Start-ups set to benefit from US trade trip

A delegation bound for the US will help start-ups form alliances with larger companies as well as open up overseas markets for SMEs, according to the federal government.



The G’day USA 2011 trade mission, led by the Federal Government’s Water Supplier Advocate Bob Herbert, will focus upon selling Australian technology abroad.



Herbert is one of several government-appointed Supplier Advocates, all of whom will use their experience in the rail, IT, clean technologies, steel and water industries to help create opportunities for businesses in Australia and overseas.



The Supplier Advocate Program is part of a $19.1 million government initiative titled Boosting Australian Industry Participation.



Innovation Minister Kim Carr says the program is essential in developing local industries.



“Supplier Advocates are charged with helping Australian businesses work together to showcase their capabilities, improve the efficiency of supply chains and increase their competitiveness in difficult markets,” he says.


Supplier Advocates undertake a range of activities including:

  • The Rail Supplier Advocate will boost the competitiveness of SMEs through a tailored continuous improvement program for the rail sector.
  • The Information Technologies Supplier Advocate is marketing the value-for-money benefits offered to government tenderers by niche SMEs and assisting SMEs to meet government Chief Information Officer procurement requirements.
  • The Clean Technologies Supplier Advocate is leading groups of small innovative companies to collaborate on large opportunities.
  • The Steel Supplier Advocate’s engagement with SME fabricators and steel producers will increase collaboration to improve competitiveness and access to new opportunities within the steel value chain.

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is also investigating the appropriateness of supplier advocates for other industry sectors, including textiles, clothing and footwear, and the built environment.


According to Herbert, it’s in the interest of start-ups to monitor the development of Supplier Advocate activities.


“We support Enterprise Connect. One of the lessons we’ll learn is how smaller companies can form alliances [with big companies],” he says.


Enterprise Connect is a government initiative consisting of 12 centres nationwide that help SMEs by providing business improvement services including a Technology Partnerships Equipment Register.


Enterprise Connect recently launched its own initiative in the form of Enterprise Learning and Mentoring.


Specifically tailored to Enterprise Connect clients, the service is delivered by current or past business owners with relevant industry experience who offer help and guidance to others starting out on their business improvement journey.


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