The IT Business Matchmaking in Western Sydney project was established in early 2002 by the NSW Innovation Council. This was in response to an identified need to create a mechanism to assist companies meet their industry development obligations under the Commonwealth Government’s Strategic
Partnerships for Industry Development Agreements (“SPIDA”) Program (or equivalent), for the benefit of NSW SMEs, particularly those based in Western Sydney.
The SPIDA program was a successor to the Partnership for Development program which was originally run by the Department of Industry, Science and Technology. Both programs aimed to gain support and assistance of Australian Information and Communications Technology SMEs from MNCs. This IT
Matchmaking Project was based on the need of SPIDA companies to work with SMEs to meet their program goals. The SPIDA program was cancelled by the government in June 2002 thereby removing a lever to access MNCs to promote SME products and services.
This project highlighted the initiative of one-on-one involvement to help early stage development of SMEs. It clearly showed that one-on-one support of an SME with an Executive Mentor to provide the business skills and experience that is most commonly lacking in SMEs can significantly increase the chances of success and reduce the risk of failure. The resourcing requirement for this concept may be beyond the capacity of government to support it, however we have identified some potential ways which can deliver support to SMEs.
We have included in Section 8 details of some concepts, opportunities and programs which can assist SMEs in the ICT industry to grow and develop more successfully at a faster rate.
The key initiative identified is the establishment of an Executive Mentor program.