Business Connect Newsletter

November 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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Business ideas that don't cost the earth

ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo
10am – 4pm
Thursday 14 November 2013
Rydges Lakeside

Looking to make your business more sustainable? Head along to the free ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo this November and learn about the latest energy and water efficiency products and services, better waste management, as well as advice on creating a healthier work environment.  At the Expo you will also be able to discuss you needs with the ACTSmart team and find the right sustainable solutions for your business.

Businesses that attend the expo and are signed up to an ACTSmart Business program (including those who sign up on the day) have the chance to win $1,000 in prizes*. Find out more about the ACTSmart Business programs External Link - opens in new window.

This year’s ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo also includes a range of free seminars on key industry topics and the latest industry trends. View the seminar program External Link - opens in new window. Bookings are required as seats are limited at each seminar. To book, complete the online registration form available on the ACTSmart website External Link - opens in new window.

Following the Expo, from 4pm -6pm a free networking function will be held. Attendance at the networking function is limited. To book email

To find out more about the ACTSmart Business Sustainability Expo including the seminars and networking event visit the ACTSmart website.

*Terms and conditions available at External Link - opens in new window

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International Student Ambassadors graduation

Congratulations to our 36 ambassadors who graduated from the ACT Government’s International Student Ambassador program on Friday 25 October 2013!

The ambassadors, who began the program in March this year, come from 19 different countries including Canada, China, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. They have been studying at ACT tertiary institutions including the Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), UNSW Canberra and the Australian Catholic University.

Throughout their time as ambassadors the students attended a range of cultural, social and sporting events, as well as some more formal sessions covering politics, history, business and innovation.

The ACT International Student Ambassador Program, an initiative of the ACT Government’s Global Connect 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 on the growing number of advocates or ambassadors for studying, living and working in Canberra.

This is the forth group of ambassadors to go through the program with the students now joining an alumnus of other ambassadors that can actively promote Canberra as an education and learning destination to the world.

Watch our 2 minute 2013 ACT International Student Ambassador graduation ceremony wrap-up video External Link - opens in new window.

To find out more visit the ACT International Student Ambassador Program website External Link - opens in new window.

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Breaking out of the Cage

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. Watch The Story of Australia Trailer External Link - opens in new window.

Bearcage received support through the ACT Government’s ACT Screen Investment Fund 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 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.

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International Aid Crusader named Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year

A number of local ACT business women were recently awarded for their commitment, innovation and success at the 2013 ACT Telstra ACT Business Women’s Awards.

Held on Wednesday 9 October 2013, the Telstra ACT Business Women’s Awards recognise 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.

The top award, the 2013 Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year, was this year awarded to Dr Julia Newton-Howes. Dr Newton-Howes, CEO of CARE Australia joined the international aid organisation after growing up in Zimbabwe. Since joining CARE, Dr Newton-Howes has helped drive reform and change, more than doubling government funding in seven years and growing targeted and unrestricted donations by 30 and 54 per cent respectively in three years.

She prioritised upgrading CARE Australia’s website and Annual Report and has consequently placed CARE Australia as a finalist in PwC’s transparency awards for the past two years. One of Dr Newton-Howes’s key initiatives has been introducing a landmark report on CARE Australia’s impact in Asia over a five year period which provides invaluable benchmarking to drive improvement.

Kate McKenzie, Group Managing Director Telstra Innovation, Products and Marketing and Telstra Business Women's Awards Ambassador said "Judges were impressed by Dr Newton-Howe's passion for CARE Australia's agenda and her high competencies across the organisation, including effective fundraising. They said her business strategy, which focused on reducing poverty by targeting discrimination, particularly of women and girls, was inspirational and added that she enjoyed high respect and engagement from all her staff in Australia".

Other 2013 Telstra ACT Business Women's Award winners included:

  • Business Owner Award: Louise Curtis, Lollypotz
  • Private and Corporate Sector Award: Anita Borella, GHD Pty Ltd
  • Community and Government Award: Dr Julia Newton-Howes, CARE Australia
  • Business Innovation Award: Lisa Roberts, Provincial Plants and Landscapes
  • Young Business Women's Award: Anita Borella, GHD Pty Ltd

Read more about the winners External Link - opens in new window.

The ACT winners now go on to the national finals to be held in Melbourne on 14 November 2013.

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

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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.

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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.

While 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.

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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 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.

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