1304.5 - Stats Talk WA (Newsletter), Jun 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/07/2007   
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Client Interview

Lauren Stone from the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC)

Small Business in WA
Small businesses account for approximately 95% of all businesses operating in Western Australia (Counts of Australian Businesses, ABS cat. no 8165.0).

A business is generally regarded as small if it is independently owned and operated, if it is closely controlled by owners or managers who also contribute most, if not all, the operating capital, and the principal decision-making functions rest with the owners / managers. In most cases, small businesses have been identified for statistical purposes as businesses which employ less than 20 people, including non-employing businesses.

Considering the high proportion of small businesses operating in the state, it is vital that they are provided with services that assist them to develop and prosper and remain competitive.

The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) is the primary provider of information and guidance to new and established small businesses in Western Australia. The corporation provides specialist business advisory services and a variety of information workshops, as well as monitoring the impact of legislation on the small business sector.

The SBDC is committed to championing the cause of small business, developing programs and services to meet the needs of small business development, and maintaining and enhancing the independence, innovation and responsiveness of the SBDC.

SBDC’S Lauren Stone
SBDC Policy and Business Liaison Officer, Lauren Stone, is responsible for monitoring and collecting up-to-date and relevant statistical information relating to small businesses in Western Australia. This information is then used to enlighten the corporation, the Minister for Small Business and the broader community, assisting them to make informed business decisions.

Lauren states that having “reliable statistical information on small businesses is essential for the SBDC” and that they “use ABS statistics in a wide range of the SBDC’s activities”.

Lauren, who specialised in Entrepreneurship at University, is a member of the Economic Statistics Consultative Group (ESCG) officiated by the Western Australian office of the ABS. The group meets regularly on a quarterly basis and discusses the statistics behind developments in the WA economy.

Some of the key issues explored in recent ESCG meetings include the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and WA’s latest import and export trends.

Lauren emphasised the importance of the ESCG, explaining that it provides an ideal forum for State Government agencies to communicate and share information and to discuss their statistical needs.

Lauren says that the SBDC’s main source of business statistics is the ABS and that they use ABS releases such as Counts of Australian Business, Including Entries and Exits (ABS cat. no. 8165.0), Characteristics of Small Businesses (ABS cat. no. 8127.0) and Small Business in Australia (ABS cat. no. 1321.0) to offer guidance to small businesses.

With the latest 2006 Census statistics, Lauren says that the Marketing Research section of the SBDC will be able to offer accurate information to assist small businesses with their business decision making processes.

Lauren, who has fulfilled her role in the SBDC for over a year, entered the organisation via a graduate program. Outside of work, Lauren is a committee member for the Institute of Public Administration Australia WA Young Professionals Network, which aims to support, develop and promote young professionals in the public sector.