A survey of 80 SMEs conducted by Nova Systems revealed 78 per cent felt there were more opportunities in the defence sector that could be pursued given the right environment.
SMEs also said they face significant and varied challenges in the current Australian landscape and some said the Commonwealth could better support them through initiatives such as grants, further education and removing red tape.
One SME told the summit: “If you want sovereign capability you need to grow and carve out certain opportunities for Australian owned medium-sized businesses.”
Another said: “(We need to ensure) that Australian SME's, with capabilities that can meet Defence requirements, are engaged by Defence and the Primes as a priority instead of allowing Defence and the Primes to take the easy option by reaching back to traditional supply chains.”
Nova Systems Group Chief Executive Jim McDowell said the Australian SME landscape was ripe with potential and could respond quickly to the increasingly urgent needs of defence.
“Nova Systems has been building sovereign capability for more than 20 years. We have gone through the journey of being an SME and understand the needs of our supply chain and how we can help them grow, which only strengthens Australian industry,” Mr McDowell said.
“The findings from our survey are clear –there is no doubt Australian SMEs are capable of taking on both small and larger scale defence projects –but they are asking for more support and long-term certainty so they can continue to grow and contribute to the national skills base.”
Jim McDowell, CEO, Nova Systems
Mr McDowell said Australian SMEs were “innovative and incredibly agile”.
“It makes sense to better harness their expertise to grow our sovereign capability so we can become more self-sufficient as a nation,” Mr McDowell said.
“On the flip side, the alternative is that we remain with the status quo and become increasingly reliant on our international partners.”
With the current volatile global climate, Mr McDowell said it was critical we continue to grow Australia’s sovereign capability–and that includes utilising SMEs across our defence sector.
“Growing Australia’s sovereign capability with support from our SMEs is a win-win –it helps secure our national security, provides a boost to our economy, and profits and investment stay here in Australia.”
Nova Systems is an Australian owned and operated, leading engineering services and technology solutions company with more than 20 years’ experience working as a trusted defence partner.
Nova Systems currently works with more than 350 supply chain partners and contributes more than $300 million to the economy through the creation of local jobs.
Recognising the critical importance of Australian owned and operated SMEs, Nova Systems conducted the survey of SMEs as part of its national SME Summit held in May during the Indo Pacific Exhibition.