SMEs are confident about 2021, says study

Majority of small businesses expect they'll have recovered lost growth by the end of the year

SMEs are confident about 2021, says study


By Mike Wood

Aussie SMEs are feeling confident about their businesses in 2021, according to a study published by Prospa, one of Australia’s biggest SME lenders.

Researchers RFi Group spoke to 500 small businesses late in 2020 and canvassed their opinions on their own prospects, with 60% of those affected by COVID stating that they thought that they would recover to pre-pandemic levels before the year was out.

On top of that, brokers can be happy that 1 in 4 said that they would be looking to access finance in 2021, a marked increase on the number that expected to borrow in mid-2020.

“There are lots of positive indicators that should boost SME confidence going into the rest of 2021,” said Beau Bertoli, co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Prospa. “Unemployment has dropped to 5.8%, its lowest level since March 2020, GDP growth is looking good, and the vaccine rollout is underway and on track. The Federal Government has announced its $1.2 billion scheme to support the tourism sector and NSW just revealed a $51.5 million economic package to draw people back to CBD businesses and support jobs in accommodation, entertainment, and tourism.”

With JobKeeper ending and the SME Loan Scheme due to enter a third phase in June, it is expected that many SMEs will enter into some sort of financing to keep their businesses going when direct government support stops.

“The end of JobKeeper will be tough for some small businesses, and it’s important brokers speak to their clients about any potential impact on cash flow, but we generally view the end of the broader Scheme as reflecting a healthy recovery of the economy,” said Bertoli. “While we may experience shorter snap lockdowns like the one in Brisbane this week, it’s encouraging to see SMEs and their customers adapting so well. They’ve made it through a recession and the toughest trading conditions possible, and now they have the right processes in place.”

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