Australia has a great tradition of entrepreneurialism and innovation. Small businesses with less than four staff members make up 28 percent of all Australian businesses,[1] and many organisations that are now household names started off as little more than a great idea.

Unfortunately, many aspiring small business owners on low incomes are excluded from the financial and support services they need to make their idea a reality. This results in a loss of opportunity for people and our economy.

The LaunchME program is an initiative of Good Shepherd Microfinance and the South Australian Government that supports innovative small business ideas from people in South Australia.

The program supports individuals to develop and establish their own microenterprises – small businesses of five or fewer people. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach: the program is tailored to the needs of each participant.

Through research and consultation, we have identified six key supports that we believe are required to establish a microenterprise. These core services will be provided, dependent on the needs of each participant.

What our program includes:

  • Coaching
    Our Microenterprise Coach works directly with participants to identify and meet their business needs.
  • Mentoring
    Small Business Mentors provide participants with one-on-one support and guidance on the development of their business idea.
  • Business Planning
    Supporting the development of a business plan, liaising with local providers as needed.
  • Building Skills
    Supporting participants to identify the skills they will need to move forward with their microenterprise, and liaising with local providers to deliver targeted skills training.
  • Building Networks
    A supportive community, including a mentor, coach, other program participants, suppliers, customers and stakeholders.
  • Finance
    A microenterprise loan to help participants get their business up and running.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Have a Healthcare or Pension Card; or
  • Earn under $45,000 per year (after tax); and
  • Live in South Australia.

What kinds of businesses does the program support?

No two small businesses look the same, but some examples might include a handyperson, hairdresser, craftsperson, tailor or gardener.

Want to know more?

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 8165.0 – Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Jun 2012 to Jun 2016

Latest News from LaunchME

7 June 2017

Aussie microfinance expertise goes global

The success of Good Shepherd Microfinance in Australia has been harnessed to boost a new program helping Central Americans pull themselves out of poverty.

The Good Shepherd program called Solidarity for Financial Inclusion is operating in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, where 60 per cent of households live in poverty and more than half of them in extreme poverty.

Read More