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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 March 2016) . . Page.. 781 ..

owned by women. I am pleased to say that the momentum is growing in the ACT, with the participation rate of women entrepreneurs in programs like the Griffin accelerator now at about 50 per cent.

And Canberra is achieving national recognition for what is occurring here. Just yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald published its listing of Australia’s nine most influential female entrepreneurs. Two Canberra entrepreneurs—Ms Jessica May, founder of Enabled Employment, and Ms Michelle Melbourne, co-founder of Intelledox, placed first and sixth on that list respectively, an incredible result and incredible recognition. I am pleased to say that both Jessica and Michelle have been active around various ACT government enterprise development programs and are now providing great leadership and motivation for a new generation of entrepreneurs in this city.

Small businesses also provide employment opportunities in all walks of life, from young people getting their first part-time job to flexible working arrangements for people whose personal circumstances mean that they are unable to access mainstream employment opportunities, such as people with a disability or with carer responsibilities.

Another area of support this government is providing is for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access business and entrepreneurial activities. I am pleased to advise that we have worked closely with the CBR Innovation Network to establish two important new activities: the Canberra Business Yarning Circle, a workshop and feedback initiative focused on integrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into Australia’s business community, aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the ACT Indigenous community; and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business development and entrepreneur support program, which has been established to support a connected and active Indigenous business development network here in the ACT.

It has been said many times before that the best thing that governments can do for small business is to let them focus on the day-to-day running. It means providing a supportive and logical regulatory framework, providing accessible government service delivery mechanisms that make sense from a small business perspective rather than a government’s perspective, providing a fair and supportive tax system, and managing the economy in a way that supports growth and development.

The ACT government will continue to focus on the things that can make a tangible difference locally using the policy and program levers that we have.

Opposition members interjecting—

DR BOURKE: They love this, Madam Assistant Speaker, don’t they? It is something new for them; it is called policy. The ACT government’s business development strategy, “Confident and business ready: building on our strengths”, outlines our approach to small business and also the development and diversification strategies we have in place to grow the economy.

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