Defence export advocate goes virtual promoting small business to the world

Efforts to boost Australia’s defence exports are going online with plans for a series of webinars and one-on-one virtual discussions with small businesses across the country.

The virtual sessions will be led by Australia’s Defence Export Advocate, David Johnston, who has been tasked to help small businesses overcome export challenges arising from COVID-19.

The Australian Defence Export Office (ADEO) will implement a range of online support activities to assist companies in maximising export opportunities.

Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said one of the innovative measures will see “pitch training” to help small businesses better promote and market their products and services online.

“This will help Australian companies put their best foot forward when engaging with overseas military services and international businesses,” Price said.

“The pitch training will be delivered as an online, five-week course, and includes coursework, webinars and one-on-one support.

“It is free to members of defence industry who are participating in Team Defence Australia-supported online or physical trade events.”

Price also announced that Johnston’s tenure as Defence Export Advocate had been extended by 12 months, in a move aimed at providing continuing support and continuity for the sector, especially during this COVID period.

Johnston has held the position since 2018, providing high-level advocacy on behalf of Australia’s defence industry, including targeted support and advice.

“Mr Johnston’s re-appointment ensures Australia’s defence products will continue to be promoted and supported around the world and his experience will also help companies form positive linkages with Defence,” Price said.

“His substantial experience with ministerial and international engagements enables him to support Australian industry to access a wide range of export opportunities and build relationships in key markets.

“Mr Johnston’s advice and assistance to small business is a key element of the support offered by the Defence Export Strategy, the ADEO and its initiatives.

“Industry frequently acknowledges the value and influence that Mr Johnston’s advocacy work brings, which is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant impact it is having on small business right across Australia,” Price said.