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Josh Ker, Owner of Big Fish Graphics

Government grant assists Darwin business to grow

In 2005 Big Fish Graphics was literally operating out of Josh Ker's backyard. Several years on, Josh now has nine employees and the business has expanded to the point where the next step is taking on the world.

The Darwin-based niche design and manufacturing company is the biggest supplier of specialist fishing clothing in Australia, but Managing Director Josh Ker says it has been a steep learning curve to get where he is today.

For the first time since the company’s inception, Big Fish Graphics has accessed a grant through the Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Small Business Program which will provide it with constant mentoring to develop and implement a business strategy that will put in place improved manufacturing processes including installing printing and sewing machinery to increase production and efficiency.

With that expertise Josh expects the business will be able to reach its full potential and is expecting by the end of the year to double the number of people he employs.

"We made some enquiries about particular grants but were a little daunted by the application process, however we were placed on an email circular which kept us informed about what grants were available and how to apply," he said.

“As we got a little bigger and with some input about the process of applying this became quite an exciting process and really maps out our business as well as its projection into the future.”

Josh came to the clothing industry with a background in graphic design, but not as a designer for fabric and admits that learning the ins and outs of the industry was a tough call.

When Josh started Big Fish Graphics he made a conscious decision to use Australian manufacturers for his high-tech fabric although off shore suppliers would have been far less expensive.

“By encouraging the industry to become more competitive on the global scale it will help maintain the high quality for which Australian manufacturing is known.”