03/07/2018 - 13:41

$16.5m for small business advisers

03/07/2018 - 13:41

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Accounting firm RSM and Bunbury-based consultancy IPS have won the lion’s share of work under a new round of state government contracts to deliver the Business Local support program across regional Western Australia.

$16.5m for small business advisers
Business Advisory South West and Peel team Susan Lee, Davina Eden-Austen and IPS managing director Katina Law (back row) and Richard Jackson and Sana Turnock (seated).

Accounting firm RSM and Bunbury-based consultancy IPS have won the lion’s share of work under a new round of state government contracts to deliver the Business Local support program across regional Western Australia.

Starting this month, six advisory groups will deliver the free Business Local service over the next three years.

RSM has been awarded a $7 million, six-year contract to deliver the service in the Mid West, Gascoyne, Pilbara and Wheatbelt regions, extending a contract it has held since 2015.

IPS has been awarded a $4.2 million contract to deliver Business Local in the Peel and South West regions.

Other providers include Kimberley Small Business Support and the Esperance and Kalgoorlie chambers of commerce, with the total cost being $16.5 million over six years.

“A competitive tender process has resulted in the most suitable service providers being selected,” Small Business Commissioner David Eaton said.

As well as awarding new regional contracts, the state government’s Small Business Development Corporation has adopted a new service model for Business Local the metropolitan area.

Long-term contracts previously held by Business Station and Business Foundations have been replaced by a panel of 15 experts to deliver free workshops on specified topics, including digital literacy, financial literacy, strategic thinking, and contracting.

Mr Eaton said this would complement the SBDC’s free one-on-one advisory services to individual business operators.

The regional model has been fine-tuned so providers can focus on startups and existing businesses through one-to-one advisory services delivered through a variety of channels, including telephone and digital while also running workshops, seminars, and webinars.

Mr Eaton said this would increase the reach and efficiency of the service.

The IPS-run service will be known as Business Advisory South West and Peel and will offer services including business planning, web strategies, tax and financial advice, employment and HR issues, IT and communications and marketing.

It has partnered with several specialist firms, including accountants BHR Papalia, Southern Cross Austereo, IP Creative and IT firm Total Network Engineering.

IPS managing director Katina Law said the contract was a great opportunity to continue supporting businesses throughout the South West and Peel.

“There are some fantastic initiatives throughout both regions, and we’re very fortunate to be a part of driving those forward,” shesaid.

“We understand the challenges facing regional small businesses. We’re keen to help them adapt to change, grow and succeed.”

Fremantle-based Business Foundations has realigned its business after failing to renew its major SBDC contracts for the Peel and south metro regions.

It is one of 15 providers on the SBDC’s metro panel and continues to offer business advisory services on a fee-for-service basis.

More significantly, since the start of this year, it has been delivering the Growth program that had been run by Curtin University for some 20 years.

The Growth program is designed for small business owners and managers wanting to take an existing business to the next level.

In addition, Business Foundations continues to deliver the federal government’s Entrepreneur and NEIS schemes.

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