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Tuesday, 27 Jun 2017

World SME Day celebrates regional manufacturing success stories

Event brings Illawarra businesses and University experts together

The contribution of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to the regional manufacturing sector will be celebrated at a World SME Day event at the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Innovation Campus on Tuesday 27 June.

Hosted by UOW’s Advantage SME and supported by the NSW Government, the event showcases three successful SME manufacturing transformations from the Illawarra, Hunter and Geelong. This will be followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Ms Katrina Skellern.

Ms Skellern has done extensive research into manufacturing transformations across Australian regional areas and will provide a practical road map for local firms wanting to transform for the future.

UOW Senior Manager of Innovation and Commercial Research (ICR) Mr Klaus Krauter said SMEs are widely recognised as the growth engine of economies and that World SME Day will bring greater awareness of the immense contributions they make to regional manufacturing.

“This is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate SMEs important contribution to the Australian economy in general and to the Illawarra economy in particular,” Mr Krauter said.

“It is also an opportunity for SMEs to connect to the university and to learn how UOW can help them create new capabilities that will better enable them to compete locally and globally.”

Member for Kiama and Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward said:

“Advanced manufacturing is one of the region’s most important sectors and a key generator of innovation, technology, and skills transfer for the local economy.

“The NSW Government through its $12 million Boosting Business Innovation Program is supporting the University of Wollongong and other universities to engage with manufacturers to help them innovate and commercialise technology and services.

“This event is supported as part of the Boost program and will be a valuable learning and networking opportunity for regional manufacturers.”

The companies featured in the regional transformation showcase are: Nowchem (Nowra Chemical Manufacturers) from the Illawarra; BanLaw (Unified Fuel Management) from the Hunter; and Austeng (Engineering) from Geelong. Nowchem Managing Director Mr John Lamont is a long-term collaborator with UOW.

With over 35 years’ experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector, Mr Lamont has transformed a small, family-owned chemical business into a world-class chemical and pharmaceutical facility. His versatile approach to responding to market demand has created new opportunities for the business including local and international collaborations.

Recently, Mr Lamont and his team have collaborated with UOW and Venus Shell Systems using Advantage SME funding to ensure innovation is continually developed within the region.

“New ideas and innovation has invigorated our business and has provided a positive outlook to the future of the business and for the employees,” Mr Lamont said.

“Collaboration gives us new learning experiences and allows the business to learn from like-minded people that are in different sectors of the industry.”

ABOUT ADVANTAGE SME

Advantage SME is part of a NSW State Government program to drive innovation. The Boosting Business Innovation Program is a two-year initiative to support greater collaboration between research organisations and local business.

Advantage SME can assist small to medium enterprises grow and thrive in the global economy across industries such as advanced manufacturing, engineering technologies and services, ICT, shared and financial services, health and aged care.

It provides businesses with access to the capabilities and resources on offer at UOW, including its talented students, leading researchers and advanced laboratories, as well as funding and incentives, such as collaboration vouchers that provide dollar-for-dollar funding to subsidise the cost of commercial research.

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