Business Connect Newsletter

April 2013

This newsletter provides business news and events on the programs and activities of Business Development, part of the Economic Development Directorate.

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Welcome to the new Business Connect newsletter

Welcome to the new look Business Connect newsletter.

This newsletter is just one of our new online channels aimed at improving our communication with you, the ACT business community and its many stakeholders.

We have also launched our refreshed business portal, available at www.business.act.gov.au – a place where you can find assistance, information and various connections to the broader support network available in the ACT. We understand that you want your information in an easily accessible manner. It’s why we have made this new website desktop, mobile and tablet compatible.

The changes we have introduced also include a number of other online platforms, from this newsletter, to Twitter External Link - opens in new window, Facebook External Link - opens in new window, RSS feed and a blog, so you can chose how you receive your information.

Jump on and take a look! Don’t forget to let us know what you think – we are always happy to hear your comments, feedback and suggestions.

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Business Development Strategy – Latest News

In April 2012, the Minister for Economic Development, Mr Andrew Barr MLA launched Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT (the Strategy).

Marking the entry of our second century as a city, it sets out strategies and initiatives to support private sector growth and diversity. The Strategy seeks to harness the unique knowledge created in the ACT and drive growth through innovation. This is to be achieved through a number of initiatives targeted at fostering the right business environment, supporting business investment and accelerating business innovation. These initiatives build on the success of our existing programs as well as establish new program priorities.

The right business environment

For businesses to grow and thrive, it is important that government sets up a framework that is fair, efficient and transparent, and that we invest in hard and soft supporting infrastructure.

Removing red tape and the unnecessary regulatory impediments on business is just one example of how we can help achieve this. In mid-2012, the first meeting of the Red Tape Reduction Panel was held to do just that. The Panel’s aim is to identify regulations that impose unnecessary burdens, costs or disadvantages on ACT business activity and recommend ways to remove and improve outdated, unworkable and illogical regulations. The first of this was the implementation of Fix my Red Tape External Link - opens in new window, an online tool allowing businesses to provide feedback on their regulatory barriers, as well as the abolishment of motor vehicle registration stickers and e-lodgement of rental bonds. Work is currently underway for additional reforms, including a focus on streamlining approvals and licensing for outdoor areas.

Further supporting business efficiency is our work towards the Business Online Services ACT Implementation. This project aims to establish an ambitious set of reforms via a nationally-coordinated online system. The first of these, the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) External Link - opens in new window, was released in late 2012. This service now allows businesses to find information on their regulatory obligations in each jurisdiction via one entry point.

To further help businesses easily find the information they are looking for, we have also redeveloped the Government Business Portal. Launched in March 2013, the new portal includes a blog and is supported by other online platforms including Twitter External Link - opens in new window, Facebook External Link - opens in new window, RSS feeds and a this new look eNewsletter.

Supporting Business Investment

We want to promote Canberra as an attractive place for new business investment.

Recently we launched our dedicated investment facilitation program, InvestACT, a specialised function within our Branch that is working towards creating a collaborative and efficient whole-of-government response to investment leads.

In mid-2012 we also implemented our new Online Skilled Migration Processing System. This replaced the previous paper-based application and information vetting system resulting in increased efficiency of the skilled migration facilitation process, reducing time and costs to both the applicants and the employees.

Accelerating business innovation

Innovation is the way people and organisations generate new ideas and put them into practice. It is the foundation of economic growth and competitiveness.

Economic growth is driven by the creation of new and better ways of producing goods and delivering services. It’s why we have continued to build our Innovation Connect (ICon) grant program, which provides funding for small technology focused companies and entrepreneurs.  An example of funded projects includes Stalkthis. Stalktis Pty Ltd was the recipient of ICon funding to support the build of an innovative new website that follows and organises the things consumers want to buy in one central online account. Find out more about Stalkthis External Link - opens in new window. We have also continued our support for programs and initiatives assisting with the development of innovative idea such as NICTA, ScreenACT, CollabIT, Discovery Translation Fund and ANU Connect Ventures.

These ideas are gathering increasing attention worldwide, and to harness this we have grown our trade development related activities. Delivered under the single program interface, Global Connect, this has included the launch of the Centre for Exporting Government Solutions in March this year, as well as our trade mission to Indonesia in April.

Find out more about Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT.

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ACT Opens up Business Links to Indonesia

On 20 April 2013, Andrew Barr MLA, ACT Minister for Economic Development, led the ACT Government’s first trade mission to Indonesia. He is joined by 16 other Canberra organisations including the Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra.

The Trade Missions Program is an initiative of the ACT Government’s Global Connect program and is identified in Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT

The trade mission to Indonesia is themed around the ACT’s significant competitive strengths in areas of international education, knowledge intensive business services, ICT services and public administration. It provides a unique opportunity for ACT businesses and Canberra’s significant international education institutions to explore opportunities to build long term economic relations with Indonesia.

Australia and Indonesia are significant neighbours with strong links that encompass political, security, commercial, environmental, cultural and people-to-people connections.  As national capitals, the cities of Jakarta and Canberra are well placed to take the lead in nurturing and sustaining this country to country relationship.

The six day mission program also includes a side trip to Singapore where Minister Barr has a number of meetings on tourism and aviation development links.

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ScreenACT and the ACT Screen Investment Fund – Growing the ACT Screen Industry

ScreenACT, the ACT Office of Film, Television & Digital Media, is working hard to support the growth of the local screen industry. 

ScreenACT delivers industry support programs, acts as the voice of the screen sector at local, national and international forums and provides professional development to local screen practitioners. ScreenACT also provides assistance to local and interstate screen production companies on suitable locations, skills availability and options for funding.

One key funding source is the ACT Screen Investment Fund. Designed to support the growth and sustainability of the ACT screen industry, the Fund can provide you with equity co-investment for creative, original and commercial projects. This includes film, television and digital media projects.

Established in 2010, the Fund has supported a number of screen projects, the most recent being a documentary, ‘Canberra Confidential’. Presented by ABC journalist and Logie award nominee Annabel Crabb, Canberra Confidential explores some of the forgotten scandals, political secrets and espionage sagas that shook the nation over the past century. The documentary aired on ABC in mid-March and received strong ratings in all the capital cities, being the ABC’s third highest watched program for the day. Find out more about Canberra Confidential External Link - opens in new window.

This isn’t the only success story for the Fund. In 2011, the Fund supported ‘The Digger – A History’, which went on to receive the gold award at the 2011 Cannes Corporate and Television Awards in the History and Civilization category. The Digger tells the story of those who have represented Australia in the various battlefields and trenches across the world - from South Africa and Egypt, to the Western Front, New Guinea, Korea and Vietnam. Find out more about The Digger – A History External Link - opens in new window.

To find out more about ScreenACT, visit the ScreenACT website External Link - opens in new window. To find out more about the Fund, visit our ACT Screen Investment Fund page.

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Reducing Red Tape for Business

Being across a business’s regulatory obligations can be a challenge for SMEs. A number of new initiatives in Growth, diversification and jobs: A Business Development Strategy, tackle the issue head on.

One such initiative is the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) External Link - opens in new window. The ACT Government has had an ongoing role in the design, development and implementation of ABLIS which is part of the Australian Business Number and Business Names Registration Project – one of 27 regulatory priorities under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) red tape reform initiative.

ABLIS allows you, for the first time, to go online and create a customised list of information about how to comply with the rules and regulations that apply to your specific situation. You can use it to gather information about your compliance obligations whether your business is in the ACT or anywhere in Australia.

In addition to our ongoing role in red tape reform at a national level, we have also established the Red Tape Reduction Panel which works across the whole ACT Government to investigate and eliminate, or appropriately modify, regulatory impediments that frustrate you and other Canberra businesses.

Supporting the work of the Red Tape Reduction Panel, is the online feedback tool, Fix my Red Tape External Link - opens in new window. If your business is having trouble with a red tape matter, you can use this tool to provide feedback, ask questions or lodge complaints about them.

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International Students become Ambassadors for life in Canberra

In March this year the ACT Government launched the 2013 ACT International Student Ambassadors program. Thirty six international students from the Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), UNSW Canberra and the Australian Catholic University were inducted into this year’s program.  This is the forth group of ambassadors to go through the program, with students coming from 19 different countries including Canada, China, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe

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

The 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 a growing number of advocates or ambassadors for studying, living and working in Canberra.

By working with enthusiastic student ambassadors, drawn from a variety of disciplines and a range of countries, it is planned to build networks and relationships with international students already in Canberra and, through them, back in their home countries.

If you would like to know more about the program contact us at business.mailbox@act.gov.au or phone 1800 244 650.

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Capital Angels Supporting Local Entrepreneurs

Formed in 2005, Capital Angels is an organisation that provides a forum for qualified high-net worth individuals to proactively support Capital Region entrepreneurs through both investment and direct activities supporting the companies. Capital Angels provides a forum and structure for regular and formal meetings with potential companies and entrepreneurs, facilitating information exchange. The members of Capital Angels make individual investment decisions based on their own individual assessment of the opportunity presented.

The group held its first cocktail event on Thursday 4 April 2013 at University House at the ANU. A total of 45 people attended, consisting of entrepreneurs, investors, Government representatives, University staff, service providers and other curious people.

The event included three 'pitches':

  • ScreenACT who presented three film projects -'Dead Exchange' (the first Zom Brom Rom Com!); 'The Mission' (a science factual with a twist) and 'Waiting For Robbo' (a comedy heist film). Each film had already gone through a rigorous incubation process with secured distribution for their respective films and ACT Government investment financing through ACT Screen Investment Fund.
  • QHopper - a venture changing the way the world queues, one queue at a time. QHopper believes that nobody should have to wait in lines for anything when smartphones can do it for us.  As such they  have developed an MVP smartphone ordering and queuing system that maximises stadium catering throughout while enabling sports fans the ability to order and queue from their phones.
  • CutOrange who presented a social networking platform for sporting organisations. Whether a grassroots club, a social group or an elite sporting organisation, CutOrange provides efficient administration, communication and event management.

Significant interest was generated from all projects and investor interest was received for the movies and start-up ideas. The movie producers and entrepreneurs now need to work on the specifics of an investment - Capital Angels is just a facilitator.

The next meeting for Capital Angels is on Thursday 27 June 2013. If you are interested in attending please contact Dejan Andrevski at dejan.andrevski@lighthouseinnovation.com.au. To find out more visit the Capital Angels website External Link - opens in new window.

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Gungahlin Switches on to NBN

In February this year, Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy switched on the ACT’s first public connection to the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the Gungahlin Town Centre.

Since then, over 4,000 homes and businesses in Gungahlin have subscribed to the NBN. In April, Senator Conroy stated ''After just two months, 33 per cent - one third - have ordered the NBN, which is absolutely the best take-up rate anywhere in Australia so far”.

''Work on the fibre network is also under way in around 2,500 premises in nearby Palmerston and we expect these homes to be ready to be switched on in June. Across the ACT, work on the fibre network has commenced to more than 20,000 homes and businesses.''

''It's great to see the progress of the NBN here in Gungahlin. Canberrans get why we need high-speed broadband, they understand that's it going to make a smart city even smarter.''

The switching on of the NBN in Gungahlin also enabled the activation of the ACT Digital Hub and ACT Digital Enterprise Centre at the Gungahlin Library. Supported by the Economic Development Directorate, these programs have made a substantial contribution to raising awareness of the benefits of the NBN in the Gungahlin community.

To find out more, visit the National Broadband Network External Link - opens in new window and the ACT Digital Enterprise program websites External Link - opens in new window.

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2013 Telstra Women's Business Awards

Are you a business woman with an inspiring story to share?

The Telstra Business Women’s Award aims to recognize business women leading, innovating and mentoring the next generation. Finalists and winners are given the opportunity to be involved in the Alumni network enabling them to engage with peers, share ideas, support one another and build their business networks. Winners can also take home a share of $250,000 worth of prizes.

Entries open Monday 29 April 2013 for the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.
Entries close Tuesday 25 June 2013.

To find out more, visit the Telstra Business Women’s Awards website External Link - opens in new window.

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2013 ACT Training Excellence Awards

We are looking for businesses and organisations with a passion and commitment to training.

The ACT Training Excellence Awards are run by the ACT Government’s Education and Training Diretorate and recognise organisations, training providers and individuals for their contribution to skilling Australia. Winners of the ACT awards go onto the Australian Training Awards, the peak national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

Nominations are currently open for the 2013 ACT Training Excellence Awards. Entries close 5:00pm Friday 3 May 2013.

To find out more, visit the ACT Training Excellence Awards website External Link - opens in new window.

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