“Australia faces a tremendous economic challenge as we position ourselves in an increasingly competitive region,” said IPA chief executive officer Andrew Conway, speaking at the launch of the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre yesterday.
“The emergence of the Trump government in America comes with uncertainty over current and future free trade agreements, which may impact on our international relationships with other countries,” he added.
He said that to endure this volatility, Australia will need to rely on the fundamental role that small businesses play in the economy.
“Critical to this will be whether small business has the confidence to employ and to explore. Employing more people and exploring new markets will help ensure small business owners, their families and our communities are in a position to seize the growth potential,” Mr Conway said.
“Our stagnating productivity growth as a nation threatens our quality of life. One of the critical levers that government and industry must acknowledge and trigger is to unleash productive capabilities of small business,” he added.
With this in mind, Mr Conway revealed that this would be the focus of the IPA’s SME research centre.
“Research is about building a seminal body of evidence to support a proposition. Our proposition is how do we turn Australia into the best place in the world to start, run and grow a small business?” he said.
“Our vision for the research centre is that it becomes the credible voice for small business. That policymakers continue to come to us first for advice as a sounding board and we get it right.”