Tech grants available for small businesses

Emily Swift, Max Schofield, Jo Burston and Sean Casey encourage small businesses to apply for the Optus tech grant. PICTURE: CONTRIBUTED

Burnett small businesses are invited to apply for a grant which will help them adopt new technology into their business.

The Optus Business Plus Tech Grant is set to help small businesses evolve and address the challenges in the current economic climate.

It is part of a national initiative that will see $30,000 in tech grants available to small businesses in the Burnett Valley region and allow them to apply for one of two 1:1 business mentorship opportunities available nationally.

Sean Casey, VP Optus Business, Enterprise and Business representative said the tech grants were a way owners could ‘future-proof’ their business.

“Optus recognises that the current economic landscape is challenging for many Aussie small businesses and we see tech grants and mentorship opportunities as a way to not only support SMB’s today, but future proof them by providing technology solutions and knowledge to continue to evolve their business in the way they want,” he said.

“Optus Business Plus was built with customer feedback front and centre and is designed to support business owners in Burnett Valley by integrating flexible and modular business technology solutions designed specifically for SMBs.”

Two small businesses will be selected to receive a 1:1 mentorship session with one of two leading business mentors – Jo Burston, founder and CEO of Inspiring Rare Birds, and Jamal Elsheikh, One Love Australia founder – and a $5,000 tech grant.

A further 20 SMEs will win $1,000 tech grants to support their business in adopting and evolving through tech.

“Support and building a community around you when in business is crucial,” Jo Burston said.

“I am excited to team up with Optus Business to work with Burnett Valley small businesses by providing advice and learnings from my own business career.”

The timing of the grant comes as research conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals rising inflation (42 per cent) and reduced consumer spending (41 per cent) are the two biggest concerns for SMBs in Australia, with many looking to cut costs or pay themselves less to negate this.

It also revealed SMBs, which account for 97.5 per cent of all businesses in Australia, have reported a lack of understanding about the benefits of new technology (42 per cent) and identified the needs for internal skills and training (39 per cent) as the greatest barrier to upgrading their technology and finding new efficiencies.

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