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ACT Government launches Small Business Innovation Partnerships Program co-designed with ThinkPlace

On April 29 2016, the ACT Government launched their Small Business Innovation Partnerships (SBIP) Program at the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion at Canberra’s stunning National Arboretum. The program, proudly co-designed by ThinkPlace last year, was launched by the Minister for Small Business and the Arts, Dr Chris Bourke, and Local Industry Advocate and former senator, Kate Lundy. 

The SBIP Program will make it easier for the region’s world-class businesses to engage with the ACT Government by opening the door to government procurement opportunities. The Program represents one of the ways the ACT Government is encouraging new relationships between businesses and government, facilitating more agile interaction, and fostering vibrancy and innovation in the region’s business and entrepreneurial communities. SBIP provides a staged procurement process that connects ACT Government Directorates with innovative local and small-medium enterprises (SMEs). Together, they co-design solutions and deliver specific outcomes for the ACT public sector by supporting these businesses to commercialise and/or establish testimonial sites for their products.

The framework for the SBIP Program was co-designed by ThinkPlacers Steph Mellor and Aimee Reeves together with the ACT Government’s Innovation Team in April last year.  We built the framework through a series of rapid design conversations and workshops that included representatives from across ACT Government Directorates, the local innovation community (including the Canberra Innovation Network - CBRIN) and local businesses and entrepreneurs who shared their challenges and opportunities. This user-centred, co-design approach not only yielded an implementable and pragmatic solution for ACT Government to take forward, but also modelled the kind of agile SME-Government engagement that the SBIP Program ultimately aims to foster. 

Further information on the Small Business Innovation Partnerships program is available here.