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.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Think you know your employees rights? Make sure it’s not just a common workplace myth!


You don't need to pay employees for time spent opening or closing your store or attending training outside of normal work hours.

You can send your employees home without pay if there isn't enough work on.

Employees must work for you for 12 months before they can take leave.

What do all three of these scenarios have in common? They’re all common workplace myths!

The reality is you must pay your employees for all the time they are required to work, you must pay employees their normal working hours, even if there isn't any work, and all leave starts to accrue as soon as employees commence work!

In terms of rights and obligations, there’s a lot you need to know about when employing staff. As an employer though, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are aware of these - a breach in your employee's rights can mean potential penalties for your business!

To help you out business.gov.au External Link - opens in new window in partnership with the Fair Work Obudsman External Link - opens in new window have put together some common workplace myths and busted them for you.

View the list of common workplace myths External Link - opens in new window.

You can also sign up for the Fair Work Obudsman’s eNewsletter External Link - opens in new window to receive regular updates on workplace laws.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

How do you fix your business when you don’t even know what the problem is – free video resources for your business!


Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had an hour to save the world he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes solving it. The same can be said for business, after all how do you fix your business when pin pointing the problem is difficult.

Those who were able to attend the series of free business master classes which we featured on our blog earlier in the year External Link - opens in new window know all about this! And now you can too!

The master class series, run jointly by the Canberra BusinessPoint External Link - opens in new window and Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre External Link - opens in new window, included 6 sessions covering a variety of advanced business themes.

The master classes centred on a fictitious case study, the story of Davange Pty Ltd and its two directors, David and Angela O'Dell. The case study aimed to challenge participants to rephrase a problem from different viewpoints, looking at the quality of their problem descriptions and the impact on the solutions.

You can listen to the case study below or read the case study here External Link - opens in new window. Don’t place too much weight on the particular facts of the case study as it is unlikely that these circumstances will be the same as your own!



At each master class an experienced local business advisor and subject matter expert was bought in to explore particular themes including business management and performance, financial, people, legal, business expansion and investment.

The sessions were recorded and these videos are now available on the Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre website as a free online educational resource for you and your business!

View the Master Class Video Series External Link - opens in new window. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Student Ambassador talks TEDxCanberra!


Leading up to last month’s TEDx Canberra event we shared a video from one of our ACT International Student Ambassadors, Amy Zhang, on the top three things she is looking forward to when attending the event.

Amy’s back, this time with her quick 1 minute review of the event!



You can also find out more about TEDx Canberra 2013 in our previous blog post: Canberra gets inspired with TEDx.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Six steps to safety for Small Business


As a business owner or manager you have the responsibility to manage all aspects of your business. This includes looking after the financial affairs of the business as well as the health, safety and welfare of the people in your workplace.

Keeping a small business afloat is not easy. The cost of doing business includes rent, wages, superannuation, regulation expenses, licenses and insurance. Insurance costs are driven by risks associated with your business as well as by claims that are made. A broken window can result in increased building insurance, an injury to a worker can, and very often does, lead to increased workers compensation insurance premiums. But an injury to a worker can also result in significant other costs not covered by insurance.

Whilst incidents may not happen very often in a small business, when they do, they can have a devastating effect. This is not only on the person who gets injured or sick, but also on the business itself. In a small business you can’t afford to lose a trained worker – someone who knows your business, how it works, your standards, your customers, your products. If this happens to be you, what is likely to happen to the business?

To help you start the process of managing safety in your business, WorkSafe ACT has developed the free Six steps to small business safety toolkit. It has been developed specifically to meet the needs of small-medium business and takes into account the limited resources and expertise you may have in this area. The Six steps to small business safety toolkit uses a step-by-step approach and also includes separate checklists and forms to help you apply these steps in a practical way.

The toolkit is designed to meet the requirements of Australian Standard AS 4804: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and will give you a framework that can be independently audited, in the same way many organisations have their financial or quality systems audited.

You can download a copy of the free Six steps to small business safety toolkit on the WorkSafe ACT website External Link - opens in new window.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

World class wines come to Canberra


Judges sample wines at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge

This month close to 500 Rieslings from around the world will be on show as part of the 2013 Canberra International Riesling Challenge. Held from 7 to 12 October, the Riesling Challenge has grown from a local competition into a major, internationally-recognised wine show – one of the most significant events of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge was held in 2000 and attracted 137 entries from across Australia. Since then the Riesling Challenge has grown significantly, this year receiving 483 entries from seven wine-growing nations.

Ken Helm AM, Chair of the Canberra International Riesling Challenge said, “We have received entries from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Germany, France, Canada and South Africa”.

“It is pleasing to see a great increase in the number of French entries – from two last year to 17 this year. The US went from 20 to 31. Perhaps the greater interest can be put down to the greater awareness of Canberra in the centenary year.”

There are a number of events being held throughout the week:

  • Seminar of Riesling Excellence
    9am – 1pm, Friday 11 October 2013
    The seminar features five leading wine experts who will dispel some myths and talk about the latest developments in wine-making and the wine industry.
  • Master Class
    2pm – 4pm, Friday 11 October
    Experts from four Riesling producing countries will provide an insight into what makes an excellent Riesling and how to get the best from a tasting.
  • Award Ceremony
    6.30pm, Friday 11 October
  • Trade and Public Tasting
    11am – 3pm, Saturday 12 October

Visit the Canberra International Riesling Challenge website External Link - opens in new window or contact (02) 6290 1505 to find out more about the events.

Ken Helm with Bryan and Jocelyn Martin, Ravensworth Wines.
Ken Helm with Bryan and Jocelyn Martin, Ravensworth Wines – winner of 2012 Best Wine of the Challenge, 2012 ACT Government and Hyatt Hotel Canberra Award for Best in Australia and 2012 Chief Minister’s Trophy for Best from the Canberra District.
Wines on display in the Canberra International Riesling Challenge

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Business Connect October Newsletter


The October issue of the Business Connect Newsletter is now available. Find out about:
  • What has been achieved in the implementation of the Business Development Strategy
  • The two chosen challenges in the Digital Canberra Challenge
  • The latest Innovation Connect recipients

Plus more!


View the October Newsletter