Australian Services SMEs have come together to uniquely self-mentor one another in innovation, internationalisation, digitisation and growth.
Australian Services Roundtable (ASR) will provide support to small-to-medium enterprises who have managed to supersede start-up challenges but have been left afloat to navigate the big, wide multinational ocean.
ASR CEO, Alina Bain, said: “As the peak representative body of the services industry, we found SMEs are facing similar challenges, and those without support are finding it very difficult and isolating to grow their business.
This program acts as a buoy for SMEs to come together to workshop solutions, foster partnerships and broaden their focus from operational to strategic, and from domestic to international.”
“Having owned an SME for over eight years before entering Parliament, I understand the challenges in operating a small business and how essential it is to learn from your peers in the business community. The ASR’s SME Mentoring Program is a perfect example of innovation – growing businesses joining together to tackle modern challenges using their combined skills and experience.”
Federal Minister for Small Business, The Hon. Michael McCormack, MP.
The cost of the program is included in a special introductory ASR membership offer of $165 pa including GST.
You can register for the program by clicking above or via our events page below.
On October 31st, 2013 the ASR, in partnership with NICTA, CSIRO and the SmartServices CRC, ran an inaugural Services Innovation Workshop event.
The design of the event was to highlight significant and diverse innovation occurring within SMEservices sector firms and in particular reflect on the strong linkage to innovative use of digital technologies to drive leading edge services solutions.
Some key foundation issues that set the scene for the workshop:
• The services industries in Australia make up approx. 75 per cent of economic activity and provide approx. 80 per cent of local jobs.
• The services sector is critical to Australia’s future successful export growth, particularly into the Asia/Pacific region.
• Increasingly commoditised services are becoming trade exposed, which is creating a related threat to local employment.
• For Australia to succeed in the globally connected services world markets of the future it must focus on high-value services jobs and these are fundamentally underpinned by innovation.
• Sophisticated use of digital technologies, and the creation of new digital-led services leadership organisations, will be absolutely critical for high-value providers in the future.
Here are some of the key common messages from SME presenters at the Workshop:
• A key driver for the expanded use of digital technologies is a focus on improving the productivity and efficiency of services.
• That SME service providers are often creating a niche by doing something that much larger organisations can’t or won’t do.
• That collaboration (with other service providers and consumers) is essential to building a successful business model.
• That there is a strong element of data exchange and information as a service.
• And there is a need to think deeply about related issues of data ownership, provenance and permission to use.
Some related issues that came up during the SME presentations were:
• To be successful, you must know who your customers are. For example, if you are helping deliver government services, is your customer the government or citizens?
• Disruption ironically needs to start small. People naturally resist change
• There are many opportunities to turn business models on their head even if the incumbents don’t want to change.
• Finance is a continual challenge. Angel investors are often a good source of funding
• Educating customers is a challenge that should not come as a surprise and is often very time consuming
• Government has an opportunity to work more extensively and effectively with SME’s. They need to understand how engaging with citizens in different ways can deliver a win/win/win (Government/SME/citizen)
• A lot of data that the Government has actually belongs to citizens; we tend to forget that.
The ASR has developed the following top 5 recommendations as a result of the Workshop:
Recommendation 1: Services Innovation:
That all levels of Australian Industry, Government and Community organisations need to focus more aggressively on nurturing and encouraging services innovation through leadership and direct resourcing support.
Recommendation 2: Government and Services SMEs:
That all Australian Governments need to develop more effective ways to work collaboratively with innovative services sector SMEs. This encompasses new ways of thinking about related policy, procurement and program investments.
Recommendation 3: Encouraging higher levels of digital transformation in services
That it is critical for Australia’s future prosperity that there is a strong leadership focus on innovative use of digital technologies to drive services sector growth.
Recommendation 4: Services SMEs need willing partners:
That Australian public and private sector large organisations must make partnering with SMEs a key way to help support their services innovation activities.
Recommendation 5: Continued Research and Development in Services disciplines:
The effective application of innovation to the big challenges of the nation is often opened up by focused R&D. It is critical that R&D in services industries is viewed as a critical need area for the future with 75 per cent of the Australian economy being based on services – a relatively small 1 or 2 per cent improvement in services productivity can deliver many billions of dollars of improved GDP outcome.
ASR offers its thanks for the support of NICTA, CSIRO and the SmartServicesCRC.
Thanks to our venue partner
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