The Effectiveness of Programs Helping MSMES in South Australia 

Associate Professor Chris Graves from the Adelaide Business School has been involved in a project commissioned by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet of South Australia to investigate the effectiveness of government programs targeting micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in South Australia. 

The aim of the research was to understand the dynamics behind government programs offered to MSMEs in South Australia, and to benchmark these programs to those offered interstate and internationally. This included a review of how the State Government currently supports MSMEs and an examination of how the suite of existing initiatives could be enhanced to deliver more effective support programs. 

The Research 

A/Prof Graves and his team analysed the BLADE dataset from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and reviewed academic, industry, and government reports on the MSME sector. In total, the review considered in excess of 450 different support programs, with the researchers also interviewing leading experts on support models for MSMEs. 

Analysis of the data highlighted that, relative to other states and territories, the sector’s contribution to the local economy is much larger in South Australia. The research also indicated that MSMEs are more likely to experience stagnant growth in South Australia when compared to similar enterprises in other jurisdictions, indicating a need for proactive support in order for local firms to scale up effectively. 

“The request from DPC was to evaluate the performance of the micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprise sector in South Australia to see how it compares to other states and territories.”
– A/Professor Chris Graves 

The Impact 

The researchers provided the Department of Premier and Cabinet with ten recommendations that could foster growth and prosperity for the MSME sector in South Australia. The State Government subsequently incorporated a new business growth strategy as part of their 2021-22 mid-year budget review. 

Some of the initiatives included: 

  • A $17.7 million commitment over four years to increase growth by improving the productivity of South Australia’s small businesses 

  • Changes to enable small businesses to transact more easily with the State Government 

  • Improved access for small businesses to government and credible non-government information and resources 

  • Increased funding and improvement to the SA Business Hub website and app, digital business portal, and multi-channel business concierge service.