Business Connect Newsletter

December 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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Invest Canberra logo

Invest Canberra: Ready for business

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.

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 facilitate 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.

Watch the Invest Canberra launch video:

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Brand Canberra logo

A new brand. A new way to think about Canberra

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 consultation is underway to help determine how the brand program can be brought to life. The detailed program will then be revealed in March 2014.

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

Watch the Brand Canberra video:

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Winners of the Canberra BusinessPoint Awards

Local business excellence recognised

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

Held on 21 November 2013, 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, oil and gas sectors. Find out more about PayMe External Link - opens in new window.

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.

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Aspen Medical recognised nationally for exporting excellence

Local company Aspen Medical External Link - opens in new window has been recognised for its exporting excellence, taking out the Health and Biotechnology category at the 51st National Export Awards External Link - opens in new window on 26 November 2013.

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 per cent to $44 million. Exports now account for close to 20 per cent 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 category Award in 2011. That year the company was also acknowledged 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 of accolades 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.

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Left: Crowd at the Festival of Ambitious Ideas. Right: Adrian Faccioni, Managing Director of GPSports, speaks to the audience.

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.

Anna Pino, Chief Executive of Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre told StartupSmart 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 said.
“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 comprised 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 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, Ms 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. Ms Pino said 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,” Ms Pino said.

“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.

Watch the presentations External Link - opens in new window.
Watch Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre’s video sharing some of the audience’s thoughts on the event External Link - opens in new window.

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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.

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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 having 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. 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.

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