Owner: Thomas Pollock
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Industry: Consulting and strategy, and education
Headed up by founder Thomas Pollock, THINQ Learning offers training to the owners of small and medium businesses, helping them understand, discover and secure government contracts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he started offering up that training free of charge, taking a roadshow all over Queensland and accessing local businesses via their local chambers of commerce.
Pollock’s broad message is one of resilience. There will always be government business for the taking, regardless of the economic situation.
So, the more SMEs are prepared to take those contracts on, the better their local communities will fare.
“Local communities experience lowered unemployment rates, greater community involvement from business, innovative local community initiatives and programs, and a growing local economy,” he explains.
One of the main barriers, Pollock says, is that many small business owners don’t fully understand whether they’re ready for government contracts or not. Often they are in a strong position to compete with big business, they just don’t realise it.
To combat this, THINQ also developed a free ‘Are You Gov Ready’ Pulse Check tool, allowing business owners to see where they’re hitting the mark, and where they might need to put in some work.
Pollock estimates that somewhere between 500 and 600 SMEs have attended the workshops since March. In 2021, he’s hoping to go national, with a target of reaching 5,000 SMEs through the free sessions, and 10,000 through the Pulse Check tool.
He hopes that will translate to SMEs securing some $5 million in government contracts — cash that will trickle down to local communities.
COVID-19 has changed the landscape for all small businesses, possibly forever, the founder notes. To survive, they’re having to think a little differently, increasing their digital presence and diversifying revenue streams.
“SMEs that aren’t already embracing this change are finding it increasingly difficult to continue,” Pollock says.
“If we see further increases in small business closures, many of our distinct and vibrant local communities will very quickly die without a strong small business sector to support them (and of course vice-versa).”