You could be forgiven for thinking that the Australian economic landscape is dominated by oligopolies.
Take one look around and all you can see are the same 4 banks, the same three supermarkets and a couple of petrol station chains.
So you might be surprised by The Treasury’s statistics that show, in 2015, 97% of all businesses were small businesses (defined as those actively trading with fewer than 20 employees).
But more than that, small businesses are major job creators; as of Sept 2016, their share of total employment was 44.8% (up 1.4% vs 2015) and output was 36% (up 2.6% vs 2015).
And while the total number of small businesses is pretty flat (2,066,523) in the last seven years, that number is in a shallow uptrend since 2012.
So, it’s pretty clear that ‘the little guys’ contribute a lot to the overall health of our economy. Indeed, small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy, generating more than 40% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
So why do so many Australians start small businesses?
Being your own boss is a big driver for people wanting to take the leap from salary to self-employed.
In fact, a recent survey of 1,000 Aussies by NAB Economics reveals that an entire third of those asked were interested in owning their own businesses, especially millennials.
Their most popular choices for a startup being cafes, retail, IT and personal services.
Another study done by REST Industry Super also revealed the restlessness of younger Australians who feel taken advantage of and uninspired by their current jobs.
59% of participants said they’d be willing to take a pay cut to work in an area they’re passionate about.
Also at the top of the list of reasons people wanted to be entrepreneurs are flexibility (59%) and freedom (59%).
Trends for business start-ups
The hottest Australian business startups are largely based online, which gives budding entrepreneurs access to a global market and offers customers a 24/7 platform to engage with.
And it’s easy to spot trends amongst them.
As social commentator and futurist, Bernard Salt was recently quoted as saying, “if you’re doing business in Australia, always look for a thread back to lifestyle".
"Does it enhance their lifestyle? If it does, Australians will grab it with both hands."
4 fast growing Aussie Businesses
1. A great example of this is Stylerunner
In a world where yoga tights have become the new jeans for women, this Aussie active wear company is booming.
2. Plugging into the sharing economy is also a popular growth area for new small business
For example Spacer: launched locally in October last year.
Spacer is a peer-to-peer marketplace for space, allowing people to rent out extra space in their homes or garages.
3. Making life easier through technology is another driver of new start-ups.
Yello - a new delivery service, powered by Uber-like drivers, for restaurants and fast-food businesses who want to outsource their deliveries offers convenience and choice for those too tired to cook.
4. Finally fashion online continues to grow with local businesses beginning to play in this space, which has until recently, been dominated by massive overseas companies.
HerFashionBox: a subscription service that ships its customers a box of premium beauty products and fashion accessories every season is an Australian venture.
Innovative and driven by passion – small Aussie businesses add value to our lives and our economy every day.