First 5000 & the NSW economy

| October 25, 2010

On Wednesday 20 October 2010 I had the pleasure of being invited to say a few words at the launch of First 5000.

I was actually standing in for the Minister for Small Business Frank Terenzini, who had to attend to some urgent business at the last minute. It was a great pleasure, because First 5000 ties in perfectly with my normal role.

This blog is based on the address I gave on the day.

I’d like to congratulate the team at Global Access Partners for this innovative digital portal.  Certainly, as we heard from the other speakers at the launch; medium sized enterprises, the group First 5000 targets, represent 25% of GDP.  

Coincidentally, Sydney also represents 25% of GDP. So that gives you a pretty good illustration of the importance of those medium sized businesses, which are First 5000 companies. I’m pretty sure we can’t just add the 2 together and get 50% of GDP, it would be nice if we could do that, but as those of you who know statistics know – that’s not quite the way it works!

We also heard of the tremendous challenges that medium sized enterprises face everyday and their need for access to credible, practical advice.  Being time poor is a common issue for small and medium sized businesses alike. How do you get the information in a format that doesn’t waste your time, that delivers it exactly as you want?

That’s part of the type of activity that we’re responsible for in State & Regional Development, as well as investment attraction. 

Another issue that we are really keen to be pushing as a State government is helping businesses be innovative.  That spirit of entrepreneurialism and innovation is absolutely crucial to the Australian economy; and crucial to the NSW economy. 

And at no time is that more relevant than it is now with the dollar at parity.  Those of you who operate in NSW would know that we are not a resource rich state – apart from coal which is our largest export. We are a very diversified economy.  Education is our second largest export. 

So what we need to do in NSW is encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Because if you’re a large commodity producer, commodity prices are increasing – which is why the dollar is rising – but if you’re exporting any product other than commodities you’re at a disadvantage with where the dollar is at the moment.  Or if you’re a large and significant producer in NSW and you’re competing against imports then you’re at a disadvantage.  So the future for the NSW economy very much relies upon having innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

We in Industry and Investment provide support through a number of programs. We maintain a state-wide network of business advisory services in 14 locations across the state to supply information and support for new and existing businesses.  We provide a number of themed business events such as Manufacturing Week and Small Business September.  We have incentives to encourage business to establish and expand their operations in NSW and Sydney. 

As well as facilitating some of those activities. We support small and medium sized enterprises wishing to start to export through a range of export development activities including trade missions and advisory boards and market visits. Last year we opened 4 overseas offices. 

For more information about those services I just suggest you go to the website and you’ll be able to find all the details.

These are all activities which I think tie in very nicely with what I think First 5000 is trying to do, and I can assure you that NSW Industry and Investment will be looking to have a very strong partnership with First 5000 and with its member companies.  

I’d also like to draw your attention to two recent publications which I think are critical for First 5000 community.

One is the NSW State Plan which looks at what our economy will look like in 2020.

The other is the NSW Business Sector Growth Plan, which  was launched by the Premier Kristina Keneally at the Forbes CEO Global Conference just a couple of weeks back.

What the Business Sector Growth Plan does is set out a series of growth strategies and priorities across the 11 key industries for NSW.  So it looks at what’s the competitive advantage for NSW, what are the opportunities for growth, and what are the specific things the NSW government is doing to help.

So these are some of the initiatives that the government’s taking. So anyone in First 5000 operating in NSW would really need to know about some of that vision. And our views about some of the of the 4 key mega trends that are likely to impact upon the NSW economy. 

It’s worthwhile mentioning what those 4 mega trends that we’ve modelled in to that research are:

  • ICT and the impact of the digital economy.

  • An assumption that moving forward we’ll have a price for carbon or a low carbon economy.

  • Demographic factors such as the ageing population and the declining birthrate.

  • The developing economies of China and India. 

We’re projecting that over the next 10 years the NSW Economy will grow by 30% over current levels. The workforce won’t grow to the same extent in percentage terms, which is a good thing because it means that we’re improving productivity; but the workforce is projected to grow from 3.5 to 3.9 million people.

In conclusion I’d like to reiterate our congratulations to Global Access Partners on this terrific initiative and I’d just like to assure you that we’re looking forward to a very strong partnership between Industry and Investment NSW and First 5000.