A rapidly increasing number of local government authorities are utilising ICN Gateway, Industry Capability Network’s on-line business support tool to the benefit of Victorian councils and in particular their local businesses.
Councils including Frankston City Council and City of Ballarat have been extensively using ICN Gateway and the support provided by ICN staff for some time, while businesses in the City of Knox have shown keen interest since the council started using the system in October 2014. Regional councils such as Baw Baw Shire are also embracing ICN Gateway as a way to engage with local suppliers, especially with some relatively large projects coming up in 2015.
At the City of Ballarat, the adoption of the Ballarat Industry Participation Program (BIPP) has seen the amount of Council expenditure to local businesses soar to more than 80 percent of council’s overall spend.
According to Council: “This would not have been possible without the support of ICN and in particular the ICN Regional Gateway, as it is an integral part of our BIPP program. Council uploads all of its tender and procurement opportunities onto ICN Regional Gateway as a. standard operating procedure and will do so again in the coming financial year.”
At Frankston City Council, ICN has and continues to be a valuable partner for Council’s Buy Local Program, according to the Council. “The aim of Buy Local is to capture both public and private spending in the municipality to underpin business and employment growth. ICN’s resources, particularly the Gateway tool and expertise have been crucial to the success of the program.”
ICN helped Council facilitate project listings and ‘meet the buyer’ events for the Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre, South East Water Headquarters and the Frankston Hospital Expansion projects. The combined value of the projects exceeded $100 million and local businesses within Frankston City secured more than $25 million in work packages. The ripple effect was also felt in adjoining municipalities.
In addition to major construction projects Frankston City Council lists all tenders on the ICN Gateway along with a number of other opportunities, including Expressions of Interest and requests for quotes.
By doing this and actively encouraging local businesses to utilise ICN Gateway, the number of business profiles registered has increased by 300 since the Buy Local program began. The result is better business engagement by both Council and ICN, resulting in greater information sharing to deliver better assistance and outcomes to local businesses.
The collaboration between Frankston City Council and ICN was recognised when the pairing was selected as a finalist in the 2014 Economic Development Australia Awards for Excellence in the Partnerships Category.
Baw Baw in West Gippsland is another Shire starting to use ICN Gateway as a means of informing suppliers of upcoming projects and encouraging further capability in its local businesses. With around $50 million in construction projects starting in 2015, both private and local government, the council is keen to let businesses know what is coming up so they can gear up where necessary and improve their capacity to provide relevant services.
And just how interested businesses are in local opportunities has been demonstrated at Knox City. Since October 2014 Council has been listing Knox City Council Tender and regional tender opportunities through the ICN Regional Gateway.
As part of the promotion of that new program, a link was included in the Council publication, ‘Opportunity Knox’, an e-bulletin for business.
After publication, Council reviewed which items were of particular interest to the business recipients and found that the link to ICN Gateway rated well. The ICN Gateway link dominated the ‘click throughs’ from the e-bulletin, 23 percent of all clicks and 22 percent of all clicks in the first and second of all clicks in the first and second weeks respectively.