Regional accelerator program boosts ventilator innovation
Gekko Systems, a business that manufactures mine plant equipment, turned its focus to creating ventilators in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Following this success story, the Victorian Government has announced the rollout of a new program to help other mining equipment, technology and services (METS) businesses in the state to follow in Gekko’s footsteps, assisting in the growth and success of these businesses to boost vital safety supply in the state, around Australia and across the world. “Regional Victorians are some of the most innovative and resilient people around,” said Jaclyn Symes, Victoria’s Minister for Resources. “Gekko’s efforts prove that and show what can be achieved when we back our METS sector to think big. Our accelerator program will help METS businesses benefit from Victoria’s mining boom, regardless of where they’re located in Victoria.”
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 will consist of weekly online seminars over eight weeks. Ballarat’s Gekko Systems, for example, used its background in Victoria’s METS sector making mining plant equipment to create a prototype for a ventilator for hospital use. “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,” said Martin Pakula, Victoria’s Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade.
The GeVentor prototypes will soon head to the Therapeutic Goods Administrator for assessment ahead of a potential rollout, supported by the Victorian Government, the Committee for Ballarat, Ballarat Health Services, the Buninyong Community Bank and the wider community. If approved, the ventilators could be available for use with Victorian patients, as well as for Australian and international use. “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,” said Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, Managing Director of Gekko Systems.
The government has supported Gekko Systems and other Victorian manufacturers like Grey Innovation with funding to advance plans for the production of ventilators. The METS industries include a range of services and support thousands of jobs in Victoria — including mineral exploration, mining products, engineering consulting, construction and information technology. For more information on the METS accelerator program, visit www.earthresources.vic.gov.au.
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