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Small business worth more than half a trillion dollars

26 June 2023 | By Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

The economic contribution of small business to the Australian economy has topped half a trillion dollars, according to a report released today.

Almost 98% of businesses in Australia are small businesses

The value of small business to the economy surged by 15 per cent in 2021-22 to $506 billion and accounts for one-third of Australia’s GDP.

The Small Business Matters report has been released to coincide with World Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day on 27 June.

The report also shows that Australia’s 2.5 million small businesses provide jobs for 5.1 million people and employ 42% of all apprentices and trainees in training – nearly double the amount supported by a big business.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and we celebrate the vital contribution they make to Australia’s prosperity, wellbeing, and community. This is a terrific opportunity to say thank you and show support to the small businesses who matter in our lives.

Statistically, the average small business owner is a self-employed man, aged 50, who works full-time and earns below the average full-time wage.

But the report shows female ownership is growing fast and accounts for 35 per cent of all small business owners – almost double the rate from the 1970s.

Mature age people are more likely to be a business owner than an employee. Nearly half of all small business owners are over the age of 50. The average age of a small business owner has been steadily climbing.

Just 8 per cent of small business owners are under 30. That’s half the peak for this age group of 17 per cent achieved in the mid-1970s.

Mr Billson said 60 per cent of small business owners, or 1.55 million people, were self-employed.

The report shows the flexibility of self-employment was a particularly attractive livelihood option for women and older people. Small business owners are more likely than the general population to perform unpaid childcare and have other caring responsibilities particularly for those with a disability, health condition or old age.

We need to replenish and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs, value self-employment and encourage and enable smaller enterprises and the livelihoods they make possible.

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