Victorian manufacturer Gekko Systems recently switched from making mine plant equipment to creating ventilators and is now playing a crucial role in Australia’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Using its background in Victoria’s METS sector making mining plant equipment, the Ballarat-based businesses created a prototype for a ventilator for hospital use, which will soon be heading to the Therapeutic Goods Administrator for assessment ahead of a potential rollout.
The project was supported with funding assistance from the Victorian State Government, which announced the roll-out of a new program to help other Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) businesses follow in Gekko’s footsteps in growing successful businesses to supply customers across the world.
The METS Regional Innovation Accelerator program is designed to help regionally-based METS businesses engage with local mining companies, fast-track product innovation and promote their services.
The 2020 winter program has been designed as an online seminar program consisting of weekly sessions for eight weeks.
Four of the sessions will be mini workshops, where current issues will be presented and discussed, whereas the four remaining sessions will cover general business development, skills to support managers and help staff build the skills needed to drive business success.
“Regional Victorians are some of the most innovative and resilient people around – Gekko’s efforts prove that and show what can be achieved when we back our METS sector to think big,” said Victorian Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes.
“Our accelerator program will help METS businesses benefit from Victoria’s mining boom, regardless of where they’re located in Victoria.”
Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula said the Government has supported Gekko Systems and other Victorian manufacturers like Grey Innovation with funding to advance plans for the production of ventilators.
“The ability of Victorian companies to pivot and adapt so they can help in the fight against coronavirus has been impressive, and we’re proud to be backing them,” the Minister said.
Gekko Systems managing director Elizabeth Lewis-Gray added: “A growing mining industry in Victoria can and will significantly contribute to growing globally competitive and sustainable businesses, jobs and exports in the Victorian METS sector – especially in the regions.”