Defence Primes are contractors that deliver gears of war to the Department of Defence. Usually, they work with smaller companies to maintain a chain of supply in a specific sector. This is both for their benefit and the sake of government policy. If you own a small sized company and want to work with them, you will need some guidance.

While Defence Primes are open to small enterprises, you can only collaborate with them if you can meet their demands. You have to convince them that what you have to offer shall fulfil their interests. You also must have the potential for long term sustenance with a valid strategy and approach.

Engaging with Defence Primes is a big leap for any SME or SMB. So, you must have all the necessary information and preparations regarding how you should collaborate with Defence Primes in Australia. Besides discussing it, we have also added some tips for successful collaboration with Defence Primes as well as the benefits it endows to both parties.

Collaborating with Defence Primes in Australia

The Defence sector is very important in Australia. Australia’s annual defence budget of 40+ billion dollars is just a reflection of it. In recent times, the 200-billion-dollar investment in the Defence sector by the Australian government has opened the floodgates of possibilities for the small businesses.

Like any relationship in real life – trust, responsibilities and sincerity are the foundation of engagement with Defense Primes. You have to maintain some specific formalities to solidify the bond between you and prime contractors. Here is how to engage with Defence Primes in Australia:

  1. Ensure The Primes a Good Reason

Prime contractors are open to engagement with SMEs. The Australian Government’s Defence procurement policy and aim to help SMEs be a part of the bigger picture have brought on endless opportunities for SMEs.

But here is the thing; it’s the Defence sector which is no slouch. They will only collaborate with you if they see potential in your company and are convinced that you have something to offer to the Defence sector. Do your research beforehand and make sure you have the capability to match the extent of scope and complexity of the defence sector.

If the Defence authorities see that your approach has proper planning and strategy, and it is going to benefit them; the chances of getting a green light becomes much higher.

2. Openly Discuss Ideas and Expertise

Being open-minded is essential for any sustainable relationship. This is even more important for SMEs when engaging Defence Primes for long-lasting collaboration. Share every idea openly about the project in hand.

You might argue that not everything is for discussion such as intellectual properties and secretive methods within the company. While that’s true, don’t hold anything back other than those.

Another benefit of fearless discussion is that the prime will understand your capabilities. They have already worked with hundreds of SMEs but this is your first time. So, they are likely to understand your reach even better than yourself. Thus, the prime contractor can appoint you at a level suitable for you and allow you to work your way up building a more stable and strong relationship.

3. Take the Spotlight (But not all of it)

During conversation with Primes, actively try to showcase what you have to offer. Don’t let them build up the notion that you are only here for business. Both Primes and Defence sectors want innovation, long term strategies and consistent service from SMEs. Know what they want and show them that you have what it takes.

However, don’t make the conversation all about yourself. This might hurt your image. Remember that the Primes are your client. The focus should be on them, not you. Pay heed to what they have to say and at the same time, express yourself too. Be in the spotlight, but keep some space for others as well.

  1. Be Patient And Responsive

You have to understand that Defence Primes are incredibly busy corporations. They have complex administration and it takes an exceedingly long time to prepare Defence tenders. So, you have to be patient here. It is a sign that you value the relationship between you and the Primes, and also the way the procedure works.

The Prime contractors will inquire about anything they need to know so always be quick to respond. If they request you to provide any information, make sure you meet the deadline. As they are very busy, you being on time shall accentuate your value among thousands of your competitors.

The Benefits of SMEs and Defence Primes Collaboration

You might wonder why such giants like Defense Primes would work with small businesses. We had the same thought too when we first heard about this policy. Prime contractors have all the assets and manpower to capitalize on anything so why bother collaborating with someone out of the picture.

Small businesses get all types of benefits from Defence Primes that they would be unable to avail themselves of otherwise. They lack resources and fundings. With appropriate collaboration and agreements, Prime contractors shall provide all sorts of assets.

This is obvious that small companies would benefit from the large corporation but what about the other way around? What small businesses might have to offer to Defence Prime contractors? Well, there’s a lot.

For starters, primes build long lasting and strategic relationships with small companies. They share ideas, innovations and technologies. As we all know, two heads are better than one. That is exactly the case here.

From this type of collaboration, Primes can deliver unique solutions to their customers. They can focus more on intersectoral relations while small companies do the heavy lifting, of course with help of the Primes. This strengthens the business ground and relation with their clients as well as SMEs.

Tips For Successful Collaboration

No matter how good you are at relation affairs, there is always room to improve. And when you are the owner of an SME trying to engage with Defence Primes, you need all the improvements you can get. Here are some tips for successful collaboration with Defence Primes:

Be Flexible: The Primes are the top dogs here. They have more experience and they know how things work. So, they will often share ideas on how you should remodel your business or approach for the betterment of both parties. You’ll have to lend an ear to them and be flexible to such suggestions.

Be Very Clear How This Collaboration Can Help Both Parties: Express on the behalf of both parties. Don’t make the conversation about yourself. Explain how this relation can help both parties. If the Primes think that you are looking out for their interest as well, the relationship is likely to flourish.

Find the Right Contact: It’s important to find the right individual to represent your company. Understand who you should talk to inside these giant companies and establish a relationship that will benefit you. Finding the right individual who can advocate for you is paramount in such collaborations.


Australian Government policy to procure military goods through SMEs is an admirable step. Around 3000 companies that supply to the Defence sectors are SMEs and SMBs and only a handful of them have clear, long-term strategies.

So, they needed a push and the government has given it. As a small business owner, you should not think twice to capitalize on this opportunity to make a name for yourself in the coming days.


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