02 Jun 2016

NAB & Telstra create digital business marketplace for small business

Small businesses around Australia will soon be able to develop and grow through a new digital marketplace called Proquo; a start-up joint venture between NAB and Telstra.

Proquo will offer more than two million Australian small businesses an online platform to network, trade or swap services with each other.

Small businesses will be able source a range of services from other providers, create briefs for the work they need, exchange quotes, manage payments and publish reviews all on the one simple platform.

Proquo is a modern interpretation of the phrase quid pro quo (meaning ‘this for that’) and offers users the unique ability to swap or exchange their skills or services in addition to traditional monetary payments.

Proquo was developed by NAB’s innovation hub, NAB Labs and Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab. While it is a 50/50 joint venture, it will operate as an independent entity.

NAB Executive General Manager Micro and Small Business Leigh O’Neill said NAB was continually looking at ways to support Australian businesses and to make it easier for them to build their business.

“Small business is the backbone of the Australian economy; around 97% of all Australian businesses are small businesses and they provide a huge economic contribution to Australia’s current and future prosperity,” Ms O’Neill said.

“Small business owners tell us they are continually looking for new ways to do business and we think Proquo will provide them with a unique way to network and grow their business.

“Strategic partnerships like this one with Telstra, to combine the capabilities of two of Australia’s biggest companies, creates a really innovative business option for the small business community,” Ms O’Neill said.

Telstra Group Managing Director Telstra Business, Andy Ellis said Telstra supports more than 1 million businesses across the country with technology solutions so they can focus on running their business; and believes Proquo will offer them a new and innovative way to network and help their business thrive.

“Small businesses often struggle to get off the ground and our research shows that the exchanging of services will be a great advantage to many start-ups.

“We’re excited and proud to partner with NAB to offer this unique digital platform. This joint venture further highlights our commitment to small business so they can run, develop and grow their business,” said Mr Ellis.

Proquo will begin a pilot phase in June, with a full launch expected in July 2016.

More information is available at www.proquo.com.au

 

Fast Facts about Proquo

  • A unique feature of Proquo is the ability for users to swap or exchange their services.
  • Proquo is aimed at small and micro businesses who either can offer or are in need of marketing, accounting, legal, design or technology services.
  • Registration is quick and easy and can be done at www.proquo.com.au
  • The workflow has five simple steps for small businesses to help them seek and obtain services from the community – (1) Write a brief; (2) Write a quote; (3)Agree outcomes and commence work; (4) Complete and pay; (5) Rate and review).
  • The application has been developed using cloud based technology and can be accessed from the web, tablet or mobile devices.

More about Proquo

  • In the establishment phase, Proquo will be led by Co-CEO’s Carl Spurling and Ricky Lam from NAB and Telstra respectively.
  • Proquo’s board comprises: Jonathan Davey (Executive General Manager of NAB Labs); Leigh O’Neill (NAB Executive General Manager of Micro and Small Businesses); Andy Ellis (Group Managing Director of Telstra Business); and Christine Russo (Head of Key Accounts at Telstra).
  • In addition, an independent Chairperson will be appointed to the Board.
  • Proquo is operating independently from the parent companies, and is based in a co-working space.
  • Telstra and NAB have been collaborating on the Proquo concept since October last year.
  • The idea for Proquo emerged from innovation experiments that were being independently completed by NAB Labs and by Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab.

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