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26 June 2017

New international day recognises importance of small business

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has welcomed United Nations recognition of small business as a driver of employment and economic development.

Tuesday 27 June has been designated Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day.

A resolution was adopted unanimously at the UN General Assembly in April.

The assembly noted that more than 95 per cent of enterprises in the world are micro, small and medium-sized and they account for about 60 per cent of international private sector employment.

In Australia, Ms Carnell said small businesses employ almost half of all workers and create a substantial proportion of new jobs.

“Small business contribution to the Australian economy is higher than the OECD average,” she said.

“According to the OECD, small businesses account for 44 per cent of employment in Australia and we rank eighth out of 32 OECD countries on this measure.

“The number of small businesses which are exporting continues to increase.

“The tax contribution of small and medium enterprises is also significant and growing faster than big business.”

Ms Carnell has urged everyone to reflect on the importance of small business and make a gesture to show their support for the sector.

“If you’re buying goods or services on Tuesday, June 27, think about small business and if you can support one with your purchase, please do,” she said.

“Just about everybody knows somebody in small business. A word of thanks or acknowledgement to your local hairdresser, coffee shop or pharmacist would be warmly welcomed.”

Ms Carnell said she hopes the international day will become more widely recognised.

“It’s the first year, and I sincerely hope that governments, business organisations and communities will get behind it,” she said.


  • 2,116,708 small businesses at June 2016*
  • employing more than 4.7 million people (44 per cent of total employment at June 2016)
  • small business accounts for 35 per cent of Australia’s industry contribution to economic activity (as at 2015–16)
  • in 2013-14 there were 19,965 small business exporters, representing 44% of all business exporters, up from 38% in 2008-09
  • in 2012-13, small and medium enterprises accounted for 35% of company tax revenue, up from 32% in 2010-11.

* (based on ABS definition of 0-19 employees).