The Small Business Online research project (SBO) measured the effectiveness of the small business online training program, a government initiative designed to introduce or help small businesses take advantage of the digital economy, namely web technologies. This project was of government ministerial interest as it formed part of the preliminary funding initiatives of the national broadband network (NBN).
The project involved an online survey of over 6,000 SBO participants across Australia. ASR also conducted 30 telephone depth interviews with selected participants after the online survey phase was completed to provide qualitative feedback.
Our control group was small businesses that had not participated in the SBO program, from whom we obtained about an additional 300 online responses. This was in order to gauge a level of general awareness and interest in participating in similar programs in future.
This research provided DIISR with feedback that will be used to shape further programs in terms of program content, training formats (seminars, mentoring sessions, online training etc), demand and communications.
The research also provided effectiveness measures of the program in terms of increased productivity to the business, increases in revenue due to online initiatives, as well as cost savings and efficiency gains due to the introduction of technology in business sales, processes and communications.