Small and family businesses can now apply for a digital makeover valued up to $20,000 to help them unlock the potential of technology and strengthen their business.

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Michaelia Cash announced earlier this week that applications are open for the Small Business Digital Champions project, which is aimed to help small businesses learn the skills and build confidence to embrace digital opportunities.

“The evidence shows us that when small businesses are digitally engaged, they are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue, eight times more likely to create jobs, seven times more likely to be exporting, and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products or services,” the minister said.

One hundred small businesses from across Australia and various sectors will have the opportunity to receive a digital transformation that will include hardware, software and digital skills training to help them thrive in their particular field.

From the 100 businesses, 15 will be selected to become Digital Champions and be paired with a high-profile Australian innovator known for their success in digital innovation.

Ms Cash added that many Australian small businesses are lagging behind in their digital uptake for many reasons and the Small Business Digital Champions Project will break down some of those barriers for small businesses.

“Twenty-five per cent of small to medium enterprises are sceptical about the value digital tools will bring to their business, while only 41 per cent of microbusinesses even have a website,” she said.

“In regional areas, the benefits of going digital can help bridge the distance with their city counterparts, making them more competitive.”

Applications for the project close on 4 February 2019.

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