The Small Business Digital Champions Project will show small business owners across Australia how to go digital.

A new federal government program will give 100 small businesses from across Australia a digital transformation valued at up to $20,000.

Furthermore, 15 of these businesses will be chosen to undergo their transformation in the public spotlight, with the mentoring help of high-profile entrepreneurs, including:

  • Fitness trainer Michelle Bridges
  • Dodo founder Larry Kestelman
  • Zambrero founder Sam Prince

Small business minister Michaelia Cash said the new program, called the Small Business Digital Champions Project, would help small businesses improve their digital capability.

The program, which will start in early 2019, will create relatable case studies to show small business owners across Australia how to go digital, according to Ms Cash.

Ms Cash said the Small Business Digital Champions Project acknowledged the productivity gains offered by digital technology.

“Research from Deloitte found that small and medium enterprises with higher levels of digital engagement are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue, eight times more likely to be creating jobs, seven times more likely to be exporting or engaging in new markets and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products and services,” she said.

Australia’s small business ombudsman, Kate Carnell, said small businesses must embrace digitalisation to remain nationally and internationally competitive.

“We’ve found the most common impediments to digital adoption are not knowing where to start, fear of technology, finding the time and understanding the benefits,” she said.

“However, research shows digitally enabled businesses save an average of around 10 hours a week and subsequently increase annual revenue by almost a third.”