THE AUSTRALIAN Government announced it is providing $351.8 million over ten years to establish Australian Industry Productivity Centres throughout Australia to assist small to medium enterprises grow their international competitiveness.
The NSW Business Chamber will deliver the services of the Productivity Centres with offices located in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Tweed Heads, Tamworth, Bathurst and Canberra.
The Productivity Centre services will target SME manufacturers and service companies and provide a no cost business review and access to funding for tailored advisory services.
“Our involvement is linked largely to the objective of the program — to help companies become more globally competitive to ensure their sustainability into the future,” said Christine Gibbs Stewart, GM, Business Globally with NSW Business Chamber.
“The establishment of these centres provides support to companies whose business is exposed to overseas competition, companies which are thinking about exporting, as well as already-established exporters”.
“If we are to remain competitive on the world stage we need to continue to improve our existing efficiencies and either develop, or adopt international best practice in a number of different business disciplines such as lean manufacturing techniques, process improvement and design”.
“The Productivity Centres program is an excellent opportunity for SME businesses to ensure their sustainability here at home as well as to maximise their overseas opportunities,” she added.
The program will provide access to highly-skilled business advisors and a suite of diagnostic tools to enable a business to assess its capabilities and competitive position.
Participating businesses will get a diagnostic report benchmarking their company and providing clear steps for further action.
Funding of up to $20,000 on a matching basis will then be available to implement improvements and pursue opportunities identified.
To participate in the Productivity Centres, companies must have an Australian Company Number (ACN); have turned over more than $2 million and under $100 million in the last financial year; have been operating for at least three years and be exposed to an international market (all manufacturing firms are considered to meet this criterion).
According to Gibbs Stewart, the program will also develop the Expertise Australia database.
“This will be an on-line resource, which suppliers of technology and expertise can use to record their capabilities as well as providing firms a location to seek such expertise.”
For more information or to get involved visit the APIC website at www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/AIPC.