Director of Corporate Affairs at Sensis, Libby Hay addressed an audience in Hobart that had gathered for the announcement of the recipients of the Sensis Stepping Up Grant program.
Below is a transcript of Ms Hay's speech.
Good morning everyone and welcome to the announcement and celebration of recipients in the Sensis Stepping Up Grant Program.
In particular I would like to welcome:
Mr Adam Brooks, Tasmanian Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Trade.
Representatives of the Tasmanian Government.
- Colleen Reardon, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Trish Stagg, Hobart City Council and
- Nathan Dixon, Sensis
And the finalists in the Sensis Stepping Up Grant Program.
It really is great to be here today. When we first conceived the grant program and set about identifying the state where we would like to hold the pilot program we really didn’t know what to expect.
We knew we wanted to establish a program that helped small and medium businesses take that next step in their growth.
We know small and medium businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy and their contribution also supports the wellbeing of our nation.
We believed it was important that as Australia’s business marketing partner for small and medium businesses we give back and help make a difference.
And we hoped we could engage with a state government who wanted to achieve the same goals in assisting small and medium businesses thrive.
Our expectations have been well and truly exceeded.
Firstly, the success of this program would not have been possible without the support and financial contribution of the Tasmanian State Government.
In matching our investment, we are offering eight grants across four categories of $10,000 dollars each - totalling $80,000 dollars.
We had an overwhelming number of entries across the four categories of Customer Service; Innovation and Technology; Business Growth; and Start Up and Emerging Business.
Of the 645 applications received, 49 percent were for the Start Up and Emerging Business category while the most represented sectors were Hospitality and Tourism; Retail and Consumer; and Trade Services.
We were delighted at the response from Tasmanian SMBs – the depth, quality and range of applications demonstrates there is a thriving entrepreneurial mindset here in Tasmania.
Tasmanian small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and the passion demonstrated during this process affirms the talent, ideas, determination and commercial acumen held within this State.
What was also evident is that their ideas are not only focused on commercial gain but each in some way contributes back to the fabric of the Tasmanian community and economy.
I was lucky to be part of the selection process and thoroughly enjoyed meeting 10 of the 20 finalists at the interview stage.
The final decisions were not easy, I can assure you.
Which prompts me to thank our judges – Colleen, Trish and Nathan for their time and contribution to the process.
I’d now like to introduce Mr Adam Brooks, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Trade to say a few words and then we’ll get down to the serious part of today.