Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Protect your premises

Whilst your business may be getting ready to shutdown over the Christmas and New Year period, the burglary business isn't!

Help protect your business premises by following some simple tips from the Australia Federal Police (AFP):
  • Maintain the landscaping around your premises, including trimming trees and scrubs away from doors and windows. This limits concealment and increases natural surveillance of your property.
  • Most burglaries occur at the side or rear of the building, so make sure these doors, windows and frames are secure and of solid construction.
  • Reinforce glass windows and doors. You can do this by installing a shatter resistant film on existing glass, replacing existing glass with laminated glass or installing quality metal security grilles or shutters.
  • Install external night lighting which will enable police, security guards or passing people to monitor activities around the premises. The lighting should be directed towards the building. A limited amount of internal lighting should also be left on at night. 
  • Restrict unauthorised access and tampering with the power supply by housing the switch board within a metal cabinet secured by a durable lock.
  • Record descriptions, models and serial numbers of your business’ property and keep this record in a safe place on and off site.  Serial numbers are essential in identifying property.
  • Think about marking your property, such as engraving your ABN number onto items. Property which can’t be marked should be photographed.

You should also register your details on the ACT Keyholder Register. The ACT Keyholder register is a list of the names and after hours contact details of business owners or others who have access to your business premises.

This information is stored on the AFP’s confidential computer system and is not given out to anyone other than an authorised AFP staff member. The register is only accessed in the event police need the owner, or another nominated person to attend the premises, such as if there has been damage from fire, burglary or other incidents that may happen after business hours.

You can update the register by using the AFP’s ACT Keyholder Register online or PDF form External Link - opens in new window.

Find more burglary prevention tips in the AFP’s Preventing Burglary factsheet (PDF 122kb) External Link - opens in new window.

To find out more crime prevention tips from the AFP, including information on fraud, bag checking and searching, and workplace security on the AFP’s Bizsafe program website External Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Canberra Shot Film 'Galore' Selected for Berlin International Film Festival

Lily Sullivan (left) and Ashleigh Cummings in ‘Galore’

Galore, a film about a teenage love triangle set against Canberra's 2003 bushfires, has been selected for the Berlin International Film Festival External Link - opens in new window in February.

The film is the first feature financed through our ACT Screen Investment Fund and was shot in Canberra last year. A number of Canberrans filled crew positions on the production and the Berlin announcement follows Galore’s world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival earlier this year.

Writer-director Rhys Graham grew up in Canberra and pulled together a fantastic cast featuring some of Australia’s most promising young actors including Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues), Lily Sullivan (Mental) and Toby Wallace (Never Tear Us Apart).

Watch the Galore trailer External Link - opens in new window

Producer Phillippa Campey said “it’s really a great honour to have been selected into one of the world’s best film festivals. We are thrilled to have our debut feature in the festival, alongside so many extraordinary films and filmmakers who we admire and are inspired by, especially given that Rhys’ work has been celebrated here in the past.”

The Berlin International Film Festival is widely regarded as one of the top three film festivals in the world. Galore will screen in the Berlinale Generation Competition Programme, the same programming strand that last year hosted the world premiere of two Australian films The Rocket and Satellite Boy.

Friday, 13 December 2013

HACT 2013

Last weekend a number of local innovators participated in Hackathon ACT (HACT). HACT gave teams 32 hours to design and launch a new digital product or service and compete for prizes.

Congratulations to the prize winners:

Most Viable Startup
Winner – Dish Smith: Meal Planning Web App
Runner Up – Casterly: Podcast Discovery

Most Innovative Idea
Winner – CloudBoard: Copy. Cloud. Paste.
Runner Up – Codie Compare: Comparative Retail App for Google Glass

Best Innovation for Government
Winner – FormaQ: Form & Queue Automation App
Runner Up – Drawing Diagrams with Text

Find out more about the event on the HACT website External Link - opens in new window.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Are you falling into these common traps?

By Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window

As an entrepreneur just starting your business without the support of a larger team, you need to perform a variety of different roles. You might already be quite good at some of these, but some are going to be tougher and may not come naturally. Many entrepreneurs in this situation can fall into these common traps, but learning to recognise them can help you deal with them and build your business.

Expecting too much too soon

If you are constantly finding yourself surprised and discouraged by how long it takes to build a product or pay yourself a salary, then maybe your expectations need a reality check. While it’s good to be optimistic, you need to work to realistic timeframes or risk being disappointed.

Letting fear hold you back

 While running a start-up, you will probably find yourself faced with many tasks that you have never completed before and no one to hand them off to. So you put them aside to do later, or even not at all.   Maybe that idea you were afraid to execute would have taken your business to the next level, so don’t let fear be the reason for missed opportunities. If you’re feeling out of your depth consider finding a mentor or even ask a fellow start-up that you know has faced and overcome similar issues.

Worrying about what other people think

Being a start-up is all about being innovative, having new ideas, trying new things and taking risks. In 1977, Ken Olson famously said, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” We now know this not to be true. Worrying what people think can hold you back from pursuing a truly great idea.

Being a perfectionist

It’s time to accept that “good enough” is good enough. Eric Reis’s Lean Startup method is quickly growing in popularity and proposes that you get your product out there as soon as you can. This way you can get fast, accurate information on what the market wants from the market itself. Being a perfectionist can just delay progress and decrease productivity.

Focusing on the wrong thing

All these fears and concerns might prevent you from seeing what’s really there.  One way to identify what you need to work on is with a business diagnostic tool like External Link - opens in new window. A business diagnostic tool can highlight these strengths and weaknesses in a graphic form and provide a bit of a wake-up call for areas that need attention.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Festival of Ambitious Ideas: Lachlan Blackhall,

The Festival of Ambitious Ideas held on 6 November 2013 featured the stories of 12 of Canberra's most innovative businesses and inspiring projects. It is a fast-paced event where presenters have only 5 minutes to tell their story.

Hear what Lachlan Blackhall from had to say at the event in this video from Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Canberra innovators receive support

A group of Canberra innovators have recently been awarded funding in the latest round of Innovation Connect (ICon) grants.

ICon, the ACT Government’s flagship innovation program, provides matched-funding grants of up to $50,000 to assist early stage ACT businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate the development of products and services through commercialisation pathways.

The program was established to encourage innovation and to develop new companies and technologies in Canberra.

Since the program was established in 2008, 120 ACT businesses have been awarded funding support in excess of $3 million. This amount or more has also been contributed by the grant recipients in meeting their matched-funding requirement.

In a highly competitive round the recipients are:
  • Minirva Pty Ltd to develop a multiple document analyser software prototype which assists users in extracting valuable information from vast electronic document archives;
  • ChangeBud Pty Ltd to development ChangeBud, a habit shaping, stress management and resilience building application that enables organisations to better support their employees;
  • Euclidify to develop an online 3D printing marketplace prototype that connects consumers and designers of 3D printed items with independent printer owners;
  • Energy Lighting and Electrical Pty Ltd to develop a Tone Voltage and Current Generator prototype which assists in locating specific in-floor heating cables located in concrete floors;
  • Public Knowledge to develop an online clearinghouse for Federal Government budget and operational information;
  • Ambe Engineering Pty Ltd to develop a prototype of ECON WALL, an insulated concrete thermal mass wall system which achieves significant energy savings in buildings whilst improving occupant comfort levels; and
  • Preventative Approach Pty Ltd to develop a self-monitoring software system to be integrated into exercise and stretching devices.

To find out more about the program visit the Innovation Connect page.

Business Connect December Newsletter

The December issue of the Business Connect Newsletter is now available. Find out about:
  • Canberra's new dedicated investment facilitation team
  • Canberra's new brand
  • The latest round of Innovation Connect recipients

And more!

View the Business Connect December Newsletter.
Sign up for the Business Connect Newsletter.

Image of the December Business Connect newsletter

Monday, 9 December 2013

Invest Canberra Launch

On 4 December Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched Invest Canberra, the ACT Government’s investment agency to promote and attract national and international direct investment.

Watch the Invest Canberra launch video:

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Festival of Ambitious Ideas: Denis Jorgensen, UberGlobal

The Festival of Ambitious Ideas held on 6 November 2013 featured the stories of 12 of Canberra's most innovative businesses and inspiring projects. It is a fast-paced event where presenters have only 5 minutes to tell their story.

Hear what Denis Jorgensen from UberGlobal had to say at the event in this video from Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Invest Canberra: ready for business

Today Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched Invest Canberra, the ACT Government’s investment agency to promote and attract national and international direct investment.

Attracting investment in Canberra was identified as one of the key initiatives of Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT, which was launched last year. In implementing this initiative, the ACT Government has established Invest Canberra, a dedicated investment facilitation service that will be promote Canberra’s investment credentials, explore and target opportunities.

Invest Canberra will provide investors with a single point of contact to assist with market intelligence, support through and after the investment process, and with business connections. Invest Canberra will also bring together capabilities across key government agencies, and will respond quickly to investment leads.

Invest Canberra is underpinned by a confidence in Canberra’s strong and diverse economy. The Government is committed to promoting a strong investment pipeline to promote economic growth and facilitates opportunities to create more private sector jobs.

The renewed focus on investment comes at an important time for Canberra. The Government, together with key private sector partners, has begun an extensive infrastructure program to transform our city including Capital Metro, the Canberra Airport and the City to the Lake project.

With a focus on meeting the needs of foreign-owned companies seeking investment opportunities in Canberra and the region, in the short term Invest Canberra will:
  • Promote and secure investment into key infrastructure projects that meet the immediate needs of business, government and the community; and
  • Promote retention, reinvestment, collocation and expansion by existing foreign investors in the ACT.

In the longer term, the agency will:
  • Secure investment in innovation and new technologies, in close association with our universities and technology companies; and
  • Attract investment from international institutions that will find Canberra suitable as a government city location for their international headquarters.

In line with the short-term objectives, Invest Canberra will initially focus on the following priority investment projects:
  • Aftercare of existing investors to promote reinvestment; 
  • Capital Metro and City to the Lake, and other investment-ready ACT Government projects; and
  • Renewable energy investment projects.

Canberra plays a leading role in finding solutions to local, national and global challenges. With a strong economy, a vibrant and well-educated community, and a collaborative and innovative business community, Canberra offer investors a pro-business culture.

The launch of Invest Canberra marks the beginning of a new, proactive approach to attracting investment.

Find out more by visiting the Invest Canberra website External Link - opens in new window.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A new Brand. A new way to think about Canberra.

Canberra prepares for the next 100 years.

CBR logo

Building on the momentum and success of Canberra’s Centenary year, the ACT Government has revealed a new city brand that will carry the story of Canberra into the next 100 years.

The project aims to shift perceptions of Canberra and to encourage more people to engage with Canberra as a place to live, work, learn, visit and invest.

Canberra is a place to stimulate your senses, engage your mind and fire your imagination. Big ideas emerge, circulate and grow here, thanks to unique links between leading thinkers in business, government, education and research.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the brand is a platform to tell all aspects of the Canberra and region story.

“When we started thinking about the lasting legacy from our centenary year, it became clear that we really needed to capitalise on the community and city pride that has emerged over the last 12 months,” the Chief Minister said.

“Early on in the year we got a real sense that people were feeling not only more connected to their city but were feeling really proud to call Canberra their home.

“This is not about just giving Canberra a new logo. Our city ‘brand’ has to be a collective idea – and a collective advocacy – about who we are and what we have to offer – a brand which truly represents what Canberra is all about.”

The brand architecture and visual identity is the product of a 15-month brand development process led by Generation Alliance and Coordinate. It involved extensive research, community consultation, strategy development and graphic design.

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker said the new brand represented Canberra well.

“Innovation and education are major elements of Canberra’s brand. It’s important that we position our city as a national and international destination for education and research, creating jobs and building a more vibrant culture,” Professor Parker said.

A further three months of community and stakeholder engagement will take place before the detailed program will be revealed in March 2014.

To learn more about Canberra’s brand and understand the journey about how it was created please visit External Link - opens in new window and use #CBR to join the conversation on Twitter.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Aspen Medical recognised nationally for exporting excellence

Local company Aspen Medical External Link - opens in new window was last night recognised for its exporting excellence, taking out the Health and Biotechnology category at the 51st National Export Awards External Link - opens in new window.

Aspen Medical was founded in Canberra in 2003 and delivers world-class healthcare in remote, challenging and under-resourced environments. Since commencement, the company has operated in the Pacific region, South East Asia, UK, USA, Canada and the Middle East.

In 2012-13 Aspen Medical’s exports grew by 16 percent to $44 million. Exports now account for close to 20 percent of the business’ worldwide turnover, which more than doubled from last year.

Aspen Medical being recognised as Australia’s leading exporter in the Health and Biotechnology category is a significant achievement and acknowledges the company’s hard work.

Their win puts the ACT exporting community on the national stage and reinforces the ACT’s continued ability to foster and develop strong exporting companies.

This is the second time that Aspen Medical has been recognised at the National Export Awards having won the Large Services Award in 2011. That year the company was also awarded for its contribution to the ACT exporting community, being inducted into the ACT Export Hall of Fame.

The win caps off a successful few months for Aspen Medical who in October was named Innovation Champion 2013 by Adelaide Research & Innovation External Link - opens in new window. That award recognised the company’s pioneering work in developing modelling tools to better assist decision making in the provision of Aero-Medical Evacuation services across the oil and gas industry.

Festival of Ambitious Ideas

The Festival of Ambitious Ideas held on 6 November 2013 featured the stories of 12 of Canberra's most innovative businesses and inspiring projects. It is a fast-paced event where presenters have only 5 minutes to tell their story.

Organiser of the the Festival of Ambitions Ideas, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre  External Link - opens in new window, has put together this quick video sharing some of the audiences thoughts on the event.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Local entrepreneurs share their vision for Canberra

It’s been 100 years of Canberra, so now is time to imagine the future for Canberra in the next 100 years.

Join some Canberra's successful entrepreneurs and hear their vision for Canberra.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Local business excellence recognised

PayMe, named 2013 Canberra Business of the Year

Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr last night recognised a number of local Canberra businesses for their success and achievements with the presentation of the 2013 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards.

The awards, which are managed by the ACT Government's business advisory and mentoring service Canberra BusinessPoint External Link - opens in new window, showcase the range and depth of successful businesses operating in the Canberra region.

They showcase the innovation and ingenuity of ACT companies who have taken the astute step of seeking assistance through Canberra BusinessPoint.

On the night Minister Barr presented awards to 6 category winners from a range of different industries. 

The category winners were:
  • Web and Mobile –
  • Clean and Green – Envirolove
  • Bricks and Mortar – Autolyse
  • Creative and Design – Handmade Canberra
  • Micro-Enterprise – Ontong Patafta Bernal Football Academy
  • High Growth – PayMe

High Growth category winner PayMe went on to be the overall winner of the awards, named the 2013 Canberra BusinessPoint Business of the Year. The Canberra business provides specialist payroll services to contractors throughout Australia primarily in the information technology, administrative, and oil and gas sectors. Find out more about PayMe External Link - opens in new window.

The ACT Government is committed to supporting business and growing the economy.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalist of this year’s Canberra BusinessPoint Awards.

Find out more about the 2013 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards External Link - opens in new window.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Multinationals expand in Canberra

Two multinational companies, Lockheed Martin and MBDA, have recently expanded their businesses in Canberra.

Global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin External Link - opens in new window opened their Security Intelligence Centre in Kingston in a move that highlights ours and the nation’s reputation as a highly educated workforce and robust technology industry.

The centre is the next step in Lockheed Martin’s international expansion of its cyber-defence network.

Raydon Gates, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia said “The establishment of this newest centre is just the next phase in our commitment to Australia’s cyber-security, technological and economic evolution”.

The Centre, which is Lockheed Martin’s fourth centre worldwide, builds on more than $10 million worth of investment in consolidating Lockheed Martin’s operations in Canberra into a single facility. It also enhances Australia’s reputation for a highly competitive information communication and technology (ICT) industry and a highly educated, highly skilled workforce. ICT spending across the country is projected to reach $63 billion in 2013, one of the highest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sondra Barbour, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS) business said: “This new Centre is an investment in technology, expertise and talent for increased innovation throughout our Lockheed Martin team".

Following its decision to make Australia the hub of its Asia-Pacific operations, missile developer MBDA External Link - opens in new window also recently opened an office in Canberra.

Andy Watson, MBDA Australia Managing Director said: “We are looking at the potential of expanding our industrial activities in Australia and this will require a network of industrial partners with whom we can work to provide through-life solutions, for certain products that we feel are highly relevant to Australia’s current and future requirements”.

Find out more in Austrade’s Investor Updates External Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Digital Canberra Challenge – Round One Competitors announced

Digital Canberra Challenge Logo

After a number of great submissions from Canberra's ICT innovation community, the Digital Canberra Program Board has selected the best two to for a head-to-head competition.

Over the coming months they will partner with the ACT Government to develop their ideas into 'proof-of-concept' prototypes.

Team 1: Design Managers Australia

Design Management Australia (DMA) is a Canberra-based specialist service design agency working with private, public, community and volunteer organisations.

For the Digital Canberra Challenge, DMA will be joined by local user-centred designer David More, digital strategist James Peek and Wellington NZ business designers Empathy.

Team 2: DigiACTive

DigiACTive is a team of bright young  students emanating from the Australian National University. Their combined  expertise spans Engineering  Computer Science/Arts  and  Software Engineering .

The students met through the ANU Computer Science Students' Association, of which one of the students, Andrew Donnellan, is President.

Find out more about the chosen teams on the Digital Canberra website External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Canberra businesses showcase their creativity

What would you do if you had only 5 minutes to ignite the audience? Twelve local Canberra innovators took up that challenge at Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre’s External Link - opens in new window Festival of Ambitious Ideas.

Held on 6 November 2013, speakers on the night included Ken Kroeger, Managing Director and CEO of Seeing Machines, Denis Jorgensen, CEO of Uber Global and Adrian Faccioni, Managing Director of GPSports. With only 5 minutes to ignite the audience, the speakers shared their story, their highlights and their challenges and left some parting tips for the budding entrepreneurs in the audience.

Adrian Faccioni, Managing Director of GPSports speaks to the audience

Anna Pino, Chief Executive of Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre told StartupSmart External Link - opens in new window the event was launched to combat the idea Canberra wasn’t creative. 

“One of the issues start-ups have in Canberra is people think we’re not a very innovative city, but there is a lot of activity,” Ms Pino says. 

“Events like these are vital for a community like Canberra where even the locals misunderstand what’s going on here and all the incredible activity.”
“We had no idea there were so many great projects going on here that had almost no visibility beyond their own team. We’re hoping to connect people so they can network and set up collaborations,” Ms Pino continued.

One of those showcasing their ideas was Amber Stanley who displayed her ‘Think. Create. Innovate ACT’ augmented reality exhibition.  The exhibition, which uses portrait photos and her new augmented reality app to promote some of her fellow entrepreneurs, debuted to large audiences earlier in the year at the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards and Floriade.

Ms Stanley’s exhibition was made up of ten custom designed, glowing spires, each containing a removable portrait of an entrepreneur. When you download the free app and hover your device's camera over the portrait, a 'hologram- like' of a mini entrepreneur pops up and tells you about their secrets to success. Find out more about the augmented reality tool External Link - opens in new window.

Watch this video to see the augmented reality display in action:

This was the second event of its kind, with the first being held earlier this year. While the Festival of Ambitious Ideas is not an investment pitching competition, Pino says one of the start-ups in the March event has received angel investment from someone who saw them pitch on the day.  

The Canberra start-up community is well-placed to work with one of Australia’s largest clients, the federal government. Pino says the event is designed to encourage this connection.

“We see Canberra as an incubator in itself, with high quality graduates coming out of our institutions and one of the world’s biggest customers right here on your doorstep,” Pino says. 

“If you can sell something to government and make it work, you’re off to an excellent start. Nurturing that relationship is really important for us.” Read more in StartupSmart’s ‘Canberra start-ups to showcase creativity at Festival of Ambitious Ideas’ External Link - opens in new window.

Crowd at the Festival of Ambitious Ideas 

Amber Stanley's augmented reality spires at the Festival of Ambitious Ideas

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

ACT International Student Ambassadors - Representing Canberra on a global level

23 Faces, 26 Languages, 23 Countries, 5 Educational Institutions, brought together in 1 City.

Check our this video showing the countries represented in the 2013 ACT International Student Ambassador Program. The video has been produced by the ambassadors.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Business ideas that don't cost the earth

ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo
10am – 4pm
Thursday 14 November 2013
Rydges Lakeside

Looking to make your business more sustainable? Head along to the free ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo this November and learn about the latest energy and water efficiency products and services, better waste management, as well as advice on creating a healthier work environment.  At the Expo you will also be able to discuss you needs with the ACTSmart team and find the right sustainable solutions for your business.

Businesses that attend the expo and are signed up to an ACTSmart Business program (including those who sign up on the day) have the chance to win $1,000 in prizes*.

Find out more about the ACTSmart Business programs External Link - opens in new window.

This year’s ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo also includes a range of free seminars on key industry topics and the latest industry trends. View the seminar program External Link - opens in new window. Bookings are required as seats are limited at each seminar. To book, complete the online registration form available on the ACTSmart website External Link - opens in new window.

Following the Expo, from 4pm -6pm a free networking function will be held. Attendance at the networking function is limited. To book email

To find out more about the ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo including the seminars and networking event visit the ACTSmart website External Link - opens in new window.

*Terms and conditions available at External Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

International Student Ambassadors graduation

Congratulations to our 36 ambassadors who graduated from the ACT Government’s International Student Ambassador program on Friday 25 October 2013!

Watch our video of the 2013 ACT International Student Ambassadors Graduation ceremony and hear what some of the Ambassadors had to say about the program:

The ambassadors, who began the program in March this year, come from 19 different countries including Canada, China, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. They have been studying at ACT tertiary institutions including the Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), UNSW Canberra and the Australian Catholic University.

Throughout their time as ambassadors the students attended a range of cultural, social and sporting events, as well as some more formal sessions covering politics, history, business and innovation.

The ACT International Student Ambassador Program, an initiative of the ACT Government’s Global Connect program, aims to leverage the international student experience in Canberra as both an international education marketing tool and as a skills network that can promote the ACT economy. It aims to ensure that international students feel welcome in Canberra and to build on the growing number of advocates or ambassadors for studying, living and working in Canberra.

This is the forth group of ambassadors to go through the program with the students now joining an alumnus of other ambassadors that can actively promote Canberra as an education and learning destination to the world.

To find out more visit the ACT International Student Ambassador Program websitExternal Link - opens in new window.

Group of graduating ACT International Student Ambassadors

Monday, 4 November 2013

Business Connect November Newsletter

The November issue of the Business Connect Newsletter is now available. Find out about:
  • An upcoming event to make your business more sustainable.
  • ACT International Student Ambassadors graduation.
  • Winners of the ACT Telstra Women's business awards.
Plus more!

View the Business Connect November Newsletter.

The November newsletter is now available!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Breaking out of the cage

Michael Tear, Managing Director and co-founder of Bearcage

Last month they were recognised locally for their exporting excellence, this month Canberra production company Bearcage has had more success, this time in China with their documentary The Story of Australia.

The Story of Australia, a six-part documentary series produced by Bearcage and China’s CCTV9, was broadcast in China to a staggering audience of more than 21 million people and earned the praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping saying it was very popular and an example of close personal relations between Australia and China.

Michael Tear, Managing Director and co-founder of Bearcage, as well as producer of the series said “As the first formal co-production between CCTV Documentary Channel and an Australian company, the project represents an initiative of great significance to both countries”.

“We are absolutely delighted that the series was so warmly embraced by Chinese audiences”.

The Story of Australia travels all over the continent and highlights Australia’s agricultural products, the mining industry, overseas students in Australia, city life and the stories of famous Chinese-Australians. Through these stories, the series review the relationship between Australia and China and look to its future.

Bearcage received support through the ACT Government’s ACT Screen Investment Fund External Link - opens in new window to help develop The Story of Australia. The Fund has also supported the production of three other projects by Bearcage namely The Digger, New Zealand from Above and The Boffin, the Builder and the Bombardier.

Based in Canberra, Bearcage started out primarily focusing on television commercials and corporate videos, but today is a full service production entity offering exceptional media production on a varied range of media platforms.

During its more than 20 years in operation, Bearcage has been recognised for its work nationally and internationally; being presented with more than 50 awards and appearing in festivals and competitions including Tropfest, New York Film Festival, Cannes Television Awards, St Kilda Film Festival and Boston Film Festival.

Adding to these accolades, the business just recently won the 2013 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Award External Link - opens in new window in the Arts and Entertainment Category. The annual awards are an initiative of the ACT Government and are designed to reward success and innovation amongst ACT exporters.

Apart from the obvious benefit of generating more exposure in the ACT for Bearcage, Mr Tear said that winning the award will also greatly enhance the future of his company by projecting it further on a national and international scale.

He also noted that winning this prestigious award displays to current and future customers worldwide that they can be confident that Bearcage is a reputable and reliable company to undergo work with.

As an Australia-wide category winner, Bearcage now qualifies to enter the Australian Export Awards, to be held in Melbourne this November.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

How healthy is your workplace?

How healthy is your workplace? Is your business fostering healthy workplace policies and a supportive environment for your employees?

Australia, like many other developed nations, is currently seeing an increase in the burden of chronic disease. A 2010 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study External Link - opens in new window found that 96% of working-age Australians had at least one chronic disease risk factor and 72% had multiple risk factors. Many of these risk factors are preventable and small changes to our lifestyle can make a big difference.

The ACT is no exception to this! A 2011 ACT Health study External Link - opens in new window reveals that there is plenty of work that Canberra workers can do to become healthier:
  • 20% of ACT workers reported as being smokers
  • 46% of ACT workers have inadequate fruit and vegetable intake
  • 23% of ACT workers consume harmful levels of alcohol
  • 65% of ACT workers do not undertake in sufficient levels of physical activity
  • 56% of ACT workers are overweight

Do you or your employees fit into any of these categories? 

Why not introduce a Health and Wellbeing program in your business. Programs can range from simple activities that only involve a small investment to a comprehensive program with a more substantial investment for large numbers of employees. 

Examples of what other local businesses have done include Belconnen Physiotherapy Clinic who arrange for fresh boxes of fruit to be available for staff free of charge in the kitchen area; Manteena Pty Ltd allow their staff to have 3 half hour physical activity sessions per week during their paid work time; and ActewAGL provide yearly health and fitness assessments for their staff.

Read more about theirs and other local businesses healthier workplace stories External Link - opens in new window

Benefits for your business could include increased staff morale which leads to better productivity, reduced sick leave/absenteeism, reduced long-term health problems, increased ability to attract and retain new staff and reduced risk of accidents and health-related litigation. 

You can get help with developing and implementing programs, policies and practices into you business through the ACT Government’s Healthier Work service. The service offers a range of free resources and supports including:
  • free phone, email and onsite support
  • a step-by-step guide to promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace
  • resources to support the implementation of healthy lifestyle programs and policies
  • free tools, including an online employee health survey and an organisational audit tool
  • links to workplace health and wellbeing providers
  • training and support mechanisms for workplaces

To find out more about the service, including accessing a range of resources, tools and templates to assist you in successfully developing and implementing a workplace health and wellbeing program visit the Healthier Work website External Link - opens in new window.