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Getting the best out of small business and students


Zuleika Henderson
15 August 2008
Helping small and medium sized businesses to grow are high on the agenda of Professor Ian Eddie - one of seven chief investigators who will advise the Federal Government on law reform for small businesses.

Professor Eddie, who is the newly appointed director of Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management, will provide specialist finance and accounting expertise to the Australian Research Council project which will make recommendations to the Federal Department of Treasury on the most effective regulation framework to optimise economic growth in small and medium sized corporations.

The project will complement his work as the new director of the Graduate College of Management, at the Tweed Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University which offers postgraduate courses such as MBAs to managers and executives – many of whom are small business owners themselves.

Professor Eddie said he was looking forward to bringing his business expertise and his links with Australian and international business and government to both of his new roles.

“As director of the Graduate College of Management I will be ensuring that the students come first and will benefit from links of this kind with industry and government,” said Professor Eddie.

“As a chief investigator on the project funded by the Australian Research Council for the Federal Government, and the only investigator on the project team from a regional university, I hope to engage with Gold Coast and Tweed business people to identify the unique issues that affect them.”

The Federal Government project team includes legal, economic, governance and quantitative academics from Victoria University, the University of Canberra, the University of Western Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney.

It will work closely with the Council of Small Businesses Australia to survey 200-300 corporations and conduct interviews with directors of small firms to identify the key points of regulation that have been either conducive or a hindrance to growth.

Professor Eddie said that small and medium sized enterprises were vital to the economy.

“Just as small business accounts for a significant part of economic activity locally, the same is true nationally,” he said.

“They are incubators for new products and services – the stronger the small and medium size business sector, the greater the overall creative strength of the Australian economy.

“Small companies often lack the resources, expertise and political leverage of large corporations, but are still required to comply with the same rules.

“There clearly is a case for removing some of the ‘red tape’ that currently exists so that the performance and growth of small businesses can be optimised.”

The research is due to be completed in 2010, and with nearly 1.4 million small companies operating in Australia, the national benefit is expected to be significant.

“If small corporations can be freed of unnecessary regulatory burdens, this means less key personnel time taken up, less time dealing with regulators and more time thinking about growing the business.

“This project deals with matters of political, economic and social importance that affect the working lives of many millions of Australian employees and their families.

“And I’ll be making sure my students stay at the cutting edge of the latest research results.”

If you own or manage a small or medium sized business and would like to provide feedback on how current government regulations affect you please contact Professor Ian Eddie on [email protected]

If you would like to learn more about postgraduate education at Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management contact [email protected] 07 5506 9300.

Photo: Professor Ian Eddie