A GOLD COAST tech startup has landed a major deal with Westpac which will roll out its innovative platform through the bank and its own corporate clients.
BenchOn, founded by Tim Walmsley (pictured), is a business-to-business resource management platform that matches businesses' idle staff to short-term contracts with reputable companies and government agencies. It allows businesses to manage the peaks and troughs of the business cycle by placing staff who are "sitting on the bench".
Westpac has agreed to run a pilot program with BenchOn through its network and Walmsley says the deal is a "real game changer" for his business.
"We're nutting out the final detail right now and there are a few issues we need to address such as compliance but we hope to get this pilot with Westpac up and running hopefully by February," says Walmsley who is a finalist in the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards 2017.
"This is going to really give BenchOn some serious momentum and it confirms that all these years of effort are justified, especially when a company like Westpac shows this level of interest and are keen to work with us."
BenchOn operates across Australia in industries such as defence, IT, mining, oil and gas, construction, marketing, education and professional services.
Walmsley founded BenchOn in 2016 after a stint in the army and then working as the national director for strategy and business development for a US-based, aerospace engineering consulting firm.
"During this role, I realised the massive impact that the peaks and troughs of the contracting industries have on businesses," Walmsley says.
"One minute a business has employees 'sitting on the bench' waiting for the next contract costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, and the next minute they have too many contracts and not enough staff.
"I became frustrated at seeing good people losing their jobs simply because of the high cost of employee under-utilisation (bench time) and/or great businesses shutting down due to the financial risk."
The "lightbulb moment" for Walmsley happened when he overheard a sourcing manager complain that he didn't have a "bench" of high quality staff just sitting around waiting to respond to the whims of their customers.
"That was when the idea for BenchOn was born," Walmsley recalls.
"We realised if we could just match the spare employee capacity in industry to the demand by enterprises for project support, then we could not only save businesses from shutting down but we could also provide employees with job stability in an unstable industry.
"Not only that, the model empowers businesses to free up more cash flow, grow sustainably and create new, full-time jobs for the economy."
Since launching in September 2016 with six foundation customers, BenchOn has a corporate client base of 200 and Walmsley says it has already hosted more than $20 million worth of contracts.
BenchOn's commercial model allows businesses to join free of charge and use the platform and its revenue is generated by taking a 10 per cent commission when a company outsources one of its employees and this is payable after the supplying company has been paid for the work.
"This is important to us as our mission is to support our client's growth so we wanted to make sure there were no upfront costs involved. The last thing small businesses need is more upfront costs in order for them to get ahead."
To support job creation in Australia generally, BenchOn has released its "1,000 Jobs Pledge" which, as it suggests, aims to create 1,000 new full-time jobs in industry in the next 12 months.
"For every $100,000 a business saves through the campaign, we will tally up one new full-time job. It's a measure of increased cash flow in industry which directly or indirectly leads to better job creation," Walmsley says.
Business News Australia
Get our daily business news
Sign up to our free email news updates.