Australian small businesses need support in energy transition

Male small business owner sorts through receipts and bills at desk
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Research released by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) provides new and detailed insight into the barriers, hardships, motivations, abilities, and opportunities for small business owners to navigate the energy transition to net zero.

The “Small Steps. Bright Future” research project shines a light on this critical but underexplored landscape.

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The research was funded by Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) as part of its grants process for consumer advocacy projects and research projects for the benefit of household and small business energy consumers.

Over 400 small and medium business owners and managers from across regional and metropolitan Australia participated in the COSBOA research in January 2024. This includes representation from retail, building and construction, health and medical, accounting and financial, manufacturing and wholesale sectors.

Key findings from the research show that small business is at the frontline of the energy transition, and requires help to successfully navigate the change. Challenges include energy hardship and financial strain with the cost of transitioning to renewables.

The next steps for the research project will be to test the research and the segmentation framework with small businesses participating in a series of industry and stakeholder events.

COSBOA CEO Luke Achterstraat said, “Small business is the backbone of the Australian economy, so it’s vital they are given support to deal with energy hardship and the challenges associated with energy transition. This research gives us the chance to get this right.

“If we can design the right support and services now, we can make a huge difference to how small business navigate this major change and challenge.

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“This is a major piece of research, with over 400 small business owners and operators participating in the work. It gives us an incredibly informed body of evidence about the challenges of the energy transition and how best to help small business navigate it.”

The report findings can be accessed here.

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