Who do we need in a crisis? Resilient, creative people who embrace challenges as opportunities, see lateral possibilities others miss, and blaze a trail towards a brighter future with persistent hard work – people like our innovative clients in research and industry.

Since 2011, gemaker has been advising, assisting and championing Australian innovators with significant success. But it has sometimes seemed unreasonably difficult to attract the attention innovators deserve from our media – and thereby garner the support they need from government, investors and industry stakeholders to turn their great ideas into realities.

As the emergence of COVID-19 necessitated life-saving shutdowns that choked global supply chains and sunk our economy into recession, we’ve found it easier to explain the high value of our clients and other Australian innovators. Increasingly, journalists, politicians, financiers and the public appreciate that Australia’s future wellbeing depends on building capacity in innovative domestic manufacturing to meet global demand for advanced and clean technologies, creating new, sustainable industries, jobs and export revenue.

In recent weeks, this key message has been received and transmitted by Australian media, thanks in large part to gemaker’s Head of Media and Communications Tracey Spicer. During recent weeks, gemaker clients and our Managing Director Natalie Chapman have featured on national news platforms, conveying the critical importance of supporting innovative Australian manufacturers.

Spotlight on Stormseal

In June, national media shone deserved attention on Stormseal, to whom gemaker has provided commercialisation advice and assistance since 2014. Stormseal is a polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to securely wrap a damaged roof or structure. This award-winning, Australian innovation has protected more than 9,000 buildings globally, helping businesses and communities recover faster after disastrous weather.

As Nine News reported, Stormseal was used to protect the roofs and treasured contents of iconic national institutions damaged in Canberra’s catastrophic January hailstorm. The report highlighted the advantage Stormseal has enjoyed during the Coronavirus pandemic through being manufactured in Australian rather than depending on vulnerable international supply chains. Nine News also pointed to the Australian Government grant that led to strong uptake of Stormseal in the US as an example of how investment in innovation generates Australian jobs and exports as well as huge social benefits.

ASM attracts attention

In July, another of gemaker’s long-term clients, Australian Strategic Materials (ASM), featured on Nine News, drawing attention to our heavy reliance on offshore supply of essential minerals. Post-pandemic, Australian manufacturing could rise on the flood of global demand for clean energy (wind, solar and hydrogen), electric vehicles, microelectronics and next-gen aerospace and medical technologies. But these depend on critical minerals: Zirconium (Zr), Rare Earths (REs), Niobium (Nb) and Hafnium (Hf ). Permanent magnets made from REs are essential to many advanced technologies. Currently, China controls the global supply of Zr, REs and downstream technologies, while Brazil dominates Nb supply.

Fortunately, ASM has a proven large, polymetallic resource near Dubbo NSW and has spent 15 years optimising minerals processing with ANSTO, to offer an alternative supply of value-added Zr, REs, Nb and Hf oxides and metals for high-growth global markets.

What you see is… innovators building Australia’s manufacturing base

Another innovative gemaker client who has stepped up to strengthen Australian manufacturing in this crisis is What You See Is What You Get 3D or WYSIWYG 3D, who provide advanced 3D scanning and printing services for global manufacturers, heritage conservators, artists and the entertainment industry. WYSIWYG 3D made news by helping a new local business to manufacture gym equipment for the domestic market when supply from China diminished. As WYSIWYG 3D Founder and MD Shane Rolton said ‘Every dollar someone spends on something Australian-made is an investment into their children’s future.’

While COVID-19 has cloaked the world in dark clouds, by shining a spotlight on Australian innovators like these, the media are illuminating our path out of the pandemic-induced recession. It’s clearer than ever that Australia’s future prosperity and security depend on investment in innovation.