Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Are you looking for a place to hold your next business meeting or function?

The ACT Government’s Canberra Business Event Centre is the perfect venue to showcase your business, conduct seminars and hold your next networking functions.

Canberra Business Event Centre’s location at Regatta Point, with the stunning backdrop of Lake Burley Griffin and views of Canberra’s iconic buildings, puts it in close proximity to our city, both ACT and Federal Parliaments and many of our premier research and education institutions.

State of the art conference facilities equipped with full digital technology and integrated equipment are available, as well as a range of catering options.

To find out more visit the Canberra Business Event Centre website External Link - opens in new window.

You can contact the Canberra Business Event Centre team on (02) 6207 7394 or email bookings@cbec.com.au

Canberra Business Event Centre Boardroom

Canberra Business Event Centre

View from Canberra Business Event Centre Boardroom

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Canberra business see’s the benefits of Export Awards

The annual ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards External Link - opens in new window are a prestigious event in the ACT’s annual business calendar. They acknowledge the innovation, hard work and success of businesses, large and small, in reaching new markets through exporting their products or services.

One Canberra business recognised for their exporting achievements is software company XP Solutions, winner of the Information and Communication Technology Award in the 2012 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards.

Launching in Canberra almost four decades ago, XP Solutions now has its sights set on a major expansion in Asia and North America following the win.

Using Canberra as a base, XP Solutions is leading the way in exporting environmental software to organisations across the world – with clients in countries including Korea, Japan, China and the UK.

With aims to expand business in Asia by 25 per cent in the next financial year, and North America by up to 15 per cent, there is clearly no stopping this Canberra company!

Sudesh Mudaliar, Vice President of Asia Pacific at XP Solutions, said winning the award was a fantastic way for the company to gain recognition and ensure it stood out from the crowd in the global marketplace.

“The awards give companies credibility and recognition so that when you go in and say ‘I am winner of a Chief Minister’s Award’ it gives you a bit of standing,” Mr Mudaliar said.

“One of the other good things about the awards is making the application because it makes you think about what you are doing. The whole process of reviewing your plans and goals makes you question aspects of your business.”

XP Solutions, which also has offices in the UK and North America, creates software tools for analysing flood risk, drainage design, water quality and road design. The software is targeted to engineering consultants, government agencies and environmental management organisations.

Next on the Belconnen-based company’s agenda is establishing a base in South East Asia, which it hopes will further boost sales in Asia.

“No one goes into an award to come second, it was a great experience and it makes you focus on the business,” Mr Mudaliar continued.

“The ACT Exporters Network External Link - opens in new window is another important way to meet other businesses in Canberra. It gives you good leverage and we have the edge of hunting in a pack.”

ACT exporters have the opportunity to enter the awards in 15 categories including Exporting to Asia, Environmental Solutions and Creative Industries.

Nominations for the 2013 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards are currently open and close on 15 August 2013.

For more information or to apply for the awards visit the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards website External Link - opens in new window.

Sudesh Mudaliar from XP Solutions
Sudesh Mudaliar, Vice President of Asia Pacific at XP Solutions

Monday, 22 July 2013

Moon Antenna Supports Future STARS of Science

STARS logo

On 21 July, 44 years ago, the 26 metre dish antenna at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station on the outskirts of Canberra received the first signals from the Moon and made it possible for the world to watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the lunar surface via television. This antenna was later relocated to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex and after a productive service was retired in November 2009. 

Thanks to a grant from the ACT Government’s Strategic Opportunities Fund, and a partnership between the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) External Link - opens in new window, the ANU Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) External Link - opens in new window and the ACT Education and Training Directorate External Link - opens in new window, the antenna will once again be playing an important role by supporting Australian science, engineering and education.

The STAR Student Program will help engage students in science and engineering at secondary school and provide industry-focused training for undergraduate engineering and science students. 

“It is important that students see the relevance of what they are studying and connect with a future study and career path” said Dr Naomi Mathers, Industry Liaison Engineer, ANU AITC.

“We hope this program will help address the future skills shortage identified by our Chief Scientist and groups like Engineers Australia, and boost Australia’s competitiveness in the innovation sector. We need to inspire students to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at secondary school for them to aspire to Science and Engineering courses at university.”

The existing control room building next to the antenna will be refurbished to create a mission control-style environment where students can access a pilot-program through NASA Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT), and will later support hands-on programs for students and the public.

Speaking on the STARS Program, CDSCC Director, Dr Ed Kruzins said, “This program will celebrate Australia’s contribution to space science and engineering and help develop the skilled workforce we need to realise future opportunities”.

“In the future we hope to see this iconic Australian antenna dish active once again and contributing to new discoveries made by the next generation of space explorers”.

To find out more information on the STARS program contact Glen Nagle, CDSCC Education & Outreach Manager by email gnagle@cdscc.nasa.gov or phone (02) 6201 7838.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Part 2: Increase your business' digital presence - there's help out there!

In last week’s blog post we discussed creating a website for your business and potentially using that website to engage in e-commerce. These are just a couple of ways your business can increase its digital presence.

Social media:

Social media is just one more way your business can create an online presence. This is often quite an effective, low-cost option that can be a way to create a connection with your customers.

There are a number of different social media platforms, the most popular ones include:

The Australian Government’s Digital Business website External Link - opens in new window as well as the Driving Business Online website External Link - opens in new window both provide information to help your business start with social media.

You can also visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website External Link - opens in new window which provides information relating to:
  • monitoring social media;
  • minimising your risk on social media; and
  • misleading claims and comments on social media.

Still need help? Contact the ACT Digital Enterprise program.

The ACT Digital Enterprise Program External Link - opens in new window is an Australian and ACT Government initiative, delivered by the Canberra Business Council. The program uses industry experts, digital champions and case studies to demonstrate the digital success stories of local Canberra businesses.

The ACT Digital Enterprise Program provides hands-on learning to local business through a series of group workshops. These workshops cover topics such as e-commerce, online marketing, social media and digital strategies. To find out more about their upcoming workshops visit the ACT Digital Enterprise Program Event Calendar External Link - opens in new window.

You can also contact the ACT Digital Enterprise Program to arrange a free personalised business consultation. Using expert professionals, the consultation will help your business to understand where it is, where it wants to go and how the goals can be achieved.

To qualify for the consultation, you must attend at least one of the group workshops.

To arrange a free personalised consultation register your details on the ACT Digital Enterprise website External Link - opens in new window. You will then be asked to complete a short online questionnaire which will determine your current business’ digital position.

An appointment with one of their industry experts will then be arranged to discuss your businesses and to develop some options to deliver its digital growth. A ‘Digital Ready Roadmap’ will then be provided to you outlining the next steps.

Have you found any other resources that help business get online? Share your tips on our Facebook External Link - opens in new window or Twitter External Link - opens in new window pages.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Part 1: Increase your business’ digital presence – there’s help out there!

Retail business owner using computer

In 2002, 23 percent of Australian business had an online presence1. Ten years later, that number has grown – only just! The latest results of the Australian Bureau of StatisticsExternal Link - opens in new window (ABS) annual Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business External Link - opens in new window show that in 2011-12, whilst 91.9 percent of Australian businesses have internet access, only 44.6 percent have a web presence.

Creating an online presence for your business can open up a wide range of opportunities. You may just use it as a marketing tool, or you may use it to engage in e-commerce, where you sell your products or services online.

So is your business part of the majority of Australian businesses that are not online? Why not? While entering the digital world may seem like a daunting task, it could be easier then you think - and there are plenty of free resources available to help you! Following are some tips to get you underway.

To make the most of your business’ online activities you should look at developing a plan, such as an online business plan or a digital strategy. This should include what you are hoping to achieve through your digital activities, and how you plan to achieve them.

To help you get started with creating an online business plan, download the ‘Online business plan template’ External Link - opens in new window available on the Australian Government’s Digital Business website External Link - opens in new window or visit the Winning Business Online website External Link - opens in new window.

Creating a website:
One of the simplest ways to get online is to create a website.

The Digital Business website External Link - opens in new window provides a range of information to help your business create its first website, including:
  • helping you understand the costs and timeframes involved;
  • registering a web address;
  • building the website;
  • launching and marketing the website; and
  • keeping the content on your website fresh.

One of the key advantages of online business activity, particularly websites, is the capacity to track and measure its performance, such as how many people are visiting, how long they are staying and what they are clicking on. Some website hosting companies provide analytics tools, however there are also other alternatives such as Google Analytics or Yahoo! Web Analytics. Find out more about website analytics External Link - opens in new window.

If you want to take your website to the next level, you can use it as a tool to engage in e-commerce.

In an Australian and Communications Media Authority report External Link - opens in new window, in the six months leading up to April 2011, approximately 62 percent of Australian adult internet users purchased a good or service online. E-commerce can allow your business to grow its customer base by tapping into this market, and by giving you access to national or even international audiences. It can also provide a more convenient experience for your customers, with the ability for them to purchase your products or services at a time suitable for them.

The Digital Business website External Link - opens in new window provides a number of e-commerce resources. The Australian Government’s Business.gov.au website External Link - opens in new window website also has an Online Business section which includes information on:
  • the legal essentials for doing business online;
  • making your online activity safe and secure;
  • marketing your online goods or services; and
  • importing and exporting goods online.

You can also visit the Driving Business Online website External Link - opens in new window for free assistance on e-commerce. An initiative of PayPal Australia, along with supporting partners, the Driving Business Online website aims to help small business get onto the internet, or make their existing online business more successful. The website provides information on:
  • setting up online shopping carts;
  • taking payments online; and
  • managing the logistics such as delivery and shipping.

There’s a lot more resources and information available to help your business online presence! Make sure you come back to this blog next week to read Part 2.

Is your business already online? Share your tips and stories on our Facebook External Link - opens in new window or Twitter External Link - opens in new window pages.

1 ABS, Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2005-06

Thursday, 4 July 2013

ICon recipient turns tragedy into innovation

In 2008, Canberra local Matt Darling spent several months in hospital caring for one of his children. He could never have expected that that experience would lead him on a journey to help revolutionise the delivery of patient care in hospitals.

It all began when scans revealed that Darling’s daughter, 15-month old Jem, had a rare tumour on her brain that required surgery. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Darling recounted a story about a nurse running late in administering a vital post-operative steroid to Jem.

"They'd had to cut through large sections of Jem's brain. A common cause of death after that sort of surgery is a haemorrhage within the brain."

"I kept reminding her but she kept being distracted by people asking for this or that." Eventually, the medication was an hour overdue, “so I knocked on the office door of the nurse unit manager and asked for her help."

The manager checked Jem's chart and told him the records showed that the drug had been administered. The nurse stated that she had given Jem the medication when Darling had stepped away, however eventually confessed that this was not true.

It was this experience, and Darling’s observations that lead him to believe something needed to change. He didn’t believe it was the staff’s fault that these errors were occurring, instead that "It was the structure of the system, and the workload."

"The problem was not 'too many patients and too few nurses', but too much repetitive administration for nurses, who are generally highly qualified people," Darling said.

"We found that 65 per cent of a nurse's time was spent on records, administration and the like, and 35 per cent on patient interaction and care. Which is an astonishing statistic when you think about it." Read the full 'Sydney Morning Herald' article, Heart and Mind External Link - opens in new window.

Darling, an IT systems analyst and designer, decided to come up with a new way for hospitals, nurses and medical professionals to perform many of these administrative tasks. The end result was SmartWard.

SmartWard aims to replace the paper records that hospitals currently use and automate many of the tasks that take time away from patient care. The system is intuitive to use and will be located at all points of care delivery in hospital preventing errors, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs.

SmartWard was awarded Innovation Connect (ICon) grant funding in 2010-11 to assist with development of the technology.  In opening SmartWard’s new office in 2012, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallager stated “It was through this grant that the company has been able to move forward at a rapid rate and enabled them to accelerate their progress to market by expanding their development team and opening the office in the ACT”.

"SmartWard is quickly making its mark on the e-Health industry both locally and on a national level by commercialising a new health informatics technology for hospital wards”. Read more in Canberra start-up company SmartWard opens new offices External Link - opens in new window.

Following their ICon funding, SmartWard also received funding from the ANU Discovery Translation Fund and Commercialisation Australia.

This has helped SmartWard to get to the stage where clinical trials can begin on the computer system.

To find out more, visit the SmartWard website External Link - opens in new window. To learn more about Mr Darling and his other innovations, including a companion resource developed for those affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), visit Matt Darling’s blog External Link - opens in new window.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Business Connect July Newsletter

The July issue of the Business Connect Newsletter is now available. Find out about:
  • An ICon recipient who turned tragedy into Innovation.
  • Our Student ambassadors busy learning Canberra life.
  • The My Digital City Innovation Competition - improving digital government services.

Plus more!

View the Business Connect July Newsletter.

Business Connect July Newsletter screenshot