The Government has announced $20 million in funding for local and regional businesses to form ‘clusters’ to access larger markets including export markets.

This is a clear recognition by the government of the success of the Enterprise Co-operative model in enabling small businesses to develop and thrive. We are delighted that the government is providing money to continue the development of this business sector.

BCCM CEO Melina Morrison said, “The announcement of this funding is excellent news for Australian SMEs locked out of profitable global supply chains. ‘Clusters’ are another way of talking about co-operatives. In particular, we are talking about the extremely successful model of enterprise co-operatives supporting thousands of Australian small business owners, such as Hunternet, agri-giant CBH Group and AlmondCo.”

The Government’s announcement can be seen as an endorsement of the model, which allows small and medium sized businesses to scale effectively and access international markets while maintaining their independence and integrity.

According to Ms Morrison, it is crucial that government works with the sector to ensure the businesses formed are strong and have longevity.

“As we have seen with the government’s successful Farming Together program, the best results come when the sector is able to work with government to bring our expertise and experience to bear in creating strong, resilient enterprises. This is the best way to make sure government money is used effectively and efficiently.”

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) looks forward to working with the government to deliver this important business-enabling initiative.

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