From XU Magazine, 
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Where opportunity lies: Australia’s new small business boom

April 26, 2022

Our latest report, Where opportunity lies: Australia’s new small business boom, arrives at a hopeful chapter in our nation’s pandemic journey. One that sees a surge in small business creation as Australians continue to adapt to uncertainty, and wish for greater stability in years to come. More than ever, entrepreneurs (both existing and emerging) are charting a new path in search of meaningful careers. From those who experienced redundancies to the burned out workers ditching the corporate grind; the next generation of resilient change-makers are leading our economy forward – and they’re not looking back.

Uncovering opportunities along the road to recovery

In a world navigating crises, the small business boom is a unique phenomenon. Reflecting on an economic event from recent history, the 2007 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) saw a decline in small business registrations. By contrast, this report uncovers a marked uptick since the pandemic’s arrival (among other disruptive global events), revealing a tale of two very different recoveries.

So what is leading today’s small business boom? Unlike the GFC, the pandemic redistributed demand. As borders closed and millions of people entered lockdown, sectors such as tourism and events had little option but to hibernate. But others thrived. Industries including healthcare and social assistance grew exponentially as our need for medical services spiked. So too did agriculture, with supply chain issues seeing more consumers turn to local producers.

Budding entrepreneurs met this demand by building businesses from their home offices, dining room tables and lounges – a concept made accessible by digital tools. In turn, the rapid acceleration of technology adoption helped new business entrants survive, and even thrive, through disruption and bumps in the road to pandemic recovery.

Introducing the next generation of entrepreneurs

With more people embracing tech to bring their ideas to life, the profile of Australia’s small business owners has shifted. We’ve welcomed greater numbers of young people, women, and those of different cultural backgrounds to the fold, with the knowledge and skills to create innovative and lasting companies.

A sustained rise in small business creation brings with it countless chances for growth, innovation and connection. But amidst ongoing local and global turbulence, the challenge for new businesses lies in understanding where opportunities exist, and how to embrace them to the fullest – two things this report intends to unearth.

Over the next decade, those courageous enough to take the plunge and start something of their own will collectively contribute over a million jobs and billions of dollars to our economy. From tradies and tax agents to emigrants, graduates and purpose-led professionals, the small business entrants of tomorrow hold almighty potential – because opportunity is theirs for the taking.

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