Thursday, 02 June 2016 01:42

Quid pro quo for Telstra, NAB in new digital marketplace for SMBs Featured

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Telstra and the National Australia Bank (NAB) have joined forces to create a digital business marketplace — dubbed Proquo  designed to provide small businesses with an online platform where they can network, trade or swap services with each other.

The two companies say their Proquo joint startup venture will offer a range of services to more than two million Australian small businesses where they will soon be able to develop and grow their businesses.

Proquo will begin a pilot phase this month, with a full launch expected in July.

The startup takes its name from what Telstra and NAB say 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”.

The Proquo app was developed by NAB’s innovation hub NAB Labs and Telstra’s Gurrowa Innovation Lab, using cloud-based technology and can be accessed from the web, tablet or mobile devices.

While it is a 50/50 joint venture, it will operate as an independent entity and is specifically aimed at small and micro businesses that either can offer, or are in need of, marketing, accounting, legal, design or technology services.

Registration with Proquo is deemed by NAB and Telstra as quick and easy and can be done at the Proquo website

In the establishment phase, Proquo will be led by Co-CEOs Carl Spurling and Ricky Lam from NAB and Telstra respectively. The board of the new venture comprises Jonathan Davey (executive general manager of NAB Labs),  Andy Ellis (group managing director of Telstra Business), Christine Russo (head of key accounts at Telstra) and Leigh O’Neill (NAB executive general manager of micro and small businesses).

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.

“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, create a really innovative business option for the small business community.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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