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SME performance and entrepreneurship

Just 58% of Queensland businesses survived in 2012 - down from 84% during the global financial crisis in 2008 (ABS 2012). This research program is about 'future proofing' regional organisations through researching and introducing new ways of improving organisations, implementing change interventions and developing new best practice models. The work in this program is specifically directed at helping regional SMEs to anticipate, respond and recover from disruptive challenges effectively, transform current business models that are no longer feasible and adapt to changing circumstances. 

Our mission is to underpin the resilience, sustainability and profitability of the SME industry at local, state, national and international scales through research consulting provision and research impact of national and international distinction.

Our goals are to:

  • Provide research consultancy services to SMEs which require detailed and in-depth studies
  • Be a catalyst for SME initiatives
  • Develop of strong links with industry associations, the business community and government through support of, participation in, and facilitation of SME activities
  • Liaise with government bodies on the initiation of projects and providing input into the formulation of policy
  • Integrate and elaborate existing theoretical frameworks/models on SME resilience, sustainability and performance
  • Engage a wide range of scholars across disciplines
  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative research in issues impacting upon SME resilience, sustainability and performance
  • Maximise scholastic, industry and community impact through the conduct high impact research in the SME sector
  • Support the conduct, analysis and dissemination of SME research through the provision of research expertise and administration.

Major projects

Building Women's Start-up resilience in regional Queensland

Program Leaders: Prof Retha Wiesner, Dr Aastha Malhotra

Funding Body: Startup Queensland Fund (Advance Queensland) Queensland Government 

Big Data for Small Business

Program Leaders: Prof Retha Wiesner, Dr Aastha Malhotra and Dr Brad Carter

Funding Body: Start-up Queensland Fund (Advance Queensland) Queensland Government Project Partners/supporters: Firestation 101 Incubator, Ipswich.

Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Business Sustainability

The Institute for Resilient Regions, Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development, and International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland are delivering an innovative capacity building program titled: Empowering women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability for Fellows from Bangladesh and Nepal.

USQ has fostered a reputation developing and delivering contextualised programs for emerging economies and is delivering this program for the third time.

Program Leaders: Prof Retha Wiesner, Dr Aastha Malhotra and Assoc Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Funding Body: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Project Partner/supporters: The Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI)
BRAC University and Industrial Enterprise Development Institute (IEDI) Nepal

ecoBiz: Growing the sustainability of Queensland SMEs

In a strategic collaboration, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) (Queensland’s main industry body and lead partner), USQ’s ACSBD and Australian Business Training Solutions (ABTS) have been commissioned by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to manage the outsourced industry extension program, ecoBiz. This 3 year $3 million market responsive pathway program is aimed at leading businesses to invest in the adoption of business sustainability strategies and initiatives to drive profitability and efficiency. This will be achieved through forums, networking events, webinars, business summits, awards, workshops and research. The ACSBD is responsible for program development, content and design of the program, management of research and evaluation and management of feedback loops. This project is a good example of ACSBD’s innovative use of its adjunct faculty, especially its industry fellows, many of whom are industry leaders in business sustainability and eco-efficiency.

Investigators: Prof Retha Wiesner, Professor John Cole, Professor Julie Cotter, Rod Glass, Andrew Chamberlin 
Funding body: Department of Environment & Heritage Protection 

Empowering women through entrepreneurship, innovation and business sustainability in Pakistan

Investigators: Prof Retha Wiesner, Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq
Funding body: AusAID

Moreton Bay sustainable business strategy

In collaboration with NACC

Investigators:Professor Tony Machin, Professor John Cole
Funding body: Regional Development Australia

Queensland Watt Savers

ACSBD, in partnership with CitySmart and the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Industry as well as a number of our Corporate Partners have designed a program aimed at empowering small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and community organisations to make informed decisions about energy efficiency.  The project targets SMEs in Brisbane and has been designed to overcome the three greatest hurdles facing small to medium enterprises - upfront costs, time and education.  It achieves this through the use of innovative engagement channels from trusted sources.

SMEs will be provided with multiple access points to tailored energy efficiency information specific to their industry type. This includes a website with content developed and sourced from industry experts like ENERGEX and The University of Southern Queensland, interactive workshops attended by industry experts, access to a telephone advice service and an on-site review program.

In collaboration with CitySmart (lead), Brisbane City Council, Rio Tinto, Energex, Low Carbon Australia and the Southbank Business Association.

Investigators: Prof Retha Wiesner, Professor Julie Cotter
Funding body: Department of the Environment

Fostering business sustainability for competitiveness in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)

Investigators: Prof Retha Wiesner, Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq
Funding body: AusAID

Managing environmental sustainability for competitiveness (MESC): an education training program for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Investigator: Prof Retha WiesnerProfessor Peter Best and Professor Doren Chadee
Funding body: Enterprise Connect - WIIN program

Developing a best practice framework for managing sustainability in small businesses: learning from the stars

Investigtors: Assoc Prof Retha Wiesner, Professor Doren Chadee and Professor Peter Best
Funding body: CPA

Minimising the impact of the economic downturn on training

Investigator: Prof Retha Wiesner
Funding Bodies:  Eidos and Construction Skills Queensland  

Postgraduate student research

We currently have postgraduate students completing a number of higher research degrees in SME resilience and performance.