Business owners are the unsung heroes of the national economy.

We see this every day in the hard-working, entrepreneurial folk who come to us for business funding. Whether our SME clients have two employees or 200, they are out there working hard to build better futures for themselves, their families and their staff.

Being an SME owner usually isn’t glamourous, you don’t get the media’s or politicians’ attention easily.

That’s why at Scottish Pacific we’ve been trying to shine a light on a wide range of SME champion businesses, as great examples of the contribution made by this sector. Search #SMEchampions on LinkedIn and Twitter to see some of these businesses and the role they are playing nationally and within their local communities.

SME owners are the great suppliers of the economy, and by working hard on their businesses they contribute greatly to sustainable growth, employment and innovation.

A recent OECD report, SMEs in the Global Economy, highlights the fact that in the average OECD nation SMEs account for about 70% of all jobs.

In Australia, with well over 2 million small businesses, the sector accounts for more than 90% of all businesses. According to NAB research, SMEs contribute 57% of national GDP and were responsible in 2016 for creating about 7 million jobs.

These business owners are out there creating, usually without a lot of government help.

ASBFEO reports that the sector is the least assisted in the economy, with only 15% of small businesses and 30% of medium receiving any government assistance, compared to 57% of large businesses.

National economies rely on the entrepreneurial spirit, grit and hard work of generations of business owners.

Our SME Growth Index points to the long hours most owners spend in the business – a 50+ hour week is standard for 89% of those polled and almost half (44%) are spending 60 to 80 hours a week on their business (this equates to 12+ hour days, six days a week!).

Outside of work, business owners are champions in other ways. According to Philanthropy Australia, 99 percent of SMEs donate either their time, money or goods and services to charities and community causes. They are usually strongly connected to their local communities.

By highlighting business owners as #SMEchampions, we are saying well done to all the business owners out there.

Whether it’s Tradeconnex founder Ollie Gordon, whose NSW construction labour hire firm provides skilled trades and general labour employment opportunities for people from a wide range of migrant backgrounds.

Or #SMEchampions John and Fiona Harland of New Zealand’s ERG Recruitment Group, who say they are most proud of the difference their small business makes in the lives of their blue collar job candidates, and of the youth employment initiatives and charity projects such as Dress for Success that the business supports.

It could be that your business is like that of Tasmanian #SMEchampions Richard and Martel Beaumont, owners of Floorworld Devonport and Floorworld Burnie, who are celebrating 20 years in business – no mean feat. Longevity is to be applauded in what can be a challenging business environment!

Or perhaps you can relate to spraypainter Greg Liggins, who always knew he’d run his own business. In 1987 at age 25 he and a panel-beater pal founded Westrucks and over the past 31 years they have grown from a small western Sydney enterprise into the largest purpose-built truck manufacturer in NSW, with major customers including the Rural Fire Service, TNT and O’Brien Autoglass. Greg’s justifiably proud of the transition to one of the country’s leading truck body builders, employing 55 staff at their Wetherill Park HQ.

Whether growing to become big businesses, or staying small and providing for their family’s future, we’d like to acknowledge the role business owners play in the national economy.

Scottish Pacific has spent the past 30 years helping business owners to grow and achieve their dreams. We are proud to support the #SMEchampions of the world.

Here’s to celebrating the great contribution of the SME sector. What you are doing matters!