July marks one year in the role of Regional Manager – Southern Tasmania with AusIndustry and Penny Stringer said she has been ‘blown away’ by the innovation and ingenuity of local SME manufacturers.
“My purpose in life is to help people. I love meeting with people, seeing their business in action and helping them to overcome barriers to further growth and success,” Penny said.
Penny as a student at Rosebery District School
AusIndustry—an arm of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources—supports businesses to grow and diversify through a range of government programs and services, acting as a conduit between government and industry. Penny is one of 30 Regional Managers working across Australia as local Business Outreach and Engagement representatives.
Alongside her colleague in the north, Kevin, Penny works as a conduit between businesses, government programs and support services.
“One of the benefits of AusIndustry is its mission to help businesses develop and commercialise ideas and new products to meet new domestic and international markets. It can also connect businesses with support across all levels of government,” she said.
“I task myself with knowing a little about a lot of things, so I can help businesses find the supports they need to help their business to grow and thrive.”
A self-admitted ‘people person’, Penny said helping people to grow and thrive in any environment has been at the core of all her work – from her first fulltime role in employment services helping job seekers find meaningful work to most recently working for UTas Careers as an Industry Engagement Coordinator, supporting industry engagement across the university, organising networking and careers education events, and helping students find work placement opportunities.
Penny grew up in both southern Tasmania and Rosebery where she enjoyed living near and exploring the local forests, national parks and heritage areas.
“My connection to Tasmania’s forests has been one of appreciating their beauty and immersing myself in nature. Now that I have a family of my own (two boys aged 12 and 9), we love getting out in nature through hiking and camping,” Penny said.
“I have a soft spot for Cradle Mountain, taking my family to visit and go hiking in the snow each winter this past few years. We deliberately go in winter so we can enjoy snow fights while we’re there as well.” she said.
“As an adult, I still enjoy its beauty and I am also seeing Tasmania’s forests as an important resource to multiple industries and sectors.”
Penny believes there are a multitude of opportunities for the forest industry in Tasmania at a federal level.
Penny with her family at Cradle Mountain
“The Department recognises forestry as a priority sector through programs such as Industry Growth Program and the National Reconstruction Fund,” Penny said.
“The forestry sector contributes to Tassie’s industry, economy and identity, and with an interest in SMEs in manufacturing, science, research and technology among others, I am keen to learn more about the sector and see how the Department could help.”
Penny’s early observations of the sector is that the industry is heaving with innovation and that it continues to evolve and she believes there are a number of opportunities currently available to industry that businesses could express interest in, including the Industry Growth Program for startups and SMEs looking to innovate and commercialise new ideas, and the National Reconstruction Fund – for non-grant-based funding opportunities across seven priority areas.
“There are a few programs available through DAFF also which I recommend businesses look into and I would keep an eye on what the state government plan on doing in this space as well.
“For startups, there are some incubators out there who are interested in helping businesses to get lift-off, like Enterprize Hobart and SeedLab Tasmania – those with consumer products.
“For businesses interested in exploring industry-research partnerships, there are programs available through CSIRO and a number of CRCs.”
If you’re interested in meeting with Penny to discuss opportunities through AusIndustry, email email@example.com.