Dream big and believe you can achieve anything is the life philosophy of Simon Kennedy, founder and Managing Director of engineering and specialist steel fabrication company Smart Fabrication.
From humble beginnings, the Port Adelaide based company has grown significantly and now employ about 50 highly qualified staff and contractors in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
“A while ago I would have said I was a South Australian company. Now I would say I am an international organisation with a head office in South Australia,” Simon said.
Simon has been working to position Smart Fab to capitalise on the upcoming defence work heading South Australia’s way.
“In 2014 Smart Fab won the national Endeavour Award in the category of Business Transformation and in 2015 the Defence Teaming Centre named us the Most Outstanding SME in Defence.
“With the defence industry ready to take off, South Australians need to build their businesses and get trained and ready now, not just when the projects are advertised.
“These awards are proof that Smart Fab has worked consistently to build the capability and capacity needed to meet the needs of the defence industry”.
The youngest of seven children, Simon is a true Aussie battler success story. After having a rough time throughout school, Simon left in year 10 after being told he was a day dreamer who would never amount to anything.
“A teacher of mine said I should go get a job as a welder as it’s probably the best I could ever hope for,” Simon said.
“I left school at sixteen and took on a welding apprenticeship but, the important thing is, I always worked hard,” Simon said.
“Almost 15 years ago I started Smart Shed Shelving. I begged, borrowed and relocated using whatever money I made to buy new equipment and build my business. Within a year I had a couple of staff.
“Years ago I saw significant opportunities on the horizon in defence, and bought a rundown ship yard turning over about $200,000 a year. Within two years we had that up to almost $2 million a year.
“What is now Smart Fab grew through hard work, good customer service, relationship building and innovation and now turns over around $10 million annually”.
Simon said he is optimistic about the future of northern Adelaide.
“I want to help people believe they can achieve their goals,” he said.
“I always tell them that if they want to succeed they need the right attitude and they have to be prepared to work hard.”
The $10 million Small Business Fund provides financial assistance through two grant programs over three years. For more information visit the Small Business Development Fund