Small-to-medium enterprises and entrepreneurship

Maintaining a healthy SME sector

Small-to-medium enterprises and entrepreneurship works to support SMEs and entrepreneurs as they navigate a world of accelerating change.

Our research

Australia’s SME sector employs half the nation’s workforce and generates 30% of its GDP – its current health and ongoing vitality is critical. This theme works to create an understanding of the drivers and conditions for small business success and sustainability. We share this knowledge with the business community, government and the professions. We focus on the following areas:

SME success examines how to enhance the performance, sustainability and success of SMEs.

Entrepreneurial success explores how to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and build the entrepreneurial skills required to manage innovation for future growth.

Key projects

We provide programs for students and businesspeople, in Australia and overseas, to develop the entrepreneurial capabilities that drives innovation and prosperity.

Post-covid options to enhance Australia’s innovation capabilities

Australia’s SME sector lags those of other nations. Deakin-IPA SME Research Centre produced a major white paper identifying tax reforms that will help small businesses improve their efficiency through increased R&D and innovation.

Women entrepreneurs leading sustainable development

This project provides training designed to build the skills needed for women entrepreneurs in Australia and Latin America to achieve sustainable development goals. Training includes online workshops, expert speakers, mentoring and networking. This project is supported with a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) grant.

Counting on U

With poor mental health impacting a large proportion of small business owners, Deakin created a program to support them, through the provision of mental health first aid training to business advisers. The project, undertaken with funding from the Commonwealth government and in partnership with Australia’s accounting professional bodies, provided training to over 4000 business advisers.

We aim to play a vital role in translating academic research and writing language that businesspeople can readily grasp and apply in their day-to-day operations.

Dr Wade Halvorson

Our research centres

The following Deakin Business School research centres are aligned with the SME and entrepreneurship theme.

Deakin-IPA SME Research Centre

Generates robust research and knowledge on small-medium size enterprises to inform diverse policy change and to support better SME practice.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Research Alliance

WERA examines the social and cultural determinants of entrepreneurial behaviour and success amongst women and works with various partners to trial and evaluate entrepreneurship training and development programs.

Partner with us

We collaborate with a wide range of partners, including the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and Symbiosis International University, India. We provide consulting and evaluation services, funding opportunities, event and media speakers, as well as professional development and education.

Curriculum and teaching innovations

We provide three different approaches to entrepreneurship education: experiential, theoretical and simulation.

SME-focused teaching and learning is incorporated across Deakin Business School in course assessments requiring students to interact with, and provide consulting and advisory services to, SME partner businesses. We offer the following study opportunities through our work-integrated learning program.

Business Development Clinic

Using the 7-Levers of Business Framework, students work in consultancy teams with small-to-medium sized business to grow their profitability.

Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset

This unit scaffolds applied exercises to support students to understand and apply real-world entrepreneurial concepts:

  • Idea generation – discover the problems you are passionate about solving.
  • Real customer interviews – gain the confidence to talk to real customers.
  • MVP development – learn about minimum viable product by building one.
  • Financial modelling – learn about revenue modelling, pricing and how to make a business model financially sustainable.
  • Business model validation – build, launch and analyse the results of your business model experiments.

Contact us

Stay in touch with us to hear about the latest study opportunities, research news and much more. Have a question? Get in touch with the team.

Email the team