Small businesses given a hand with international trade

18th June 2015

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The launch of a new government project could be just what Australia's small businesses need to begin trading on a much larger scale. A number of recommendations have been put forward by the government,  which will improve standards for how both data and information is distributed across the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

"Data flows across APEC are vital to the growth and competitiveness of APEC member economies," noted Dr Bronwyn Evans, CEO of Standards Australia.

"We believe that the right standards infrastructure can support good regulatory practices and the growth of SME trade in the region."

One of the biggest problems faced by firms at the moment is the regulatory inconsistencies that exist across this zone, acknowledged minister for small business Bruce Billson. As a result, some companies are unable to get involved in exchanges on a global scale, which in turn could restrict their growth.

This follows the release of the Bentleys' The Voice of Australia Business Survey, which also showed how a lack of overseas investment is hampering corporate expansion.

Findings revealed that 87 per cent of Australian small and medium-sized businesses are not preparing their companies for foreign investment. Furthermore, almost half (48 per cent) were unaware of the existence of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

The need for business intelligence software could therefore become more crucial for firms, not least as the flow of data becomes more prominent throughout the APEC region. The role of data management and exchange will need to be addressed if Australian firms are to make the most of these new opportunities they are faced with.

A survey has been launched to identify where these opportunities lie, before policies are put in place to ensure they can be maximised. The APEC project is ultimately aimed at enabling companies to exchange ideas and learn from best practices across other nations.