Monday, 26 August 2013

Political thriller CODE goes into production


CODE, a new six-hour political thriller which received funding through the ACT Government’s Screen Investment Fund External Link - opens in new window, begins filming today.

Produced by Playmaker Media for ABC TV, the cast includes Dan Spielman (An Accidental Soldier, Offspring), Ashley Zuckerman (The Slap, Rush), Adam Garcia (Coyote Ugly, Bootmen), David Wenham (Answered by Fire, Killing Time), Lucy Lawless (Spartacus), Aden Young (I Frankenstein, Rectify), Chelsie Preston Crayford (Mystery of a Hansom Cab, Underbelly: Razor), Adele Perovic (SLiDE), Dan Wyllie (Rake, Puberty Blues), Aaron Pedersen (Jack Irish, City Homicide), and Paul Tassone (Underbelly).

CODE was created by Shelley Birse and written by Birse, Blake Ayshford and Justin Monjo. Directed by Shawn Seet (Mystery of a Hansom Cab, SLiDE) and produced by Playmaker’s David Maher, David Taylor and Shelley Birse, it is being executive produced by the ABC’s David Ogilvy, Greer Simpkin and Carole Sklan.

CODE, a contemporary thriller stretching from the spectacular red desert of Australia’s outback to the cool corridors of power, tells the story of two very different brothers who stumble across information about a new technology - information that people in the highest political echelons will kill to keep secret. CODE will be filmed in Sydney, Canberra and Broken Hill.

Playmaker Media’s David Taylor and David Maher said, “Shelley Birse has crafted a rollercoaster thriller with a very warm and original heart. Great writing has attracted a dream cast and crew and we're proud to be producing the series for ABC TV.”

ABC TV Head of Fiction Carole Sklan said, “The extraordinary sibling relationship at the heart of Code brings great warmth and humour to this bold and original work, which examines the power of an independent voice in a world of duplicity and danger. Having such a wonderful cast speaks volumes for the strength and complexity of the storytelling.”

A Playmaker Media production for ABC TV, CODE was developed through the Scribe Initiative and is produced with the assistance of ScreenACT External Link - opens in new window, Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Making Canberra even smarter!


Digital Canberra Challenge

Engaging Canberra’s brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century. That’s the aim of the new ACT Government initiative, the Digital Canberra Challenge.

The Digital Canberra Challenge was launched on 19 August 2013 by Minister Barr MLA, ACT Minister for Economic Development. The Challenge is an initiative of Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT, and aims to engage ACT innovators and SMEs in the development of new or improved digital government services.

Supported by NICTA External Link - opens in new window, CollabIT External Link - opens in new window and the Canberra Business Council External Link - opens in new window, the Digital Canberra Challenge will be delivered by eGovernment Cluster External Link - opens in new window under the direction of a Program Board chaired by Tony Henshaw, a local industry leader in the ICT sector.

Leading up to each round of the Challenge, people will have the opportunity to put forward unresolved business challenges relating to the delivery of government services – things that they think could be done faster, better, smarter or more efficiently.

From the pool of potential challenges that are submitted, the ones that have the most potential for innovative solutions that can benefit a real area of need for Canberra will be chosen.

From then, the challenge is on! The call will go out to Canberra’s brightest minds from our ICT innovation community, asking them to put together submissions answering the challenge brief.

The best two ideas are chosen from the submissions received. The shortlisted teams are then set into head to head competition, partnering with the ACT Government to develop their ideas into 'proof-of-concept' prototypes. Coaching, mentoring and research assistance will be provided to the successful innovators or SMEs. Contestants in the Challenge will also be able to apply for separate Innovation Connect grant funding to help with the commercialisation of their products and ideas.

After six months of development the two solutions are judged, and the team that produces the best outcome for Canberra will be named the winner of the Digital Canberra Challenge, receiving $12,500 in prize money. The runner up will receive $7,500 in prize money.

The winning idea will then be put to work to help improve our city!

The first round is scheduled to begin in September 2013.

Do you know of something that has the opportunity for improvement? Do you think you can out innovate the competition?

Visit the Digital Canberra Challenge website External Link - opens in new window to help set the challenge, become a competitor or to find out more information.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Student Ambassador gets ready for TEDxCanberra!


Our ACT International Student Ambassador, Amy Zhang will be heading along to TEDxCanberra External Link - opens in new window on 7 September 2013!

Here she shares with us the top three things she is looking forward to when attending the event.



The ACT International Student Ambassadors program is an initiative of the ACT Government's Global Connect program, as identified in Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

ACT Government wants to hear from your small business!


Man in suit at laptop

The ACT Government, in partnership with Canberra Business Council, will soon begin running a series of Listening to Small Business Forums.

Commencing in August and running through to October, the Listening to Small Business Forums aim to create a conversation between the ACT Government and Canberra small and micro businesses. There will be 10 forums in total, each one focusing on a different industry area.

These forums, which are an initiative of Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT, will help us to better understand the issues and opportunities each industry sector is dealing with in 2013. Where there is a role for the ACT Government to address these matters, we will strive to do that directly and quickly.

PDF View the Listening to Small Business Forums schedule: PDF 175kB
MS Word View the Listening to Small Business Forums schedule: Word 932kB

Registering for the Listening to Small Business Forum is essential as palces will be limited to approximately 15 participants at each session.

If you are a small business owner or operator and you would like to participate in your industry discussion please register with Dean Seeley, Manager - Canberra BusinessPoint by emailing dean.seeley@canberrabusinesscouncil.com.au or phoning (02) 6247 4199.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Local business making worldwide impact on the technology industry


Adam Smith - Datapod

Tucked away in an industrial park in Fyshwick is Datapod, a rapidly expanding Canberra business making a worldwide impact on the technology industry!

Despite only setting up in 2007, Datapod is already a leader in exporting data centre products to a range of industries including universities, hospitals, government departments and defence.

The innovative Canberra business gained recognition last year after winning the Small to Medium Manufacturing category in the 2012 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards.

Adam Smith, Director of Datapod, said winning the Award, which is run by the Canberra Business Council on behalf of the ACT Government, strengthened the business’ corporate image and credibility.

“The ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards provides companies with industry recognition and commercial acknowledgment” said Mr Smith.

“By receiving a substantial, peer-reviewed award, Datapod can further demonstrate to potential buyers that it has received industry confidence and backing.”

The business, which has recently opened offices in America and Europe, provides products, professional services and technical support to countries as far afield as Indonesia, America and New Zealand.

While conducting most fieldwork in Australia, Datapod’s products are designed for overseas markets and it is estimated that in five years time, 90 per cent of business will be conducted overseas as far afield as India, Brazil and Russia.

“We love representing Australia and more significantly Canberra on a global scale. We all grew up and were educated here, so it’s very important to us” Mr Smith added.

“Some people say that if you are trying to locate the optimum location for a new business, Canberra is not top of the list. But not only is Canberra a great place to live and work, it is a great place to start up a new business.”

“The local workforce is full of vibrant and innovative individuals and the local market is accommodating.”

Datapod have also participated in other ACT Government programs, including the 2013 Indonesian Trade Mission and the Skilled and Business Migration program.

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.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Future of smart safety lays here in Canberra


Seeing Machines CEO Ken Kroeger

The future of ‘smart safety’ lays here in Canberra, with Braddon business Seeing Machines creating camera-based technologies to revolutionise our everyday lives.

Starting from a research hub at the Australian National University 12 years ago, this successful technology company has expanded internationally and now exports products to 10 countries including Brazil, the Netherlands and Indonesia.

Continuing to operate in Canberra, last year’s ACT Chief Minister’s Export Award winner is changing the way we use cameras by creating programs which allow computers to read and interpret human facial movements and behaviour.

Ken Kroeger, Marketing Manager and CEO of Seeing Machines, said winning the Small to Medium Services category in the Export Awards strengthened the company’s reputation as a rising Canberra business.

“The awards confirm a company’s capability and professionalism. It solidifies a business’ place within Canberra’s commercial pool,” Mr Kroeger said.

“The application process may seem time consuming for a busy company, but it is a fairly painless process and in the long term it is a great way to strengthen your company’s legacy.”

The annual ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards are run by Canberra Business Council on behalf of the ACT Government and recognise innovation in a range of disciplines throughout the Territory.

After winning the award, Seeing Machines continues to make an impact through creating equipment which reads truck drivers’ faces and alerts them if they are falling asleep or not paying attention to the road.

Seeing Machines technology

The company’s signing with the 60 billion dollar global mining company Caterpillar earlier this year is evidence of their worldwide reputation.

Seeing Machines, which was listed on the UK stock exchange in 2007, last year turned over $7.2 million. The company is continuing to grow, and analysts predicting it will generate revenues near $11.5 million in 2013.

An exciting future is ahead for Seeing Machines, with the company looking to expand beyond automotive safety technology to entertainment, robotic exploration, security and sports.

Yet their key creation, camera technology used in automobiles, is leading the way for new safety products that are certain to change the car industry.

“It is not a question of if, but when, these cameras will be in every car. We predict by 2017 the everyday driver will be exposed to this safety equipment.”

“The export awards recognised the value and excitement surrounding this technology creation,”
Mr Kroeger continued.

“Canberra is a very-pro business city, and the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards allow businesses not only to create lasting networks but recognise the skills, innovation and technology that are coming out of Canberra”.

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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

National Science Week: Canberra celebrates a century of science


National Science Week


National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology.

Held annually in August, it features approximately 1,000 events around Australia, including those delivered by universities, schools, museums and science centres.

This year National Science Week will be held between 10-18 August 2013. In the ACT, the week will celebrate a century of science in Canberra.

“This year is a big year for science in the ACT as we celebrate our centenary and the significant past and present role science and innovation plays in our community” ACT Deputy Chief Minister, Andrew Barr MLA said.

Canberra is home to a number of the nation's significant National Collections and a wealth of science and education facilities. These include the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), established in 1926, the John Curtin School of Medical Research, established in 1948, and Canberra’s world class space complex, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, in 1960.

A number of ideas and innovations have come out of these and other Canberra institutions, from man's first steps on the Moon, to the development of Aerogard fly spray, to no fewer than eight Nobel Prizes. Find out more about Canberra’s Science highlights External Link - opens in new window.

A wide range of events are being held in Canberra as part National Science Week, including a NICTA Big Picture Seminar.

The Big Picture Seminar is an initiative of NICTA External Link - opens in new window, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, and is designed to communicate the exciting and rapidly evolving vision of science, in general and ICT, in particular, around the globe. The Big Picture Seminar is being held on Thursday 15 August 2013 and features Dr Kim Ritman, Chief Scientist of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) External Link - opens in new window. View the full list of National Science Week events External Link - opens in new window.

National Science Week is an initiative of the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and is supported by the ACT Government.

“The ACT Government is delighted to once again be the major supporter of National Science Week in the ACT” said Mr Barr.

“The ACT Government recognises the importance of a scientifically engaged community – one that is informed and excited about science and values its significance to our economic and social well-being. We want to see our young people inspired by science and see them pursue scientific studies and careers, to gain and build scientific knowledge and apply this to the challenges and opportunities that we all face now and in the future”

As well as National Science Week, the ACT Government has supported a number of programs aimed at fostering research and innovation in the ACT including NICTA, the Innovation Connect grant program and the Strategic Opportunities Fund.

To find out more about National Science Week visit www.scienceweek.net.au External Link - opens in new window.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Local support helps Dougs Word Clock win Export Award


Dougs Word Clocks

Pride in the nation’s capital is at the heart of a handmade clock business that operates from a Gordon garage.

Doug Jackson, the business owner of Dougs Word Clocks and winner of last year’s ACT Chief Minister’s Export Microbusiness Award, now exports 600 clocks a year to customers across the world.

Committed to support industry in the capital, Doug sources all the materials for his digital clocks from local businesses and even sends handwritten notes on Canberra postcards with every product.

“It’s all about supporting the local eco-system,” Doug said. “It would be really easy to take a month off and go out to China to the trade shows, but that’s not the focus. Our customers want something that’s handmade.”

“I am not a business man in any way shape or form, but I am doing this to support other Canberra businesses – that’s really important to me.”

“It’s the whole concept of a cottage industry, and means I can actively employ people to give them a non-threatening introduction to a working environment.”

After winning last year’s Export Award, Doug increased his sales by 50 per cent in the following year.

As 100 per cent of his sales come from his website, Doug said winning the award was a valuable way to legitimise the business – especially as many orders come from as far afield as Great Britain, the US and Russia.

The beginning of his garage-based company was just as unconventional as its headquarters, with Doug spotting a similar clock online that he knew he could create at a more affordable price.

Doug posted instructions online advising people how to create the products from scratch, but instead was bombarded with emails asking him to create the clocks for them.

“It was never my intention to start making these clocks for people, but as soon as we started sending people kits for parts interest just increased and increased,” Doug commented.

“We simplified how it was put together and we have now sent them all over the world. When people receive the product they are astonished it’s handmade.”

The clocks tell the time using words rather than numbers, and Doug again shows his passion for the city by engraving ‘made in Canberra’ on the back of every product.

With orders continuing to grow for his timepieces, the family pool will soon be replaced by a garage extension to create an opportunity for Doug and his three apprentices to craft more clocks.

Your business can benefit from the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards like Doug’s Word Clocks. 

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.