Business grants worth up to $40,000 are being offered to help Western Australian companies join together in `networks', so they can compete internationally with a more comprehensive range of services and products.
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Ian Taylor said today companies would be expected to compete for the grants and the final selection would be made in February next year.
"Once the judges make their choice, we would aim to have at least four `networks' established by the end of 1993," Mr Taylor said.
"There will be no hard and fast rules about the type of networks proposed for the grants - only that they comprise at least three Western Australian enterprises and that they operate in either the manufacturing or traded services sector."
Mr Taylor said the grants would be made available through the joint Commonwealth/State Government-funded NIES program administered in Perth by the Department of State Development.
"Used in the right way, a network can give a smaller company all the marketing muscle of a large enterprise," Mr Taylor said.
"But it is no use trying to create a network unless there is a real commercial opportunity to be exploited.
"You also need someone around with lots of energy and drive who will bring together member companies so they perform well."
Mr Taylor said the only role for Government was to encourage companies to examine the concept.
"If companies can be brought together in a way that increases our export strength, then the State will quickly see the economic advantages," he said.
"The new grants are designed to encourage companies to examine the concept and at the same time provide some of the finance needed to plan, establish and promote new networks."
Copies of the application pack are available from: John Milroy, Department of State Development, 170 St George's Terrace, Perth 6000.