The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-03-10T07:25:08Z Supply chain finance initiatives may have unintended consequences 2020-03-10T07:25:08Z supply-chain-finance-initiatives-may-have-unintended-consequences After recent media attention and pressure from the office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, some of Australia’s largest companies are moving away from their early payment supply chain finance programs. Scottish Pacific senior executive Wayne Smith said the Ombudsman was rightly trying to ensure SMEs are not put at a disadvantage by big business. “We applaud the efforts of ASBFEO to protect the interests of small business owners, and to encourage large corporations to end programs that stretch out payment times for SMEs in order for them to secure early payment discounts. “The catch-22 in shutting down these programs is that, while in the long-term this may help the SME sector, in the short term essentially SMEs have had a funding option taken away from them. Many SMEs have become dependent on early payment programs “Many small business suppliers have developed a dependency on the operating rhythm provided by these programs and in the absence of a comprehensive phase-out period their businesses are now potentially being forced into a less certain cash cycle.” SME Growth Index research shows twice as many SMEs are reporting significantly worse cash flow as the previous year, and more than a quarter of small businesses say their cash flow problems make it difficult to meet their tax payments on time. “Cash flow is already a huge issue for Australia’s SME sector, so small businesses coming off these early payment schemes will need to find new ways to ensure they have adequate cash flow,” he said. Mr Smith said debtor finance is one funding option that can help those businesses coming  off cancelled early payment programs because it is a style of funding that helps with cash flow management. Debtor finance allows businesses to unlock the working capital tied up in outstanding sales invoices across all their customers. With debtor finance the facility is ‘always on’ as opposed to supply chain finance and early payment programs which may only provide funding during ‘discount windows’. He said early payment programs should operate to help SMEs, not to squeeze them into taking a pay cut in exchange for prompt payment. Done correctly, they provide an effective way for SMEs to access low cost funding without providing property security.  “These programs should be designed to be a ‘win-win’ for buyers and suppliers, not as a means to push out supplier payment terms from existing supplier arrangements,” Mr Smith said. “The danger is when larger corporations are able to use these programs to their benefit to extend payment terms, with a negative impact on ‘the little guy’. That essentially puts a gun to their head to choose between cash flow at a discount or extended periods without cash flow.” Mr Smith said SMEs and their advisors should update themselves on the full range of funding options available to small businesses – a great first port of call is the Business Funding Guide and FitsME Guide created by ASBFEO and Scottish Pacific.   Scottish Pacific is Australia and New Zealand’s largest non-bank SME lender, helping thousands of business owners with the working capital they need to succeed. ScotPac lends to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to enterprises with revenues of more than $1 billion. www.scottishpacific.com   New national research shows SME average payment times are double what Ombudsman is seeking: smaller businesses hit hardest 2020-03-05T03:14:39Z new-national-research-shows-sme-average-payment-times-are-double-what-ombudsman-is-seeking-with-smaller-businesses-hit-hardest MARCH 5, 2020 - Independent research conducted by on behalf of national SME funder Scottish Pacific found a huge disparity in how long it takes businesses in the $1-20 million revenue bracket to get money in the door. More than 1200 SME owners or senior finance staff, across a representative selection of industries and all states, were surveyed by market analysts East & Partners*. Their range of payment times (debtor days) varied from 7 days to an extremely challenging 134 days. Scottish Pacific CEO Peter Langham said while the overall SME average is 56 days the strain is more marked at the smaller end of the sector, with businesses of $1-10 million revenue waiting on average 66 debtor days. Their larger $10-20 million revenue counterparts have a more manageable 40 day wait. “Money that could be used to expand revenue and invest in growth is being tied up for too long, as SMEs struggle to be paid within a reasonable timeframe,” Mr Langham said. “This is a significant burden to bear and reinforces the importance of reducing payment times, in particular for SMEs struggling to source new funding or to refinance their existing borrowings. “There is a great disparity and we see as businesses become larger they get paid more quickly. Average SME has a third of revenue tied up in outstanding invoices On average, the Scottish Pacific research found that SMEs have almost a third of their revenue (29%) tied up in outstanding invoices, with 16% of revenue locked into overdue invoices (outstanding beyond 90 days). This was consistent for SMEs in the $1-10 million and $10-20 million revenue ranges. Given East & Partners calculates the average turnover of survey respondents at $9.8 million, they estimate each SME in the cohort is trying to deal with, on average, $2.82 million in outstanding accounts receivable. It equates to the Australian SME sector (with $1-20m revenue) having up to $A776 billion annually in outstanding total invoices and prompts the question – how much of this multi-billion dollar outstanding income has to be funded outside an SME’s normal working capital? “Each SME has to manage while having, on average, $1.55 million in invoices that are not just outstanding but overdue (defined as beyond the 90-day mark),” Mr Langham said. “At the extreme, some small businesses are waiting up to four months to be paid and almost one in 10 SMEs can’t state their average debtor days, with some struggling to calculate the figure because invoice payments are too variable to reliably report,” he said. “This payment lag is one of the reasons some of our clients use Scottish Pacific to assist in their sales ledger management, to reduce the number of days invoices remain outstanding.” Mr Langham said the findings highlight the importance of businesses finding the right funding to unlock working capital, and this was the reason Scottish Pacific partnered with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to create a free downloadable Business Funding Guide for business owners and their advisors. Ombudsman Kate Carnell has said it is imperative small businesses are paid on time, and all businesses of any size should be paid within 30 days. This year, major businesses including Telstra and Rio Tinto have committed to shorter (20 day) payment times. Few SMEs offer early payment discounts Despite the burden slow payment times is creating for the sector, only one in five small businesses offers discounted payment terms, with the discount ranging from 5 to 15%. In Scottish Pacific’s H2 2019 SME Growth Index, SMEs were already flagging that it was becoming increasingly hard to meet tax payments on time and many were unable to take on new work due to cash flow constrictions (only one in 10 SMEs felt they were on top of cash flow). “Given these existing indications, along with the payment times and accounts receivable data in our latest research, it really highlights that poor cash flow will remain a pressing challenge for SMEs throughout 2020,” Mr Langham said. “Poor cash flow is costing businesses time and resources to settle invoices that for some enterprises stretch out over an entire financial quarter, when it would be of more benefit for the SME sector, and the economy in general, if they could use these resources to expand revenue and invest in growth.” Scottish Pacific’s H1 2020 SME Growth Index research will be released later this month. Sign up to receive a free copy of the research at https://www.scottishpacific.com/news/research.   *NB – the research is conducted independently by East & Partners and polls a representative sample of Australian SMEs with $1-20m revenue, who use all types of methods to fund their businesses (ie it is not Scottish Pacific’s client database that is polled). Scottish Pacific is Australasia’s largest specialist working capital provider, helping thousands of business owners with the working capital they need to succeed. Scottish Pacific lends to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to SMEs with revenues of more than $1 billion. www.scottishpacific.com   ATO has a new weapon to counter unauthorised tax debts, SME funder warns business owners 2020-02-12T03:31:04Z ato-has-a-new-weapon-to-counter-unauthorised-tax-debts-sme-funder-warns-business-owners February 12, 2020 - Using the ATO ‘as a bank’ by not paying tax commitments on time comes with new risks for SMEs, national business funder Scottish Pacific has warned. Scottish Pacific senior executive Wayne Smith said many business owners are not yet aware of laws passed late last year allowing the Australian Taxation Office to disclose SMEs’ tax debt to credit reporting bureaus. The new rules allow the ATO to report an SME to credit rating agencies if: that business owes more than $100,000 in tax has an ABN is more than 90 days in arrears  and doesn’t have a payment arrangement in place or being negotiated.  Mr Smith said the new law provides even more incentive for businesses not to run up debts with the ATO. “Traditionally, many SMEs have used the ATO almost like a ‘line of credit’ by not paying their commitments on time,” Mr Smith said. “It’s not the best option but if a business is tight for cash they often make a decision to pay other creditors and delay paying the ATO, thinking they will eventually put a payment arrangement in place.  “This action will now likely have an adverse impact on credit ratings and credit insurance limits, making it harder to maintain or extend credit terms with suppliers.” Details on the new credit reporting law are here. Scottish Pacific’s most recent SME Growth Index research found that more than a quarter of SMEs (27.8%) say meeting tax payments on time would create cash flow difficulties for their business. Mr Smith said during the GFC years the ATO showed leniency in allowing businesses to run up tax obligations, as they didn’t want to be seen as putting SMEs out of business in such a tough economic environment. This leniency is now being systematically reined in. “Years ago, the ATO had one blunt instrument – if you don’t meet obligations and there was no payment arrangement in place, the only option was to wind up the business,” he said. “Then the DPN (Directors’ Penalty Notice) was introduced, effectively making directors personally liable for unauthorised company tax debts. Now, with this new initiative, the message is clear: the ATO is no longer prepared to be viewed as a line of credit.”  “With forecasts for a poor economic outlook in 2020, if ever there was a time to make sure you have a sustainable funding structure in place for your business, that time is now.”   Time to get the right funding in place for SMEs Mr Smith encouraged business owners to use the post-Christmas, pre-February BAS time to take the opportunity to consider their cash flow management and working capital arrangements. “We’d encourage business owners to invest time with their funder, whether it be a non-bank like Scottish Pacific or a bank, or with their broker or accountant, to really consider what is the most appropriate form of funding for their business situation, and get that funding in place so they don’t end up on the wrong side of this credit reporting initiative,” he said. He also encouraged them to access the FitsME Guide (and for their accountants and brokers to access the more detailed Business Funding Guide version) created by the Small Business Ombudsman (ASBFEO) and Scottish Pacific. This free download has comprehensive information on a range of business funding options, as well as handy tips to help SMEs become “finance fit”. Invoice finance as a cash flow solution Mr Smith said that one funding option that works for many Australian and New Zealand SMEs is invoice finance. Invoice finance, also known as debtor finance, offers a line of credit linked to and secured by outstanding accounts receivable. Businesses can access this form of funding as needed or as a long-term working capital solution. “As your business grows, the facility you’ve put in place grows with it, and unlike a traditional bank overdraft there is generally no need for real estate security,” Mr Smith said. “Invoice finance provides a stand-alone facility that can sit alongside your other business borrowings (for example overdrafts, term loans, and asset finance).  “There are no capital repayment requirements and the facility helps you grow your business and increase purchasing power through improved cash flow.”   Scottish Pacific is Australasia’s largest specialist working capital provider, helping thousands of business owners with the working capital they need to succeed. Scottish Pacific lends to small, medium and large businesses ranging from start-ups to SMEs with revenues of more than $1 billion. www.scottishpacific.com Call for nominations for Asia Pacific Communicator of the Year 2020-02-12T03:21:10Z call-for-nominations-for-asia-pacific-communicator-of-the-year Nominations are open for the inaugural IABC Asia Pacific Silver Quill Communicator of the Year (CoTY) Award. IABC, the International Association of Business Communicators, is a global professional organisation representing the communications profession, and its Asia Pacific regional membership is drawn from 14 chapters in eight countries across the region. The Chair of IABC APAC,  Zora Artis, said the inaugural Silver Quill Communicator of the Year Award offers a unique opportunity to acknowledge exceptional communication excellence and leadership. Nominations are open to members and non-members across the Asia Pacific, in two categories: ·       Executive leaders who demonstrate outstanding communication ·       Senior communication professionals with more than 10 years in the profession “Unlike most other communication awards programs, the CoTY Award celebrates the individual because the award isn’t based on projects, but on the ability of a leader to deliver the very best communication day in, day out,” Ms Artis said. “The CoTY Award recognises and honours that strategic communication excellence. The honour will become a powerful statement that will support the winners’ careers for years to come. “We encourage Asia Pacific communicators, or anyone who has an executive leader who excels in communication, to nominate.” The CoTY Awards will be judged by a senior panel of leaders from IABC Asia Pacific region and chapter leadership. The panel is looking for: exceptional leadership, management, and communication skills; delivering measurable business value through strategic communication; innovation and bold thinking; effective communication with diverse audiences; and high ethical and professional standards. Winners will be announced on March 26 at the IABC APAC Silver Quills Gala, taking place at the #Fusion20 conference in Wellington, New Zealand. For categories and eligibility see http://www.iabcapac.com/2020/01/15/nominations-coty20/. Nominations must be emailed to iabcasiapacific@gmail.com with the open call for nominations closing at 6:00 pm AEDT Thursday 20 February 2020. For more information or interviews, contact: Zora Artis, IABC Asia Pacific chair Ph: +61 410 565 625   www.iabcapac.com Danger zone: two thirds of Australia’s SME owners use personal finances to support their business, SME Growth Index shows 2016-03-17T02:47:41Z danger-zone-two-thirds-of-australia-s-sme-owners-use-personal-finances-to-support-their-business-sme-growth-index-shows Scottish Pacific’s latest SME Growth Index has found the number of SMEs resorting to personal finances (including credit cards with high interest charges) to support business growth is very high at 65.4 percent, with 17 percent regularly drawing on personal finances and 48.4 percent doing so occasionally. Only 10 percent of SME owners had never settled business expenses using non-business sources. The Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index is a twice yearly look at the growth prospects and concerns of more than 1200 Australian small and medium sized business owners and CEOs. It was initiated by Scottish Pacific, the largest specialist provider of working capital solutions for SMEs in Australia and New Zealand. Scottish Pacific CEO Mr Peter Langham said the findings on personal credit card use posed significant concerns, because there were better funding options available to help SMEs grow. “How SMEs are funded has a significant bearing on operations, from how well they can manage cash flow to the pace at which they can expand. It’s crucial to get it right and not think too short term,” Mr Langham said. “Personal finance may appeal from a convenience, speed and accessibility perspective – the downside is that higher than necessary funding costs cut directly into margin, and personal financing can impact on lifestyle and leave owners open to family conflict which can destabilise the business. “I’d strongly encourage SMEs, whether product or service orientated businesses, to seek smarter funding options. Look beyond the banks as this is an active, innovative space trying to offer a better alternative.”    Mr Langham said another significant finding was that SMEs were more than willing to pay higher rates to obtain finance if it meant they didn’t have to provide real estate security. “This reflects a growing awareness amongst SME owners that putting the house on the line is no longer a given and suggests openness to alternative, innovative funding solutions such as trade and debtor finance. “This is key for up and coming entrepreneurs who have great ideas but may not own any real estate.” Despite the rise of online and automated funding solutions being offered for SMEs, he said it was worth noting the high importance SME owners still place on being able to talk directly to the lending decision maker and feeling that the funder was an expert who could provide guidance and support, not just dollars. Since September 2014, the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index has twice a year tracked the optimism for growth of a range of small business across many industries in Australia. “Of note is that the number of optimistic enterprises is relatively unchanged since we started the Index – dipping 1.5 percent in March 2016 from the finding of 58.9 percent a year ago – yet the average revenue growth forecast in that time has contracted sharply from 6.7 to 5.2 percent,” Mr Langham said. Key findings from the March 2016 Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index: Optimism dips, but SMEs resilient ·         58 percent of SMEs are in positive growth mode, with an average revenue growth forecast of 5.2 percent (down from 6.7 percent in March 2015, despite low interest rates and a depreciating $AU). ·         Given the scale and scope of financial market volatility, small businesses are displaying high resilience, with only a slight rise in the number of SMEs preparing for negative growth (17.5 percent, who are forecasting an average drop of 4.9 percent). ·         70.6 percent of SMEs believe their business to be stable or in a growth phase, 11.3 percent in startup phase and 18.1 percent consolidating or contracting. What drives growth is often a mystery, but taxes and credit conditions are clear barriers ·         SMEs are increasingly unsure about what drives their growth – with 35.2 percent (up from 28.2 percent when the Index began) saying they are “simply following their nose”. ·         A sharp rise in growth SMEs who believe conditions of credit are a key barrier to success, rising from 57.3 percent a year ago to 62 percent, almost equaling the perennial top bugbear of high or multiple taxes (62.7 percent). Concerns about red tape are also increasing (a key barrier for 56.5 percent of SME owners, up from 53.8 percent a year ago). ·         New product development plans have stalled. One in five SMEs plan to introduce new products in 1H 2016 (19.6 percent), down 7.1 percent since 1H 2015. In contrast, the number of SMEs planning to release new services continues to rise, up 7.5 percent since February 2015 to 35.9 percent. ·         Willingness to merge with another business has doubled since round one of the Index in September 2014, from 6 to 11.3 percent of SMEs. SMEs are keen to avoid real estate security and look beyond main bank ·         Availability of unsecured credit, where there is no requirement to lend against real estate such as the family home, is the most important factor for SMEs seeking to fund growth (for example, by replacing outdated equipment, increasing marketing spend, adding staff or entering new markets). ·         SMEs show strong demand for more flexible lending terms as an alternative to standard term bank debt, including alternatives such as debtor finance, invoice discounting and factoring. In the past year, there has been a 20.6 percent increase in non-bank lending demand, from 13.6 to 16.4 percent of SMEs. ·         More than two-thirds (67.9 percent) of SMEs are willing to pay a higher rate to obtain finance if it means they don’t have to provide real estate security. Almost one in three small businesses would definitely pay a higher rate (29.6 percent) with a further 38.3 percent indicating they would ‘probably’ pay a higher rate in lieu of extensive asset/collateral assessments.  ·         Ability to talk directly to the lending decision maker was also deemed as highly important, rating ahead of the lender’s industry expertise, credit approval turnaround time and the interest rate. ·         The number of SMEs intending to use their own funds to finance growth plans has increased from 81.1 to 92.7 percent since September 2014. ABOUT SCOTTISH PACIFIC - Scottish Pacific is the largest specialist provider of working capital solutions for SMEs in Australia and New Zealand. More than 1500 clients in industries including transport, manufacturing, wholesale, import, labour hire and printing benefit from Scottish Pacific’s broad range of trade and debtor finance solutions. Scottish Pacific handles more than $10 billion of invoices each year, providing funding lines exceeding $700 million. Established in 1988, the business has full service bases in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Auckland, London and China. Scottish Pacific was awarded 2016, 2015 and 2014 Best Cash Flow Lender by broker publication The Adviser, as voted by brokers, in their annual Non-Bank Lending Awards. They were named Best Trade Finance Provider 2015 at the international Trade Finance Global Excellence Awards. Follow Scottish Pacific Business Finance on Twitter - @ScottishPacific - and on LinkedIn Full SME Growth Index and Infograph of key results available on request.                                                                 European Inventor Award – fifteen outstanding inventors competing for the Popular Prize 2015-05-22T01:14:51Z european-inventor-award-fifteen-outstanding-inventors-competing-for-the-popular-prize On 11 June the European Patent Office (EPO) will present the tenth European Inventor Award The winner of the Popular Prize will be selected exclusively by the public in an online poll Australian researcher Ian Frazer up for public voting for best invention Voting open until 4 June on epo.org Munich, May 18 2015 - Voting has begun for the European Inventor Award's Popular Prize. When the winners of Europe's most prestigious prize for innovation are announced on 11 June in Paris, one of the 15 finalists will also take home the Popular Prize. But unlike the winners in the other categories, who are decided by an international jury, the Popular Prize is the public's choice alone. The Australian finalist Ian Frazer is up for the public voting. He has been nominated for the Award for the first cervical cancer vaccine, together with the late Jian Zhou from China. The public is invited to vote online for their favourite finalist on the EPO website or Facebook page. Taking part is quick and easy. More information about the 15 candidates is available at epo.org and facebook.com. The poll is open until 4 June 2015; and the public can vote as often as they like. All voters will be entered into a draw, giving them a chance to win a prize. Fifteen exceptional inventors vying for the prize The European Inventor Award jury has selected three finalists for each of the five competition categories. Finalists in the "Non-European Countries" category are Ian Frazer (Australia) and the late Jian Zhou (China) for the first cervical cancer vaccine, Sumio Iijima, Akira Koshio and Masako Yudasaka (Japan) for their carbon nanotubes, and Elizabeth Holmes (US) for her simplified blood-testing system. Finalists in the "Industry" category are Jean-Christophe Giron (France) and his team for their electronically tintable glass, Gunnar Asplund (Sweden) for his high-voltage power grid connection without overhead power lines, and the team led by Franz Amtmann (Austria) and Philippe Maugars (France) for their NFC data transfer technology. Finalists in the "SMEs" category are Laura Johanna van 't Veer (Netherlands) and her team for their gene-based breast cancer test, Michel Lescanne (France) for his peanut paste for combatting malnutrition, and John Elvesjö and Mårten Skogö (Sweden) for their eye-tracking technology that enables computers to be controlled with the eye.  Finalists in the "Research category" are scientists Luke Alphey (UK) for his new method of controlling dengue fever, Hendrik Marius Jonkers (Netherlands) for his self-healing bioconcrete, and Ludwik Leibler (France) for his new class of polymers, known as vitrimers. Finalists in the "Lifetime Achievement" category are Ivars Kalvins (Latvia) for his well-known Mildronate heart medication and others, Kornelis Schouhamer Immink (Netherlands) for his coding methods for CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs, and Andreas Manz (Switzerland) for his pioneering research in microfluidics and as the mind behind lab-on-a-chip technology. More information about the European Inventor Award is also available in our Media centre. About the European Inventor Award Launched in 2006, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent Office. The award honours inventive individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to social progress, economic growth and prosperity. Fifteen finalists and, subsequently, the winners are chosen from among the nominees by a high-profile international jury. The award is presented in five categories: Industry, Research, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Non-European countries, and Lifetime achievement.   About the EPO With more than 7 000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching. Market leader Scottish Pacific now offers selective invoice finance 2015-05-15T07:14:00Z market-leader-scottish-pacific-moves-into-selective-invoice-finance-space Funding options for Australia and New Zealand’s SMEs broadened today with the announcement that the region’s largest specialist provider of working capital solutions, Scottish Pacific, will now offer selective invoice finance. Scottish Pacific CEO, Mr Peter Langham, said the new funding option for small to medium sized business was created to meet market demand and would increase the range of cashflow solutions available to business owners. It is estimated that the size of Australia's selective invoice market is $150 million per annum. For key referrers such as commercial finance brokers and accountants, Scottish Pacific's new offering presents an opportunity to encourage those clients who may have had reservations about committing to a longer term arrangement, or having to sell all their invoices, the chance to "dip their toes in the water". “The ability to select which invoices to submit for funding makes it easy for business owners to find out how invoice finance can improve their cashflow without having to commit every invoice," Mr Langham said. Selective invoice finance is also an ideal solution for businesses that have fluctuations in their trading cycles at different times of the year. "This will be especially appealing to SMEs that have seasonal cashflow needs, giving them the ability to access additional working capital when they need it, without entering into a longer term commitment," he said. "This initiative makes Scottish Pacific the only specialist working capital provider with the ability to support businesses in the whole supply chain. "With trade finance we can procure goods for our client, with selective invoice finance we provide short-term funding solutions and our traditional debtor finance meets the long-term working capital requirements. “We are now helping in all areas of the working capital cycle, for businesses with borrowing requirements from $10,000 to $30 million.” About Scottish Pacific www.debtorfinance.com.au Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Pty Ltd provides working capital solutions to SMEs, offering the broadest range of trade and debtor finance solutions in Australasia. With more than 1000 clients in industries including transport, manufacturing, wholesale, import, labour hire and printing, Scottish Pacific handles more than $6 billion of invoices each year, providing funding lines exceeding $500 million. Established in 1988, Scottish Pacific has full operations centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland, London and China. Scottish Pacific was awarded 2015 and 2014 Best Cash Flow Lender by broker publication The Adviser, as voted by brokers, in their annual Non-Bank Lending Awards.   Follow Scottish Pacific on Twitter - @ScottishPacific - and LinkedIn  About selective invoice finance Selective Invoice Finance offers small to medium sized businesses the most flexible form of invoice finance in Australia. A line of credit secured by one or more outstanding sales invoices, it  is easy to access, with approval inside 24 hours and no minimum period and no minimum fees, so there is no obligation to submit any more than one invoice for funding. Be there on Sunday to help Australia's largest Mother's Day event make a difference for breast cancer 2015-05-06T00:26:23Z be-there-on-sunday-to-help-australia-s-largest-mother-s-day-event-make-a-difference-for-breast-cancer It's not too late to register to join the Mother's Day Classic which takes place this Sunday, May 10 2015 - online registrations are closing soon or you can register on the day. See www.mothersdayclassic.com.au for details. Mother's Day Classic is an entertaining and family-friendly event that offers people of all ages the chance to participate in a non-competitive, inspiring and fun walk/run that raises vital funds for breast cancer research. It will be held in 104 locations around Australia including every capital city - a great and meaningful way to start Mother's Day, Sunday May 10. Mother's Day Classic CEO Sharon Morris said the event brings together family, friends and fitness groups who walk or run to raise funds, and to honour and support those affected by breast cancer. Ms Morris said the event was increasingly popular with families as a fun, healthy way to start Mother's Day, and this year the event offers discounted family tickets nationally and lots of family entertainment and activities on the day. The support of communities around Australia has allowed Mother's Day Classic, which began in 1998, to donate $24.3 million to National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) research. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian women (1% of breast cancer is in men). On average, 40 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer each day in Australia. Research has played a major part in breast cancer 5 year survival rates increasing to 89% since the Mother's Day Classic began. "We are looking forward to seeing the thousands of groups of family and friends who will be joining together this Sunday to make a difference, as we work towards our goal of making breast cancer history," Ms Morris said. Last minute registration and fundraising tips Once website registrations close, you can still register on the day by coming early to the event location. It's not too late to make an impact by fundraising, here are some suggestions to make it easier: Send a friendly email to your family, friends and work contacts explaining that you are taking part and asking if they'll sponsor you. Shout out the same message on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks, and ask your supporters to forward it on to their networks. The more people you ask, the more donations you may receive. If you've already registered, share your fundraising page link to make it easy for people to donate. Ask your company to sponsor you, or even better see if they will match every dollar you or your team raises. Add your fundraising page URL link to your email signature. Next to your URL say 'support me on May 10 as I walk/run in the Mother's Day Classic and raise funds for breast cancer research'. Little actions can get big results - see if all your friends would be willing to give up their daily coffee, chocolate or beer this week and donate the proceeds to your campaign. If your supporters want to know how funds raised are spent, send them this link to explain more about the wonderful research projects supported by Mother's Day Classic: http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/how-you-can-help/help-fundraise/where-your-money-goes/   Donations also accepted after the event: go to www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/donate   For national media information and local story ideas contact: Kathryn Britt, National Media Manager, 0414 661 616     Organised by: Women in Super (WIS) is a national organisation of women working with and for not-for-profit superannuation funds. WIS cares about the health of women as well as their financial wellbeing and in 1998 established the Mother’s Day Classic, an event which has become the single largest donor to the NBCF.   Major sponsor: ME Bank has proudly supported the Mother’s Day Classic since 2005. ME Bank also supports the NBCF through its EveryDay Transaction Account with PINK Debit MasterCard. For every purchase a customer makes using their Pink Card, ME Bank donates 1 cent to support breast cancer research projects.   NBCF: is the leading community-funded organisation in Australia raising money for research into the prevention and cure of breast cancer. Since NBCF was established in 1994, more than $105 million has been awarded to fund more than 370 research projects to improve the health and wellbeing of those affected by breast cancer. For more information, visit www.nbcf.org.au Ian Frazer, Jian Zhou named European Inventor Award 2015 finalists 2015-04-21T08:12:43Z ian-frazer-and-jian-zhou-named-european-inventor-award-2015-finalists Now used in 120 countries and administered more than 125 million times so far EPO President Battistelli: “Their invention has saved countless lives and will continue to protect many women from this devastating form of cancer in future.” Munich/ Brisbane, 21 April 2015 – Every year more than 530,000 women worldwide receive the diagnosis of cervical cancer. It the second most common type of cancer in women, and one of the deadliest (about 275,000 women died from cervical cancer in 2013 alone, according to the World Health Organization). But there is hope: Australian immunologist Ian Frazer and his late Chinese colleague Jian Zhou, who died in 1999, developed a vaccine against cervical cancer. The method is ground-breaking because it focuses on prevention, which can be life-saving, in particular for women without regular access to healthcare. For this achievement, Ian Frazer and Jian Zhou today have been named finalists for the European Inventor Award 2015 in the category “Non-European Countries”. “Ian Frazer and Jian Zhou are pioneers of modern medicine,” said EPO President Benoȋt Battistelli announcing the finalists. “In their fight against cervical cancer, they focused on the cause rather than on the symptoms of the disease. Developing a vaccine has saved countless lives and also saved many women from a protracted and painful course of treatment, involving surgery and chemotherapy.” Vaccine offers full protection against cervical cancer Scottish-born Ian Frazer based his ground-breaking invention on the research of the German physician and Nobel Prize Winner Harald zur Hausen. For a long time, the medical world believed the herpes virus caused cervical cancer. In 1976, it caused a sensation when Dr zur Hausen first mentioned the human papillomavirus (HPV) as playing a role in cervical cancer. The sexually-transmitted virus infects the skin and mucosal tissues, which in the worst case can cause cervical cancer. In the early 1980s, the German virologist then identified the so-called “high-risk” types of HPV, mainly HPV 16 and HPV 18, as the main cause behind more than 70 percent of all cervical cancers, as well as a number of other types of cancer in both women and men. Ian Frazer put these findings at the centre of his own research. As early as 1985, having emigrated to Australia, he set up the world’s first research group to concentrate solely on developing a vaccine against cervical cancer. However, it proved impossible to grow the HPV virus in the laboratory, making a vaccine based on live viral elements unfeasible. After many years of experimenting and various setbacks, Ian Frazer and the Cambridge immunologist and gene specialist Jian Zhou cloned HPV surface proteins onto a different virus that served as a template. The human immune system reacts to these harmless virus-like particles and forms antibodies, thereby building immunity. The vaccine derived from this offers full protection from the dangerous HPV types 16 and 18. From these first successes, it took almost 15 years until the vaccine was ready for market. In 1991, working at the University of Queensland, Frazer and Zhou filed a patent application for the missing link between the genuine virus and its artificially produced “representative”. This was a milestone achievement for the now-widely available HPV vaccines.  In 1995, Frazer and Zhou started cooperating with US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co to develop the vaccine, called Gardasil. After three years of testing, the scientists completed the first trials on humans in 1998 with outstanding results. A cycle of three injections offers full protection against HPV for up to five years. After Jian Zhou’s unexpected death in 1999 due to an illness at the age of 42, Ian Frazer continued their joint work until the vaccine was ready for market. Frazer was the inaugural CEO and Director of Research at the Translational Research Institute, where he continues researching therapeutic vaccines for patients already infected with HPV. The vaccines are currently in clinical testing. The Institute came about because of his vision and his determination to assist other researchers to translate their discoveries into health benefits for the world. HPV vaccine becomes standard In 2006, Gardasil was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccine is now used in 121 countries and has been administered more than 125 million times. In 2013, Gardasil reached total worldwide sales of about EUR 1.49 billion. In December 2014, the FDA approved Gardasil’s follow-up vaccine which is designed to protect against nine different strains of HPV and sales are expected to reach about EUR 1.55 billion by 2018. This vaccine received preliminary approval in Europe at the end of March 2015. UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline produces another widely-used cervical cancer vaccine, Cervarix, based on Frazer’s and Zhou’s method. The WHO as well as public health agencies in Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States now recommend vaccination against HPV for young women aged 9 to 25. Most countries in the developed world now have government-funded school or community-based public health programs targeting 12-14 year old girls. Australia also has a public health program for boys, as HPV also causes some cancers in men. Affordable immunisation protection for developing countries In the western world, cervical cancer can be treated if diagnosed in good time, and, as a consequence, few women die from it. According to the WHO about 85 percent of all deaths from cervical cancer occur in low or middle-income countries – the University of Queensland has therefore waived royalties on Gardasil sales in 72 developing countries. The vaccine signifies a vital step forward in the fight against cancer, in particular for regions without basic healthcare and no preventive diagnostic procedures. Press contacts: In Brisbane, Australia: Cicero / Shepard Fox Communications Kathryn Britt   Tel.: 0414 661 616 or 07 3716 0756   kathryn@cicero.net.au European Patent Office Mr Rainer Osterwalder Press Spokesperson Tel: +49 (0)89 2399-1820 Mobile: +49 (0)163 8399527 rosterwalder@epo.org About the European Inventor Award Launched in 2006, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent Office. The award honours inventive individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to social progress, economic growth and prosperity. Fifteen finalists and, subsequently, the winners are chosen from among the nominees by a high-profile international jury. The award is presented in five categories: Industry, Research, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Non-European countries, and Lifetime achievement. About the EPO With more than 7,000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded to strengthen co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO’s centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation. The EPO is also the world’s leading authority in patent information and patent searching. Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index finds SME owners still optimistic about growth but level has dropped 2015-03-19T08:26:32Z scottish-pacific-sme-growth-index-finds-sme-owners-still-optimistic-about-growth-but-level-has-dropped A THIRD of Australian Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) say they have no ultimate plans for their business, with one in five nominating "good luck" as a key driver. A third are not clear on what is fundamentally driving their business. The findings are from the second Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index and represent the views of SMEs from a diverse range of industries, with annual turnover of between $1-20 million. National SME working capital specialist Scottish Pacific commissioned research firm East & Partners to interview senior managers (predominantly the owners, CEOs and CFOs) of 1,253 SMEs from around Australia in late January 2015. Scottish Pacific CEO, Peter Langham, said the Index reflected the tough landscape facing many SMEs, who were so focused on daily issues around cashflow, funding and HR that they may not make time to look at the big picture. "Four out of ten businesses have a trade sale as the ultimate goal for their business, but an alarming 34.9 percent of small business owners do not have any concrete long term plans, which suggests a short term focus amongst small business owners and decision makers," Mr Langham said. "SME owners also indicated they are wary about seeking outside advice, with 38.6 percent nominating no trusted business advisor. This cohort was larger than those who did name trusted business advisors: the top three sources were trading partners (26.6 percent), friends (9.7 percent) and accountants (9 percent). Only 4.2 percent nominated their bank manager. “The fact they were more likely to trust a friend to provide advice about their business than their well qualified banker or accountant shows there is a real opportunity for finance brokers, accountants and lawyers to step up and fill this gap for SMEs, to make the process easier for them,” Mr Langham said. Business owners less optimistic about revenue growth The Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index found that 58.9 percent of SMEs were still optimistic about growth when surveyed in January 2015. However the average growth rate being forecast dropped significantly - to 6.7 percent from 8.6 percent - from the growth forecast in the inaugural SME Growth Index (September 2014). More SMES are now predicting negative growth - 16 percent, up from 13.2 percent in September 2014. Further analysis indicates significant disparity between growth forecasts for SMEs based in different states. More than half of NSW-based SMEs (52.1 percent) classify themselves as in a growth phase, compared to only 24.7 percent of WA-based SMEs. "It's concerning that 38.9 percent of WA SMEs currently find themselves in a contracting business phase, compared to only 2.1 percent of NSW SMEs - perhaps a direct consequence of the major contraction that has occurred in the mining and resource sector," Mr Langham said. The Index also indicates that a lower Australian Dollar is starting to influence export competitiveness, with the number of businesses targeting international expansion increasing from 3.7 to 4.3 percent in the past six months. Other key Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index results SME use of specialist non-bank lenders has grown significantly, with 13.6 percent naming this as a preferred method of funding future growth, compared to 10.8 percent in the September 2014 Index. This suggests an increased awareness amongst SME owners that there are strong funding alternatives beyond the banks, though there is still a long way to go. Core customers (36.0 percent) and capable staff (33.7 percent) form the backbone of business growth, yet the rising incidence of business owners who seem unable to identify the key drivers behind their business growth (32.2 percent) should be of concern to key stakeholders, regulators and lenders. The fact that 20.9 percent nominated good fortune as a key driver, given smart marketing (12.7 percent) and technology integration (13.4 percent) are unexpectedly underrepresented in the list of key growth drivers, suggests that greater engagement with professional advisers would help this group to pinpoint more accurately where and why they have been successful in growing their businesses. The overwhelming majority of SMEs (89.6 percent) do not look beyond their own funds and unsecured lending sources to fund growth. 65 percent of small business owners intend to add new products, new services or new products and services in the first half of 2015, down from 68.6 percent in September 2014. Growth by merger and/or acquisition remains firmly on the agenda for 25.5 percent of growth SMEs in the first half of 2015, up from 23.7 percent. Outright acquisitions are marginally more popular than merging, (10.9 percent of enterprises were seeking new acquisitions, with 9.1 percent seeking to merge). High taxes and multiple taxes were key barriers to growth for the whole SME market (65.8 percent) ahead of challenging credit conditions (63.8 percent) and outright availability of credit (54.7 percent). For SMEs who indicated they were growing, red tape (53.8 percent) and cash flow issues (51.8 percent) were also high on the list of barriers to growth, along with the three barriers listed above.   About Scottish Pacific Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Pty Ltd provides working capital solutions to SMEs, offering the broadest range of trade and debtor finance solutions in Australasia. Established in 1988, they have full operations centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland and China. In 2014 the group had $5.38 billion in turnover, recording 23.4 percent growth. One in five Australian businesses using debtor finance are with Scottish Pacific. Scottish Pacific was awarded 2015 and 2014 Best Cash Flow Lender by The Adviser, as voted by brokers, in their annual Non-Bank Lending Awards. About the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index Initiated in September 2014, the Index will help benchmark SME growth in Australia and highlight issues of concern to the SME business community. Twice a year on behalf of Scottish Pacific, East & Partners interviews 1,253 businesses with annual revenues of between A$1-20 million. The latest round of interviews took place in late January 2015. 82 percent of respondees were SME business owners, CEOs or CFOs. The next Index will be released in September 2015. www.debtorfinance.com.au   Follow Scottish Pacific on Twitter - @ScottishPacific - and LinkedIn Scottish Pacific records 23.4 percent turnover growth 2015-03-06T02:22:47Z scottish-pacific-debtor-finance-records-23-4-percent-turnover-growth MARCH 2015 - Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance CEO, Mr Peter Langham, said the group recorded 12 month turnover in 2014 of $5.38 billion, which is up 23.4 percent from the 2013 result of $4.36 billion. The result was on the back of strong demand from SMEs across a range of sectors looking to fund growth. Funds advanced by Scottish Pacific peaked in December 2014 at $405 million, compared with $320 million in December 2013. Scottish Pacific has SME clients around Australia, predominantly in industries such as transport and logistics, wholesale, manufacturing, labour hire, business services and recruitment. Client numbers have grown from 867 in June 2013 to 967 in December 2014. Mr Langham forecast a pre-tax profit of $19 million, tracking towards profit growth of 25 percent. The industry body DIFA reports that its members overall have not experienced growth over the past 12 months to December 2014. DIFA members have a $62.7 billion turnover and provide vital funding to startup and SME businesses looking to fund growth. Scottish Pacific's share of industry turnover amongst DIFA members doubled to 7.22 percent in the three years to 2013. Since then its share has grown to 8.6 percent. Scottish Pacific has been operating in Australia and New Zealand for more than 26 years and provides facilities to enterprises from start up to $200m turnover. "About one in five businesses using debtor finance are with Scottish Pacificand we continue to play a significant role in funding Australian SMEs, providing a range of working capital solutions," Mr Langham said. About Scottish Pacific Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Pty Ltd provides working capital solutions to SMEs, offering the broadest range of trade and debtor finance solutions in Australasia. Established in 1988, Scottish Pacific has full operations centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland and China. Scottish Pacific was awarded the 2014 Best Cash Flow Lender by broker publication The Adviser, as voted by brokers, in their inaugural Non-Bank Lending Awards. www.debtorfinance.com.au Follow Scottish Pacific on Twitter - @ScottishPacific Follow Scottish Pacific on LinkedIn - Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Mother’s Day Classic founder passes, leaving an outstanding legacy for breast cancer research and awareness 2015-02-18T08:38:18Z mother-s-day-classic-founder-passes-leaving-an-outstanding-legacy-for-breast-cancer-research-and-awareness Wednesday, February 18 2015 It is with great sadness that the Mother’s Day Classic and Women in Super (WIS) announce the passing of Mother’s Day Classic co-founder, Mavis Robertson AM. Ms Robertson, who died yesterday in Melbourne aged 84, was the driving force behind establishing what has become Australia’s largest fundraiser for breast cancer research, the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic. There will be a special tribute to honour Mavis at each of the Mother’s Day Classic capital city events, to be held on Sunday May 10. With Mavis’s leadership, the group Women in Super was established in 1994. The group made a commitment to assist women and decided to raise funds and awareness in support of breast cancer research. Mavis suggested organising a run/walk event and with her persistence, the drive of her co-founder Louise Davidson and the hard work of Women in Super volunteer committees, the Mother’s Day Classic began. Mavis and Louise have always been incredibly proud that under the management of Women in Super volunteer committees the Mother’s Day Classic has grown from modest beginnings as a walk in the park, into a major national community event attended by more than 130,000 men, women and families across Australia. Since it began in 1998, Mother's Day Classic has contributed $24.3 million to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's research program. In that time breast cancer 5 year survival rates have increased to nearly 90%. Mother's Day Classic co-founder and national chair, Louise Davidson, said: "Mavis made an extraordinary contribution in so many areas of life. Her strong commitment to improving outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer led to the formation of Mother's Day Classic. We will miss Mavis deeply, both personally and professionally." A strong achiever in public life, particularly in superannuation and women's issues The Mother’s Day Classic was one of many lifetime achievements for Mavis Robertson. Mavis had an extraordinary impact on the promotion of equality for women both in their health, retirement savings and their rightful place in the decision making forums. Mavis had also been a Trustee of the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and National Chair of Women in Super. In 2011, her contribution to breast cancer research was acknowledged by NBCF with the establishment of the Mavis Robertson Fellowship to recognise the achievements of a female cancer researcher early in her career. She was also an integral part of many superannuation industry initiatives including being a founding member of the Conference of Major Super Funds (CMSF); Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST); Women in Super; and the Australia Council of Super Investors (ACSI). In a career that spanned more than six decades in the union movement and superannuation, she was a vocal advocate on women’s issues and retirement, helping drive legislative changes that improved retirement outcomes for all Australian women, particularly those on low incomes. She mentored many of today’s senior female figures in superannuation and she fought hard to ensure that women from all levels of the industry were well-represented on boards, committees and at industry events. In 1994, she was awarded membership of the Order of Australia for her services to the superannuation industry. Mother’s Day Classic co-founder and national chair, Louise Davidson, said: "We are all in awe of her vision, ambition and drive in establishing and building what has become a become a calendar must-do for thousands of families, friends and community groups, who revel in a festive event that supports a serious cause - funding research into breast cancer. “Mavis was still an active and inspiring member of the Mother’s Day Classic national committee, driving new and exciting initiatives. Her energy and presence will be much missed.” Women In Super Chair, Cate Wood said:  "Mavis was a visionary with incredible drive who was instrumental in the establishment of many institutions focused on the good governance of the not for profit superannuation sector." “Mavis was the exemplar of a good citizen, dedicating her intellect and energies to the benefit of others. She leaves a legacy of institutions which will continue to work for the rights of women and achieving a dignified retirement for all working people,” Ms Wood said. Mavis is survived by her son Peter, her daughter in law Marjorie and grandchildren Alec and Molly. For more information on the national event Mavis Robertson co-founded, go to www.mothersdayclassic.com.au Valentine's Day tips to help Australian small businesses grow 2015-02-02T04:27:20Z valentine-s-day-tips-to-help-australian-small-businesses-grow If SMEs are to grow, it's crucial that they are wooing the right type of customer. Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance works with hundreds of businesses around Australia to help them grow, by providing the necessary working capital facilities, and CEO Peter Langham said they try to encourage their clients to understand what makes a customer a "keeper". "Many small businesses take on customers without doing the proper analysis to see if that client is actually profitable for the business," Mr Langham said. “For example, a customer looking to pay rock bottom prices and take 90 days to pay may end up costing you rather than adding to your bottom line.” If there's no profit in the relationship, the signs are not good for a lifelong romance. Having key customers is crucial for small business success - in the most recent Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index, which surveyed 1200 Australian SME leaders, the SMEs named anchor clients as the second biggest driver of their growth (behind having great staff). While assessing profitability is the number one criteria, there are five other attributes SMEs should look for to ensure a long romance with their customers: 1.   Are they clear about their requirements and realistic in their expectations? That way you won't waste time and money servicing them only for them to indicate they were after something else. 2.   Do they provide constructive feedback about products or services delivered? That way you can keepthem happy and improve the service you provide. 3.   Loyalty is golden – you know you've got a great client when they won't move to another supplier without giving you the opportunity to retain their business. 4.   Do they pay to terms? Significant time and money can be wasted in chasing slow payers, not to mention the negative impact they have on cash flow. 5.   Will they be an advocate and recommend you to others? Word of mouth from a trusted source is the best type of referral, far stronger than advertisements or marketing brochures. You know you've got a keeper when they are happy and excited to share with their own networks how great your business is. About Scottish Pacific Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Pty Ltd provides working capital solutions to SMEs, offering the broadest range of trade and debtor finance solutions in Australasia. Established in 1988, Scottish Pacific has full operations centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland and China. Scottish Pacific was awarded the 2014 Best Cash Flow Lender by broker publication The Adviser, as voted by brokers, in their inaugural Non-Bank Lending Awards.  www.debtorfinance.com.au   Follow Scottish Pacific on Twitter - @ScottishPacific and LinkedIn - Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Can your region host a Mother's Day Classic event to help make breast cancer history? 2015-01-10T06:59:18Z can-your-region-host-a-mother-s-day-classic-event-to-help-make-breast-cancer-history Women in Super Mother's Day Classic is the nation's largest breast cancer research fundraiser, and organisers are calling on regional Australia to sign up to fight the disease that impacts one in 8 women. The annual Mother's Day Classic fun run/walk has become a calendar must-do for thousands of families, friends and community groups, who enjoy a festive event that supports a serious cause - funding research into breast cancer, Australia's most common female cancer. In 2014, a record 88 regional locations around Australia took part, helping to raise $4.5 million to fund National Breast Cancer Foundation research. Mother's Day Classic national chair, Louise Davidson, wants to build on this overwhelming support from regional Australia. "Every Mother's Day Classic event has a very special atmosphere, whether there are a handful of people on the beach at Broome or whether it involves thelocal Rotary Club who organize the event in Albury/Wodonga each year," Ms Davidson said. "It doesn't matter where you take part, whether you walk or run, or even how fast - it just matters why," she said. Ms Davidson said that holding a Mother's Day Classic event was also a wonderful way to show support and solidarity to those in the community dealing with breast cancer. Event to focus on family, friends and fitness Local organisers have until 16 March 2015 to apply to stage a Mother's Day Classic walk or run in their town (see p2 for details). Community organisations, athletics clubs,  schools and individuals are all welcome to participate. "We'd like to hear from enthusiastic people willing to start a local event - their efforts will be supported by our national team. It's a great tradition to start with family and friends," Ms Davidson said. Mother's Day Classic is all about raising awareness and honouring those impacted by the disease, as well as funding vital research into treatment, detection and prevention. "The more funds we raise, the faster a cure can be found," Ms Davidson said. "Our online fundraising system and fundraising tips on the website make it easy for people to support you, so get in early and see what you can achieve." Mother's Day Classic has contributed $24.3 million to breast cancer research since the event began in 1998, making it Australia's largest funder of National Breast Cancer Foundation research. In that time, the 5 year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer has increased to 89%. But with research, more can be done. "Mother's Day Classic is a celebration of spirit and hope that together we can contribute to making breast cancer history," Ms Davidson said. To find out if your region has a Mother's Day Classic event, go to http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/our-events/event-locations/  For more information on organising an event see http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/our-events/things-to-know/start-your-own-mdc-event/  To register or for more information go to www.mothersdayclassic.com.au Organised by: Women in Super (WIS) is a national organisation of women working with and for not-for-profit superannuation funds. WIS cares about the health of women as well as their financial wellbeing and in 1998 established the Mother’s Day Classic, an event which has become the single largest donor to the NBCF.   New Year, same old problems for Australian SMEs 2015-01-10T06:54:42Z new-year-same-old-problems-for-australian-smes Peter Langham, the CEO of Scottish Pacific, a national provider of working capital to SMEs and startups, said SMEs should be managing their cash flow drivers to see their way through the tougher financial circumstances that many businesses face once the new year hits. "We see the same thing every January and February. With the pre-Christmas rush behind them, business owners return to find many customers still on leave and getting invoices paid becomes even more difficult than normal," Mr Langham said. "It can also be a time of worry, as retailers are relying on good Christmas and New Year sales to bolster their cash flow and determine how quickly their suppliers will get paid," he said. Mr Langham said SMEs should focus on three crucial areas to keep their cash flow on track: Only provide credit to those who deserve it Agree to payment terms with customers and make sure they adhere to them Work with suppliers so stock levels are minimal and payment terms are in line with their own cash flow cycles Credit to the right people – base the amount of credit given, and payment terms, on the credit quality of the customer and their payment record. Take references from other suppliers and watch for deteriorating payment days.   Payment terms – After agreeing to terms, remove any obstacles that could delay payment: have correct details required on invoices, state payment terms, cross-reference purchase orders and have proof of delivery accessible in case of query or dispute. Don’t assume payment will be made on the due date - issue statements, regular reminders and make follow up calls.   Work with suppliers - understand which lines are fast or slow moving and ensure holdings are related to speed of movement. Don’t pay before the due date, unless you are getting a good discount and the cash flow supports such payments. Have the supplier understand your cash flow cycles to help manage their expectations. "We have been working with SMEs for more than 25 years and know that getting the cash flow right is crucial to any business that doesn’t have deep pockets to delve in to at certain times of the year when things can get tight," Mr Langham said. "Because we understand these businesses, we are able to be more flexible in trying to overcome short-term problems and work with our thousands of customers who turn to us to help with their cash flow needs," Mr Langham said. Debtor finance is a useful option for SMEs, as it allows them access to working capital that would otherwise be tied up in receivables for 30 or 60 days or more. Over the past 25 years debtor finance has become a mainstream funding option for SMEs in the UK, the US and Australia, with the take up accelerating significantly in Australia over the past 10 years. There are currently more than 4500 Australian SMEs, with combined annual revenues of $65 billion, using debtor finance. Scottish Pacific is Australia's largest specialist provider of debtor finance services. For more information contact: Kathryn Britt Cicero Communications Tel: 0414 661 616 kathryn@cicero.net.au About Scottish Pacific Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance Pty Ltd provides working capital solutions to SMEs, offering the broadest range of trade and debtor finance solutions in Australasia. Established in 1988, Scottish Pacific has full operations centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Auckland and China. Scottish Pacific was awarded the 2014 Best Cash Flow Lender by broker publication The Adviser, as voted by brokers, in their inaugural Non-Bank Lending Awards. www.debtorfinance.com.au Follow Scottish Pacific on Twitter - @ScottishPacific Follow Scottish Pacific on LinkedIn - Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance