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Business sentiment remains optimistic, but more research collaboration is needed

23 August 2018

Business sentiment remains optimistic in Victoria according to the June 2018 quarter Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Survey of Business Trends and Prospects, with 34 per cent of businesses anticipating economic growth in Victoria over the next 12 months and 21 per cent of businesses reporting an increase in exports. However, rising costs are damaging business prospects, with 27 per cent of businesses surveyed reporting a decrease in profits.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the survey results show optimism amongst businesses in Victoria. However, businesses are still missing out on a valuable opportunity to engage with research institutions to commercialise new technologies and boost their productivity.

“If Victorian businesses are to remain competitive, more business-research collaboration is needed. Australia is last on the list of OECD countries when we measure business-research collaboration in a global scale. Many other countries do collaboration much better than us – and their economies benefit,” said Mr Stone.

Evidence shows that when businesses collaborate with researchers, they more than triple their likelihood of annual productivity growth. However, the Victorian Chamber’s survey shows less than a quarter of Victorian businesses have been working with research institutions in the past five years.

The Victorian Chamber’s quarterly Survey of Business Trends and Prospects shows that 52 per cent of respondents attributed their lack of engagement to being unsure about the commercial benefits of collaboration, followed by the long timeframes it takes to establish a partnership.

The survey also shows that only 14 per cent of regional businesses have partnered with a research institution in the past five years. 

The Victorian Chamber is working to bridge the business-collaboration gap through its new initiative ignite, which brings businesses and researchers together to initiate collaboration, get innovative projects off the ground and enhance investment in Victoria.

“We want businesses to understand that there are many ways – big and small – to collaborate with the research sector. They can host interns, co-invest on new products or partner on a research project in their own business. Possibilities are vast and it all starts with a simple conversation,” said Mr Stone.

The latest edition of the Victorian Chamber’s Survey of Business Trends and Prospects explores a range of topics, including the overall business sentiment in Victoria, current and anticipated business indicators in Victoria.

Download the summary report.

View the full report here (Member only/password protected