoes.   When John Barilaro was appointed Minister for Small Business in 2014 he brought with him 20 years’ personal experience running his family manufacturing business in Queanbeyan.

It’s this first-hand knowledge that continues to shape his approach to how the Government will engage with and support small businesses to drive economic growth and jobs across NSW, with Minister Barilaro commenting that ‘working in my family business gave me a deep appreciation for the hard work and dedication required to make a family business a success’.

Easy to Do Business trial

While opportunities for business are a priority it is hard for many small businesses to work on their business while they are burdened by an avalanche of red tape.  The good news is that the Government is currently conducting a trial in Western Sydney called Easy to Do Business.  This initiative will reduce form duplication and consolidate regulatory processes across different tiers of government to make it simpler and more efficient to start a business.

The trial is the first step in solving an issue that often overwhelms business owners.  “Customers currently have to deal with up to 13 agencies, 75 regulations, up to 30 phone numbers and 48 forms, which will be progressively reduced to one phone number and one form”, Minister Barilaro said.

Haymarket HQ and global trade opportunities

The NSW Government’s $300,000 investment through Jobs for NSW and its support for the set-up of Haymarket HQ will also assist SMEs and startups to leverage the language and cultural skills needed to penetrate Asian markets, with a focus on making the most of existing Free Trade Agreements with South-east Asia, China, Japan and South Korea.

It is Minister Barilaro’s belief that NSW is the most diversified economy and best placed to take advantage of Australia’s expanding free trade partnerships.

Business Connect program and Realise Business

Business growth and economic development will also be supported by the Government’s $30 million investment under the Business Connect program.  Realise Business and its advisory services will form a key plank of the rollout of this program across the Sydney region.

The state of New South Wales is currently leading the rest of the country when it comes to GDP growth, retail trade and business investment.  That means SMEs and startups are perfectly positioned to take advantage of strong economic performance.

Minister Barilaro’s vision for SMEs and startups

When asked about his personal vision for the future of startups and SMEs across New South Wales, Minister Barilaro notes that “NSW startups and SMEs should have no fear and reach for the stars.  Use all the access, platforms and programs available to you from Government to continue being the engine room of the economy – after all, small business is everyone’s business”.

You can find out more about Back to Business Week here and the advisory services and workshops provided by Realise Business under the Business Connect program here.