The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is hoping to help local ICT companies grow their revenues and broaden their business opportunities with a new Enterpreneurs training program.
The initiative is aimed at those with 20 or fewer employees. According to the industry group's CEO, Rob Durie, the aim was to assist local ICT organisations to expand from $1 million to $1 billion organisations.
"Entrepreneurs have a passion about a product or technology but often don't have a lot of business experience," he said. "We want to create a much stronger local industry with larger local firms."
The year-long program, which is being run by the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, encompasses three-day hands-on workshops, speaker presentations, coursework and case study sessions. Participants will also have access to 10 nominated mentors. These include former managing director and founder of Volante, Allan Brackin, NetComm founder Chris Howells and Mincom founder David Merson.
Austrade and BDO Chartered Accountants and Advisors will also be providing input on export opportunities and business analysis tools respectively.
Durie said the AIIA had received a grant for about $250,000 from the Federal Government's Small Business Enterprise Culture Program. It had also received funds from the ACT and Victorian state governments.
While the majority of the first course is being covered by the grant, Durie said its next step would be to secure sponsorship funding and devise a plan to cover a 2006 course.
"Gradually, as the course becomes more recognised, we would hope participants would be interested enough to cover the cost themselves," he said.
"We don't want this to be a one-off."
At present, participants were paying a nominal sum of less than $5000, he said.
Durie said the first course of 23 candidates started last week.
These had been selected from a list of about 40 applicants across all states and territories, he said.
More information on the program is available from www.aiia.com.au.