Twenty-four businesses have bolstered their capability to supply to the defence industry, after a successful wrap of Ipswich City Council’s Operation Scale-Up pilot.
Leading defence industry primes – including Rheinmetall Defence Australia, Boeing Defence Australia, Raytheon Australia, Northrup Grumman Australia, Airbus Australia and RUAG Australia – provided mentoring on business building, marketing strategies and acquiring customers during the pilot in three one-on-one workshops.
Each participating business now has an action plan to become defence supply chain ready.
Mayor Teresa Harding, Chair of the City of Ipswich Defence Industry Development and Attraction Committee (CIDIDAC), said Council will now investigate the possibility of extending the mentoring partnership model to other industries after positive feedback on Operation Scale Up.
“As the home of the largest airbase in the Southern Hemisphere, the defence sector contributes $780 million to our annual exports and 10 per cent of our city’s jobs,” Mayor Harding said.
“Operation Scale-Up was the first program of its kind being offered by a local government in Australia, and it was a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to capitalise on growth in our advanced manufacturing sector.
“It was great to see our high-capability businesses build new relationships with defence industry primes through Operation Scale-Up. Industry leaders have reported a deeper understanding of how they can support small to medium enterprise in South East Queensland.
“We will continue to support the development of our local businesses with investment and initiatives to build a robust and resilient defence industry.”
Envirosmart – a leading Australian manufacturer of Environmental Spill, Secondary Containment and Wastewater products – were looking at how to develop strategies to support the defence sector.
Partnership Relationship Manager Lyn Wicks said the opportunity to be part of Operation Scale-Up had improved their understanding of what to tackle in order of priorities, clearly defining a pathway to commercial opportunities within their grasp.
“Thanks to the program, Envirosmart is well on its way toward Quality Management Systems accreditation and utilising networking opportunities and access to senior management in the Defence sector,” Ms Wicks said.
Specialists in precision manufacturing, ProtoNautics General Manager Chris Bush said his team were appreciative and impressed by the willingness of Ipswich City Council to be involved in maturing local businesses in the defence supply chain space.
“It was a special opportunity to speak with industry leaders and get their perspective on our capabilities and services and learn from Boeing how to best present our strategic plans and important tender outputs,” Mr Bush said.
“The big takeaway for us was that we need to engage with smaller players as well as focusing on dealing with the key contractors, and that there is an industry interest in sovereign capabilities and supply chains.”
This cohort began in May this year after Ipswich City Council called for small businesses to apply for the opportunity to learn how to successfully sell to the defence industry, and were selected based on commercial readiness, business aspirations and goals they wanted to achieve during the program.
The council-backed initiative was supported by CIDIDAC, the Department of Defence, and Australian Industry and Defence Network QLD (AIDN QLD).
Council is now reviewing pilot outcomes and will discuss policy insights and the potential for future iterations with the State and Federal governments.