Victorian SMEs eager for growth on Freedom Friday

Small business owners are encouraging more people to buy local

Victorian SMEs eager for growth on Freedom Friday


By Micah Avry Guiao

Four in five Victorian small and medium enterprise (SME) owners are confident that the economy will quickly bounce back as regulations ease this Friday, according to the latest research by Westpac.

This burst of optimism comes after more than half of SMEs faced supply chain disruptions and sought financial support to account for non-staff operating expenses such as rent and utilities.

Now nearly 70% of local businesses feel prepared enough to deal with restrictions, which was ranked as the biggest challenge in the coming months, followed by fewer sales reductions and supply chain disruptions.

Shane Howell, managing director for business lending at Westpac, said that seven in 10 SMEs are expecting an increase in sales over the next 12 months. Over a quarter of them also plan to bring more variety in product offerings.

“Encouragingly for businesses coming out of restrictions, the Westpac card tracker data released this week also shows national card transactions at a three-month high, with activity normalising quickly in NSW after restrictions lifted, particularly for heavily impacted sectors such as hospitality,” Howell said.

Moreover, four in five business owners noted an increase in customer interest for Australian-made goods to stimulate the economy, while third of them believe shopping local will be the best way for them to recover.

“While it has been a tough period, two in five business owners also believe the pandemic has allowed their businesses to save money, which they will use for business development and investment,” Howell said.

On the other hand, Howell advised struggling business owners to turn to the federal government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme, where they can access low-rate loans with the option of deferring repayments to give them more breathing space. 

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