Australian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are optimistic about the ability to grow and innovate over the next 12 months, according to new research from Amazon Launchpad – Amazon.com.au’s program for Aussie startups and entrepreneurs.
The Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report, commissioned by Amazon Australia, explores current sentiment amongst Australian SMB owners, how they evolved their businesses while in lockdown, and their plans as Australia travels the road to recovery.
The research found that isolation helped 28% of SMBs innovate for the future, with more than a third (35%) refreshing their business plan, while 38% used the time to focus on creativity.
A remarkable 92% of Australian SMBs said they feel optimistic for the future.
During the lockdown, approximately a quarter of SMBs also said they were able to innovate by exploring new revenue streams or launching online. Around one in six said they innovated by creating new products or transforming their products while 20% – one in five – planned for or built a new business or product strategy to move forward.
Other key Amazon Launchpad Innovation Report findings include:
- A third (34%) said lockdown helped them develop their digital strategies for future growth.
- Four in five (84%) SMBs said there was an increased sense of support for local businesses, while three quarters (76%) said they had received messages of encouragement from customers.
- SMBs said they most need funding to put towards their digital presence (15%), growing business into new countries (15%), staffing (15%), creativity (11%), e-commerce (10%), with $20,000 being identified as the level of funding to have an impact with these areas (84%).
Innovation grants launched
To support that innovation, Amazon Australia has created the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants for Australian startups, entrepreneurs and SMBs. Five grant packages will be awarded, valued at more than $80,000 each.
Chadd Ciccarelli, Head of Launchpad, Amazon Australia said more than a quarter of SMBs (29%) identified a lack of available funding is the biggest barrier to innovating or growing the business for the remainder of 2020.
“More than half (55%) lacked guidance or mentorship during this time. We hope that the new Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants will catapult a new wave of small businesses who have evolved during this time to continue creating and transforming products,” he said.
“In the first year since launch, we’ve worked closely with many start-ups, entrepreneurs and small business owners to launch cutting-edge products on Amazon Launchpad as part of Amazon.com.au.
“Over the past few months in particular, we’ve seen Australian SMBs lean even further into innovation to grow their businesses and we’re looking forward to seeing how the grants will enable these creative minds to further this innovation for the future.”
Each Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants package is worth more than $80,000 and includes a $20,000 cash grant, Amazon marketing support, AWS Activate credits, and exclusive access to mentors such as Amazon leadership and entrepreneur experts from Australia and HQ in Seattle; time with successful e-commerce savvy Australian SMBs; and insights from angel investors in the venture capital community.
Amazon Launchpad has recruited Carl Hartmann, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of non-alcoholic company Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits; and Renae Smith of healthy baking goods brand, Bake Mixes, to help judge the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant recipients.
Hartmann said he knows now how exciting yet tough the startup journey is, especially this year with the economic impacts of the last few months.
“I’m honoured to work with Amazon Launchpad and award the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants to help small to medium businesses across Australia grow,” he said.
“I know the grant packages will go a long way in funding continued innovation as we’re on the road to recovery.”
Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants are open now and close on Monday, August 24, at 11.59pm. Applications can be found at Amazon.com.au/launchpad.
The five Amazon Launchpad grant recipients will be announced in September 2020.