Working in Parallel

Large and Small Businesses Succeeding Side by Side

A new paper by the Business Council of Australia highlights the shared interests of large and small businesses, exposing vast common ground on which progress can be made in strengthening Australia’s economy.

Releasing the paper today at the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC) conference in Sydney, BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey said Working in Parallel: Large and Small Businesses Succeeding Side by Side was developed to provide another perspective on the relationship between businesses of different sizes.

“We hear a lot about the differences and tensions between large and small business but there is little airtime given to how much we work together, contribute to each other’s success and jointly contribute to Australia’s overall prosperity,” said Ms Lahey.

“Summarising the shared experiences of large and small businesses in Australia, the paper looks at how they have succeeded in parallel over the past decade, their deep interconnection through business exchange, and the complementary roles they play in strengthening our overall economy.”

For example:

  • A significant part of each sector’s success comes from their transactions with the other. As suppliers and customers, large and small businesses generate around $474 billion income each year through transactions with each other.
  • They contribute to the economy in complementary ways determined by their different strengths. For instance, while small business is more adaptable and responsive to market developments, large businesses can scale up for major projects.
  • Both large and small businesses identify many of the same reform priorities needed to make them more resilient. These include improved public infrastructure, less red tape and tax reform.

Working in Parallel uses case studies to illustrate different ways and reasons large and small businesses connect with each other. These include interactions between large Australian companies and small Indigenous enterprises certified with AIMSC.

According to AIMSC’s Chief Executive Natalie Walker, corporate Australia’s engagement with Indigenous businesses is contributing to the growth of a vibrant and prosperous new sector that will provide economic development opportunities well into the future.

“As well as being commercially beneficial to both parties, the purchasing organisations are able to take advantage of the innovative goods and services offered by the Indigenous businesses, whether it be new inventions or a different take on existing services,” she said.

Peter Anderson, Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) whose membership includes some 280,000 small businesses, welcomed the BCA’s new paper, saying it highlights many of the shared challenges facing the small and large end of town.

“Clearly, small and large business is united in our endeavour to see ongoing economic reform,” said Mr Anderson.

“The detail and emphasis may not always directly align, yet a competitive and incentive driven taxation system, smaller government, deregulation and a flexible labour market are the underpinnings that all of business is committed to.

Working in Parallel illustrates the importance of pursuing productivity-enhancing reforms and the contribution that businesses of all sizes can jointly make to the national economy.”

Working in Parallel: Large and Small Businesses Succeeding Side by Side (PDF)