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Small business sector ready to grow once lockdown cycle ends

With lockdown rules and border closures regularly changing, SME owners are looking beyond these constraints and focusing on how they can adapt and grow.

But low Victorian SME growth optimism send a stark warning for NSW on impact of lockdowns for small business sector
  • Half of SMEs forecast higher revenue through to end of 2021
  • Strong uptick (almost to pre-pandemic levels) in those looking to invest in their business
  • However more than 1 in 4 SMEs forecast revenue will decline (highest recorded level), with a similar proportion expecting revenue to stagnate
National SME Growth Index research by leading non-bank lender ScotPac found just over half (50.1%) SMEs are forecasting business H2 2021 revenue growth.

An average revenue increase of 4.8% represents a healthy uptick from a year ago (4.4%).

ScotPac CEO Jon Sutton said polling also revealed a promising increase in the proportion of SMEs planning to invest in their business through to the end of 2021.

Out of 1255 businesses, 727 (57.9%) were looking to invest back into the business. This is a significant jump from late 2020 when a four-year low of 51.9% was recorded.

“This brings investment intention almost back to pre-pandemic levels,” Mr Sutton said.

“It’s important to note the research took place over six weeks before and in the early days of the NSW Delta outbreak.


“Findings indicate that if we can get past lockdowns and border restrictions, a slim majority of the SME sector is backing its ability to achieve revenue growth.

“At the other end of the spectrum, negative growth SMEs are finding it tougher than ever.

“The impact of Victoria’s 2020 extended lockdown is still being felt by the small business sector, something NSW should be mindful of as they look towards reopening.

“Small business winners and losers are increasingly separated by location and industry.”



ScotPac is Australia and New Zealand’s largest non-bank SME business lender, providing funding to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to enterprises exceeding $1 billion revenues. For more than 30 years ScotPac has helped thousands of business owners succeed, by unlocking the value from their business assets. Whether it is purchasing stock, investing in vehicles and equipment, improving cash flow or accessing additional working capital, ScotPac can help.

SME Growth Index is Australia’s longest-running in-depth research on small business growth prospects. Twice a year since 2014 market analysts East & Partners conduct this independent research on behalf of ScotPac. For the September 2021 research round, a representative national sample of 1255 $1-20m revenue businesses were surveyed and interviewed.


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