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Government Assistance for Small Business

Article written by Veechi Curtis

You’re paying out all these taxes, so you may as well get something back. The quality of the advice is luck of the draw: Some advisers are great, others are a bit dodgy. However, the government advice is free and can often be just what the doctor ordered. Here’s a summary of what advice is available and where.

  • The wild west. There are lots of Business Enterprise Centres in Western Australia. They offer advice on finance, marketing, business planning and regulations. Phone 1800 199 125 or go to www.sbdc.com.au.
  • Tassie tigers. There are fourteen Business Enterprise Centres in Tasmania, offering business information services and a range of free seminars. Visit http://www.beca.org.au/ for a list of addresses and contact phone numbers.
  • The Top End. The Territory Business Channel (http://www.tbc.nt.gov.au/ or phone 1800 193 111) provides business planning advice, information about various Department assistance schemes and business name and licence information. There’s also a Business Enterprise Centre in Darwin — visit http://www.becnt.com.au/ or phone (08) 8923 6100.
  • Brash and brazen. The NSW Department of State and Regional Development is a great central resource. Phone 1300 134 359 or visit http://www.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au/. From this Web site, there are links to over 50 Business Enterprise Centres (BECs) across the state.
  • Eureka and Ned. Business in Victoria is a central organisation based in Melbourne offering information and referral services for small business. An excellent Web site at http://www.business.vic.gov.au/  offers links to a whole load of business services, including business mentoring regional development. Alternatively, phone 13 22 15 to get through to the Victorian Business Line.
  • Don’t you worry about that! The best source of info in Queensland is http://www.business.qld.gov.au/ (phone 1300 363 711). There’s a whole range of online resources, plus access to training seminars and workshops.
  • The lost city. ACT Business & Industry Development (http://www.business.act.gov.au/) offer small business advice and also administer the Epicorp Incubator Program, which assists in commercialising scientific inventions. There’s also a Business Enterprise Centre in Queanbeyan, 02 6297 3121. Alternatively, Business ACT (1800 244 650) offers advice on licences and permits, small business courses and government incentives.
  • Home of the white pointer. The Department of Trade and Economic Development (visit http://www.business.sa.gov.au/ or phone 08 8303 2400) in South Australia offers great small business support and advice, including several Business Enterprise Centres, Regional Development Boards, a Centre for Innovation and support for local suppliers.
  • Across the Tasman. The main online resource offered by the NZ government is http://www.business.govt.nz/, but as well as this there are 32 walk-in business centres dotted around the country (known as the ‘biz’ network). Business advisers at these centres can help you access information, contacts, training and advice. The free phone contact  for the business centre network is 0800 424 946.
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