Westpac has named 200 Australian SMEs as the ‘Businesses of Tomorrow’ and has selected 20 to receive additional mentoring and a $100,000 professional services package.
The 200 companies, chosen from almost 2,000 applications nationally, “demonstrated a clear vision to shape Australia's economy” and the qualities to do so, the bank said.
The cohort – which have a collective turnover of approximately $2 billion per year, and support thousands of employees – will receive access to online business courses and networking opportunities.
The top 20 will participate in a tailored mentoring program from the likes of fashion designer Carla Zampatti, media icon Ita Buttrose, rugby World Cup winner John Eales, Airtasker founder Tim Fung and AGL CEO Andrew Vesey. The businesses will also embark on a global study tour in the USA and China later in the year.
The 20 are: Anatomics, Ansarada, Bioproton, Car Next Door, Concrete Playground, Damstra Technology, Droneshield, FixtySix Creations, GoodCompany, Healthshare, Hireup, Love To Dream, Mathspace, Oreco Group (Australian Prime Fibre), PlantMiner, Plastic Forests, Qirx, QuintessenceLabs, Redarc Electronics and Trajan Scientific & Medical.
“We had so many businesses with the potential to go global, and one of the things we hope to do is support that expansion. I think it's something all Australians should be proud of because we have all these great companies with the potential to take on the world," said David Lindberg, chief executive Westpac Business Bank.
Of the 200 businesses – 40 per cent were technology companies, with 9 per cent in the health sector, and 9 per cent operating in the education sector.
"Our businesses represent the diversity of Australia – large and small, new and established businesses, across all industries and sectors,” Lindberg added.
"It's pleasing to see strong representation among service-led sectors such as health, professional services and technology, all predicted to have strong growth over the next 10 years. These businesses demonstrated the potential for a higher purpose."
Westpac celebrated its 200th birthday on Saturday, making it Australia’s oldest company and the first company in Australia’s history to enter its third century of business, the company said.
Speaking at the Amazon Web Service Summit in Sydney last week Westpac group CEO Brian Hartzer said he likes to describe his company as the “original 200-year-old startup” — with the capacity to innovate embedded “deep in the DNA of the Westpac group”.
Westpac CIO Dave Curran said last week that he expects that the bank will move completely into the public cloud in less than 10 years but it needs to overcome regulatory hurdles before achieving that goal.