Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (11:57): My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Employment, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, the Honourable Jaala Pulford. The small business digital adaptation program launched by the Andrews Labor government is a significant leap in boosting the small and medium-sized enterprises sector in the state with its staggering $20 million package. Eligible businesses will be able to access a $1200 rebate for selected digital products. Some of the products that are available to businesses through this program include ecommerce, finance, website and digital business management tools. My question to the minister is: can the minister update me on how the small business digital adaptation program benefits the residents of the Western Metropolitan Region? The proposed program is designed to aid small businesses to adapt to the online retail ecosystem and is an impetus for the digital journey of a business. Registrations for the digital adaptation program are open until 28 February 2021.
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business):
On 13 September 2020, the Victorian Government announced the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program, a $20 million initiative to help Victorian sole traders, micro and small businesses in building their digital capability through off-the-shelf digital programs and workshops designed to help adapt to an online operating environment.
Victorian businesses from all industry sectors are able to apply and places are limited. Registered businesses will be able to trial selected digital products from suppliers who have partnered with the Victorian Government, then choose one of these products to purchase. Once businesses have purchased a product, they can apply for a rebate of $1,200 to access the product for 12 months.
The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program also offers free digital adaptation training and workshops to help registered businesses adopt and implement online tools in their business. Workshops are delivered across Victoria in face-to-face (subject to COVID restrictions) and online formats.
To support culturally and linguistically diverse communities in accessing the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program, materials are published in multiple languages including Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Somali and Vietnamese.
To date, the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program has received 1,428 registrations for digital product trials from businesses located in the Western Metropolitan Region, which includes the local government areas of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Moreland.
Further information on the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program and the Victorian Government’s full suite of business recovery support services and programs can be found at business.vic.gov.au or by contacting the Business Victoria Hotline on 13 22 15.