Earlier this week, Small Business Minister Julie Collins announced that the federal government has committed a further $18.6 million to boost the digital competency of small businesses across Australia, extending a program providing SMEs advice on e-commerce, social media strategy, and cybersecurity.

The Albanese government will fund a new round of the Digital Solutions — Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) Program – that offers grants to service providers across the country, with the goal of providing affordable, accessible advice to small businesses looking to upgrade their digital presence.

“The funding is important so that our small businesses can make the most of online services and to digitise their businesses where possible,” said Anne Stanley, Federal Member for Werriwa.

Successful service providers will guide small businesses on digitising their operations, online sales, social media strategy, business software competency, and key cybersecurity protocols.

Ms Collins says the program will help small businesses capitalise on the surge of online activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, Australians turned to the internet for their shopping, and many have stayed there,” she said.

“This program helps businesses to recognise and grasp the opportunities that going online can offer, so they can survive and grow.”

Funding for the digital grant program will be distributed as follows: organisations in NSW and the ACT will receive $6.51 million, as will those across SA, Victoria and Tasmania, while grant recipients in Queensland, WA, and the NT will share in $5.58 million.

Applications open September 19 and close on November 11. Successful grant recipients will offer their advisory services over three years, starting in April 2023.

Small businesses can access further details at https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/australian-small-business-advisory-services-digital-solutions-round-2