NERA joins forces with WA Government and business community to improve diversity and fast-track COVID-19 recovery across priority industry sectors

11 August 2020

Businesses across metropolitan and regional WA impacted by COVID-19 can now access tailored mentoring, coaching and support services to help them rebuild capacities, capability and improve diversity as part of Fast Forward WA — a new initiative backed by NERA, the WA State Government and leading business organisations.

Developed and delivered by Atomic Sky, Fast Forward WA is a free-to-attend program tailored to small and medium businesses that support WA’s priority industry sectors, including those drawn from WA’s critical energy resources supply chain, as well as small manufacturing companies, providers of services or products to the mining and agricultural sectors.

Initially focussing on managing cash flow and liquidity, digital marketing and strategic tactics for new sales, followed by leadership development and pragmatic cost-effective ways to unlock capacity, Fast Forward WA’s program has been designed to embed new skills and techniques to help each business strategically adapt to post-COVID-19 conditions and market paradigms.

Interested businesses can apply now to take part in Fast Forward WA, with activities split into two streams:

  1. Open Workshop Series
    Held virtually, the Open Workshops will provide free, pragmatic training on topics essential for small and medium business to recover, lead and grow through the COVID-19 recovery market. Any business that registers can attend all or any of the workshops, which will be run from 21 Aug to 2 Nov 2020 and consist of six training workshops followed by Q&A, via virtual online delivery. Participants can either register online here for all sessions or for selected sessions.

  2. Extended Mentoring Program
    The Program is offered free of charge via an application and selection process (only 30 spots available), and is specifically designed for B2B in industrial sectors like manufacturing companies, providers of services or products to the oil and gas, mining, agriculture, transport, defence, healthcare or technology.

    The Program will provide group coaching, specialist mentoring, access to a mental health and safety training portal, and an invitation to a catered networking event in Perth. Companies also get access to the Tap into Safety online mental health and learning platform. Applications close 1 September. Apply here.

With support from NERA and the WA State Australian Government New Industries Fund, businesses across WA’s regional communities also have access to these critical support services through a companion program: Regional Reboot. Delivered by AgriStart, Regional Reboot will provide business resilience workshops across regional centres in WA and mentoring sessions for 20 selected business as part of a customised business reboot program.

NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said an industry-led recovery from COVID-19 must include support measure that assist SMEs rebuild business resilience, adapt to disrupted market conditions and embrace technology opportunities that can unlock productivity improvements and create jobs. 

“WA is home to world-class innovative small businesses, including many who provide products and solutions to our critical energy resources sector. We encourage all of these SMEs, particularly those in our State’s regional centres who have been impacted by COVID-19, to apply for this Program and leverage the support on offer to optimise their businesses and create significant flow-on effects throughout our State,” Ms Taylor said.

Fast Forward WA is also helping to build broader business resilience across WA by showcasing a free and online database of videos, tools, links and contacts to help all small businesses access available support, including where to look for government assistance (State and Federal), how to complete grant applications and other services.

NERA is joined as a supporter of Fast Forward WA by the WA State Australian Government New Industries Fund, Telstra Purple and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Other collaborators in the initiative include StartUp WA, Tap into Safety, Kooyar Wongi, Yoswan Enterprises, Coachtique, Agility Shift, Image Intelligence and Studio StartUp.

For more information and to register for the free support, go to