Micro but Mighty: NRMA Insurance report highlights the impact of the fast-growing microbusiness sector

Micro but Mighty: NRMA Insurance report highlights the impact of the fast-growing microbusiness sector

NRMA Insurance and the McKell Institute today launched a new report that highlights the significant contribution of microbusinesses[i] to the Australian economy and the community, and the opportunities to boost the sector into the future.

The Micro but Mighty: Magnifying Microbusiness in Australia report, commissioned by NRMA Insurance, found that microbusinesses (which typically employee up to four people) make up 89% of all businesses in the country and is the fastest growing sector of the small business community.

The microbusiness sector increased in size by 14% over the past four years to 2.28 million businesses, employing 2.9 million Australians.

The report examines the changing nature of microbusinesses in Australia, how the COVID pandemic turbocharged the sector, and estimates that the economic contribution of microbusinesses is now greater than small business.

NRMA Insurance Chief Executive Officer Julie Batch said the report underscores the value of microbusinesses to the nation.

“Microbusinesses start with a passionate owner, a fantastic idea and thrive on community support. There are incredible opportunities for this sector, not only in economic contribution to the nation but also the positive impacts many of these businesses have within their local communities,” Ms Batch said.

The unique challenges for microbusiness owners identified in the report include limited access to resources and specialist knowledge, the lack of a formal definition of microbusiness, the ongoing threat of extreme weather and cybersecurity risks related to operating online businesses.

“NRMA Insurance supports more than 70,000 small business owners across the country and we are dedicated to helping our customers overcome some of these challenges by providing a range of insurance options and a simplified digital experience when taking out a policy, as well as access to our specialist consultants,” continued Ms Batch.

The report also challenges the stereotype that the sector is predominantly men operating in trades, despite a growing proportion of women starting businesses, with the latest figures showing 35% of Australian businesses are owned by women[ii].

NRMA Insurance is dedicated to serving communities beyond insurance and is proud to support Mums & Co, a membership subscription and community that aims to help women start and stay in business.

Mums & Co Co-Founder and Managing Director Carrie Kwan said that the platform bridges the gap between the unknowns of starting a business:

We have an array of resources, experts to provide guidance and a digital community specifically built to empower business-owning women so that they can develop their business acumen, build a network and have the confidence to grow their business.

Carrie Kwan

Mums & Co Co-Founder and Managing Director

IAG, the parent company of NRMA Insurance, has been a longtime supporter of Mums & Co, and recently increased its investment to wholly acquire the business.

“The acquisition of Mums & Co was a natural progression for our business, and we are thrilled to continue to support the platform that helps women and their supporters scale their business. We also help business owners manage their risks by offering insurance options,” Ms Batch said.

Acknowledging the rising number of women entering the microbusiness sector, NSW Minister for Women, the Hon. Jodie Harrison said:

“Women play an essential role in the Australian business community and we are committed to supporting more of them into entrepreneurial pathways,” Ms Harrison said.

“The microbusiness sector is particularly advantageous for women, providing them with flexibility and opportunities that the more traditional labour market might not.”

NRMA Insurance looks forward to working with governments at all levels to address the key challenges and opportunities outlined in the report, to support the continued growth of microbusinesses in Australia.

The report’s key recommendations include:

  • Establish a formal definition of microbusiness in Australia.
  • Address the structural barriers which limit access to finance for women who own microbusinesses.
  • Create a one-stop-shop resource for microbusiness support and resources across different levels of government.
  • Partner with the financial sector to provide education courses for microbusinesses that will help them grow.
  • Provide government support that treats microbusiness as a separate category to small business.

[i] Microbusinesses are defined as having a smaller number of employees – typically zero to four persons – turnover and assets.

[ii] As of September 2022, 35% of businesses were owned by women Source: ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.

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