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Small business support

How we support small business

Some of the ways the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) supports small business are:

Supporting mental health and wellbeing

Small business mental health strategic planA resource to help you support good mental health in the workplace

Paying small business within 30 days

Australian Supplier Payment Code: An initiative for large businesses to sign up and pledge they will pay small business within 30 days.

Supporting business through infrastructure disruption

The Victorian small business engagement guidelines for project managers undertaking infrastructure work to assist them in minimising the impacts on small businesses.

A Guide to managing disruption for small business to help problem solve issues with disruption.

Small Business Friendly Council initiative

An initiative developed by the VSBC in partnership with local councils to create a fair and competitive trading environment for Victorian small businesses.

Engagement

We engage with Victorian small businesses through our various communication channels. We encourage you to:

  • visit our Events page for upcoming events
  • subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter for small businesses
  • follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube
  • read our website
  • attend our webinars (informative digital sessions) to build your knowledge in areas such as retail leasing, commercial disputes and how the VSBC can help, franchising and unfair contract terms.

Other support agencies

It can be hard to know which government agency to talk to, so we’ve created a handy list of state and federal government agencies which support Victorian small businesses.

Small Business Victoria (SBV)

Who: SBV offers low cost and local assistance to Victorian businesses to help them start their business, increase their productivity or reach new local and international markets.

What: Provide advice and information to help identify business goals, anticipate change, and plan for growth. SBV can provide advice on understanding marketing, business planning, improving your profitability, improving your strategic business and employee management skills.

How: SBV provide a range of resources for small business, including:

  • workshops
  • Starting a business toolkit
  • the Small Business Bus; a mobile office that tours Victoria
  • information about grants
  • E-newsletter
  • SBV helpline

Visit Business Victoria

Contact 13 22 15

Fair Work Ombudsman

Who: The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an independent statutory agency responsible for ensuring compliance with Australian workplace laws and educating employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities at work.

What: FWO provides information about Australia’s workplace relations system.

How: The FWO website contains information and resources for small business, including:

  • Getting started: ‘The Fair Work Handbook’ (the basics, hiring employees and registering for an account)
  • Record keeping and pay slips
  • Finding the right pay
  • Calculating leave
  • Managing employees
  • Ending employment
  • Auditing your payroll regularly
  • Small Business Helpline
  • Useful resources: Pay and Conditions Tool, Online courses, templates and guides

Visit Fair Work Ombudsman

Contact 13 13 94 (Small business helpline)

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

Who: ASIC is an independent Commonwealth Government agency that regulates business, financial markets and financial services in Australia.

What: ASIC assists small business by regulating companies, financial markets and providers of financial services and consumer credit in Australia and managing the registration of business names.

How: ASIC helps small business to:

  • register a company or business name
  • renew the registration of a company or business name
  • deregister a company or cancel a business name
  • report misconduct by a financial product or service provider
  • verify information about other businesses by checking ASIC’s registers

Visit The Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Contact 13 00 300 630

The Australian Tax Office (ATO)

Who: The ATO manages and shapes the tax and superannuation systems that support and fund services for Australians.

What: The ATO’s Small Business Engagement and Support Team provide educational information to help small business understand and interact with the tax and super systems.

How: The ATO provides:

  • Face-to-face delivery of tax education workshops
  • Online assistance: ATO Online services, Business Portal and Manage ABN Connections
  • ATO app
  • Live chat service ‘Small business assist’
  • Small business newsroom email service
  • Tools to help small business: employee contractor decision tool, Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, Superannuation guarantee charge statement and calculator tool, Taking on an employee checklist and ABN lookup
  • Learning resources: Small Business Showcase, Small business workshops, Small business webinars, ATO TV

Visit the Australian Tax Office (Business self help)

Contact 13 72 26

Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)

Who: AFCA considers complaints that previously would have been handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. We are the dispute resolution scheme for financial services.

What: The role of AFCA is to assist small businesses to reach agreements with financial firms about how to resolve their complaints. They are impartial and independent and do not act for either party to advocate their position. If a complaint does not achieve resolution between the parties, they will decide an appropriate outcome.

How: AFCA’s services are available to small businesses of less than 100 employees whether a primary production business or otherwise, including:

  • a sole trader
  • a partnership
  • an incorporated business

The types of complaints we can considered include:

  • Credit, loans and finance
  • Insurance
  • Banking payments and transactions
  • Investments and financial advice
  • Superannuation

Disputes must be with a financial institution that is an AFCA member, within the threshold requirements and be within the monetary jurisdiction.

Visit the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

Contact 1800 931 678

AUSINDUSTRY

Who: AusIndustry is the Australian Government’s business service delivery arm. They provide services and advice to help business of all sizes and sectors to start, run, innovate and grow.

What: AusIndustry provide information about:

  • Starting a business: registration, licensing information, business and marketing plan templates
  • Running a business: finances, employing and training staff, advertising, social media and conducting research
  • Exiting business: when to sell, how to close, what your business is worth and all business with information and referrals to improve their business sustainability and better manage their business

How:

  • A National Contact Centre providing small business with information and referrals to improve their business sustainability and better manage their business
  • National Outreach Network providing face-to-face service with experienced business advisors and facilitators, regional managers and customer service managers
  • Grants and assistance tool providing support, funding, assistance packages and loans for your business from all levels of government (Entrepreneurs’ Program, R&D Tax Incentive)

Visit business.gov.au 

Contact 13 28 46

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Who: The ACCC’s primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with Australian competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws – in particular the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The ACCC do not get involved in individual disputes, however, provide guidance to small businesses and help them understand their circumstances and the relevant legislation.

What: The ACCC provides information and guidance on:

  • Anti-competitive behaviour
  • Business rights and protections
  • Unfair contract terms
  • Treating customers fairly
  • Country of origin claims
  • Industry codes
  • Franchising
  • Collective bargaining and boycotts
  • Product safety
  • Protecting your small business

How: To help small business the ACCC provides:

Visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Contact ACCC Small Business Helpline 1300 302 021

Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA)

Who: AFSA is an Australian Government agency within the Attorney-General’s portfolio. AFSA administers Australia’s personal insolvency and personal property securities systems.

What: The AFSA provides small business assistance and advice with:

  • Financial assistance and insolvency
  • Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

How: The AFSA provides:

  •  a way for small business to protect your business when buying, selling, leasing or hiring out goods or selling valuable goods on consignment, and
  • advice to business on: bankruptcy or facing bankruptcy, inability to pay debts, and owed money.

Visit the Australian Financial Security Authority 

Contact 1300 364 785

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

Who: VCAT is a tribunal that hears and decides civil and administrative legal cases in Victoria, Australia.

What: If a mediation is undertaken at the VSBC and an agreement is not reached, the matter can be taken to VCAT. In these cases either party must request and obtain a certificate signed by the Victorian Small Business Commissioner. (If the mediation was held under the Small Business Commission Act 2017, no certificate is required to take the dispute to VCAT.)

How: VCAT can hear disputes that are also covered by the VSBC, including disputes under the Retail Tenancies Act 2003, Small Business Commission Act 2017, Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005, Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011, and the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industries Act 2017.

These disputes include:

  • injunction applications (an order that stops a party from doing something, or makes a party do something)
  • relief from forfeiture of lease applications
  • recovery of rent and outgoings in arrears
  • rent review disputes
  • whether options to renew have been exercised
  • recovery of key money
  • damages to leased premises
  • compensation for interference or disruption to trading

Visit the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Contact 1300 01 8228

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

Who: Consumer Affairs Victoria provides free advice and information for businesses and consumers to help them understand their rights and responsibilities under fair trading legislation, including the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

What:

  • review and advise the state government on consumer legislation and industry codes
  • advise and educate consumers, tenants, businesses and landlords on their rights, responsibilities and changes to the law
  • register and license businesses and occupations
  • conciliate disputes between consumers and traders
  • enforce and ensure compliance with consumer laws

How:  Provide information and advice about:

  • refunds, repairs and returns
  • warranties against defects
  • problems with services
  • online shopping
  • product safety
  • how to identify and deal with scams
  • produces an online resource ‘Better business toolkit’

Visit Consumer Affairs Victoria

Contact 1300 55 81 81

Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

Who: The Australian Government’s Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business (DESSFB) is responsible for national policies and programs that help Australians find and keep employment and work in safe, fair and productive workplaces.

What: The Department can help small business to find staff for established businesses or offer the New Business Assistance with NEIS program to people wanting to start their own business.

How: The Department through a local jobactive provider can assist business finding staff by providing:

  • screened and job ready candidates
  • pre-employment training and work-related equipment
  • opportunities to trial a candidate to see if they are the right fit for your business
  • support while new employees settle in
  • access to wage subsidies if you recruit an active job seeker
  • and retain an eligible job seeker

DESSFB also manages the New Business Assistance with NEIS program for individuals not employed or undertaking further education or training who are interested in running their own business.

Visit Department of Employment, Skills Small and Family Business

Contact 13 17 15

Industry Capability Network (ICN)

Who: ICN is a not-for-profit organisation whose primary aim is to maximise opportunities for Victorian industry in local and international supply chains.

What: ICN Victoria works closely with project owners to identify suppliers and service providers who are best equipped to meet the requirements for hundreds of projects across Australia and New Zealand.

How:  ICN has established the ICN Gateway

The ICN Gateway is a national online system that allows suppliers to browse and register interest in projects and work packages, helping project managers with the supplier registration process.

Visit the Industry Capability Network

Contact (03) 9864 6700

INNOVIC

Who: INNOVIC is a not-for-profit organisation providing a range of practical, hands-on services to innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small to medium enterprises (SME) to turn good ideas into viable businesses.

What: INNOVIC helps with every aspect of the commercialisation process from the idea to market. It works with people aiming to start businesses in all industry sectors: technology, online services, health, medical, fashion, food, lifestyle and environment.

How: INNOVIC provides a range of services including:

  • the Opportunity Café – a workshop to identify and create new businesses
  • training, seminars and events, providing assistance on topics such as
    • commercialisation consultation
    • IP assistance
    • patent searches
    • grant match service
    • product and business development
    • prototyping
    • design and branding
    • market research
    • product presentations
    • business plans
    • marketing
    • licensing
    • negotiation

Visit INNOVIC

Contact (03) 8060 3504

WorkSafe Victoria

Who: WorkSafe is responsible for improving workplace safety. It does this through implementing comprehensive constructive compliance strategies for businesses, focusing on information, education and incentives, while educating on enforcement, investigations, prosecutions and penalties.

What: WorkSafe provides tools and information to help you understand your obligations and find practical ways to reduce health and safety risks in your workplace.

How: WorkSafe offers small businesses a free safety consultation service delivered by an independent occupational health and safety (OHS) consultant. The consultant will come to your workplace, help identify hazards and provide a practical safety action plan.

WorkSafe also provides the workwell program which aims to make mental health and wellbeing a priority in the workplace.

Visit WorkSafe Victoria

Contact 1800 136 089

MyVictoria

Who: MyVictoria is an online tool that gathers and combines data to help small to medium businesses make informed decisions, generate new ideas and identify new business opportunities.

What: MyVictoria provides data on markets, businesses and opportunities throughout Victoria in visual formats like maps, graphs and charts.

How: MyVictoria delivers information that’s helpful to small business including:

  • demographics and industry data to build a comprehensive snapshot of your market, your industry, customers and competitors to uncover new opportunities
  • interactive maps to view key features like schools, hospitals, planned traffic disruptions and more.

Visit MyVictoria 

Contact 13 22 15

Global Victoria

Who: Global Victoria supports Victorian businesses to connect with international markets for the prosperity of Victoria.

What: Global Victoria helps Victorian businesses to find international markets through trade missions and Invest Victoria, which connects international investors with businesses in Victoria.

How: Global Victoria provides a range of services such as:

  • taking your business to international markets to explore business opportunities
  • creating in-market connections with international buyers and business leaders
  • providing market intelligence and industry insights
  • facilitating export ready training via the Export Skills program
  • running workshops and webinars about emerging export trends.

Visit Global Victoria

Contact  (03) 9651 9248

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