Business Connect Newsletter

December 2014

This newsletter provides business news and events on the programs and activities of the Innovation, Trade and Investment branch, part of the ACT Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.

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New one-stop shop for business developers and community groups

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced that the ACT Government will establish a new ‘one-stop shop’ to cut red tape and better connect Canberrans to government services.

Access Canberra will connect Canberrans to the ACT Government and will include the already well known service Canberra Connect. It’s new function will be to bring together our shopfronts and regulatory arms into a single service.

The service will be available to small and large businesses, community groups and individuals seeking access to permits, approvals and licenses needed to establish a new business or event in the ACT.

Chief Minister Barr said "I want to see Access Canberra engaging with these businesses and groups as soon as possible, discussing how the service can streamline engagement with ACT Government directorates."

"I regularly hear from businesses and individuals who feel frustrated at the multiple approval bodies they have to contact throughout the ACT Government during this process. As Chief Minister I want this to improve."

"The aim of the initiative is to introduce a ‘no wrong door’ approach for entrepreneurs engaging with the ACT Government. Access Canberra will work closely with businesses, community and sporting organisations to help them thrive. I also expect to see more services and information available online through Access Canberra."

"One of my priorities as the ACT Chief Minister is to have a greater focus on regulatory reform and to drive red tape reduction. It is important that the ACT Government maintains high standards of health, safety and probity for everyone in our community. However, we must also enable businesses and community groups to do great things in our city."

The new service will be located in the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.

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Seven Canberra businesses share in Innovation Connect funding

Congratulations to the seven Canberra-based businesses who have been awarded funding from the recent round of the Innovation Connect program.

Innovation Connect is the ACT Government’s flagship innovation program which provides matched-funding grants of up to $50,000 to assist early stage Canberra businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate the development of products and services through commercialisation pathways.

Since the program was established in 2008, funding of more than $3.5 million has been awarded to 142 local businesses, and that amount was at least matched by all of the grant recipients.

This round’s successful grant recipients were:

  • Burnology Pty Ltd - A web-based collaborative mapping and intelligence management system for use before, during and after emergency incidents;
  • Davoodi Pty Ltd - The development of AutoMed – an automatic, self-adjusting medication system for livestock complete with a mobile and cloud-based management system and data recorder;
  • Ezygene Pty Ltd - Development of a DNA diagnostic kit for identification of Pseudomonas bacteria suitable for commercial sale;
  • Rosemark Water Tanks - The development of a full scale working prototype of an innovative water storage solution designed to remove space, cost and aesthetic barriers to greater water tank adoption;
  • Pendulum Technology Pty Ltd - Bindle - the new way to travel. A mobile application that leverages crowd sourced information to help users help themselves. Bindle enables travellers to connect with one another around the world and revolutionises the traditional travel guide as it stands today;
  • MediSen Solutions Pty Ltd - The development of an electronic portal that places control of claims in the hands of the health care providers; and
  • Pictionist - The goal of Pictionist is to revolutionise how people search for images and pictures within an organisation. This will be achieved through implementation of an image search engine that can be customised based on specific characteristics such as image colour, visual structure, and metadata.

For further information visit our Innovation Connect page.

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AFC Asian World Cup players

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Business Programs

The ACT Government’s Invest Canberra program, in partnership with Austrade, will be hosting three International Sports Business Programs as part of the AFC Asian Cup matches being held in Canberra in January 2015.

These programs include a trade, investment and education themes and will provide an opportunity to showcase Canberra’s capabilities and opportunities in key target markets.

AFC matches and key sectors are below:

  • 11 January 2015 – UAE vs Qatar – Infrastructure
  • 13 January 2015 – Kuwait vs Korea Republic – Digital/Telecommunications
  • 18 January 2015 – China PR vs DPR Korea – Tourism Infrastructure.

To find out more or register your interest in attending the events visit the Invest Canberra website External Link - opens in new window.

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Two new innovative precincts announced for Canberra

The ANU and CSIRO have joined forces in a new collaborative precinct to help build a sustainable future for the environment, agriculture and global food supplies.

The National Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Precinct (NAESP) was launched on 5 December 2014 by the Minister for Industry the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP. The precinct will bring together the best researchers from ANU and CSIRO to foster research and innovation essential to food security and environmental stewardship in the face of global population growth, land degradation and climate change.

“The collaboration will transform the way agricultural and environmental research and innovation is conducted in Australia,” said ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO.

“NAESP will become a one-stop shop for integrated plant breeding and natural resource management, which will also create opportunities for new biologically-based industries.”

Minister Macfarlane said the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) will provide $18 million for the precinct from the SIEF Research Infrastructure Program.

The money will be used to help upgrade facilities at CSIRO’s Black Mountain site, adjacent to the ANU, and for access to supercomputing facilities at the National Computational Infrastructure. Read more in ANU-CSIRO form new food, agriculture science precinct External Link - opens in new window.

The NAESP is just one of a number of innovative new precincts under development in Canberra, including the CRC for Space Environment Management.

The CRC for Space Environment Management, which was launched by Minister Macfarlane just days earlier, will be based at Mt Stromlo. The CRC, which was funded in round 16, will see international and Australian space researchers and companies collaborate to try and deal with the growing problem cause by space debris, particularly to satellites.

Minister Macfarlane said $19.8 million from the Australian Government would enable the CRC to bring together experts from around the world to look at ways to protect around 3,000 operational satellites.

Dr. Ben Greene, the Chief Executive Officer of the CRC said, “There are more than 300,000 items of debris orbiting the earth. There is so much debris that it is colliding with itself, and creating more debris. A catastrophic avalanche of collisions which could quickly destroy all orbiting satellites is now possible.”

“Our initial aim is to reduce the rate of debris proliferation caused by new collisions, and then to remove debris using ground-based lasers. Preliminary research has been performed by the individual CRC participants over the past decade, and we will now work together in the CRC to drive the program forward,” Dr Greene said.

The launch also saw the official signing of the partnership between the CRC and the Japanese Institute for Information and Communications Technology (NICT), one of the CRCs essential participants. Read more in Australia to host global space research group to keep satellites safely in orbit External Link - opens in new window.

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Two business women in meeting

Support for hiring a STEM tertiary Intern

The ACT Government is committed to attracting and developing a workforce with stronger Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills and knowledge to meet the new capability demands in our growing digital economy.

As part of this commitment, the ACT Government is offering financial support for ACT-based businesses to assist in the costs associated with hiring a second or higher year undergraduate student intern studying in a STEM field at a Canberra-based university or CIT.

The STEM 4 Digital Business Internship grants of up to $7,500 are to reimburse up to 75% of the eligible wages and related expenses associated with offering a paid for 12 weeks full-time (or 450 hours part time) internship. The business will be responsible for paying the remaining 25% of student intern’s wages and other employment-related costs.

The first round of the Program was launched in August 2014 with 10 businesses approved for grant funding. To date, the program has been very positive with some businesses receiving up to 90 applications from students for one STEM 4 Digital Business internship placement.

Richard Hume, Chief Operating Officer,, a first round recipient of the STEM4 Digital Business Internship Program said about the program, “This is an excellent initiative by the government, which provides much-needed resources for small business and invaluable experience for the student. The application process was straightforward and the approval was prompt and efficient”.

The second round of the STEM 4 Digital Business Internship program is now open.

To find out more visit our STEM 4 Digital Business Internship page.

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Canberra start-up recognised for sustainability project

Canberra start-up Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) have been named as one of Orica Ltd’s top sustainability projects.

MCi is focussed on developing and commercialising technologies for large scale CO2 storage through mineral carbonation. The MCi process aims to transform CO2 into carbonates for use in future new building products like bricks, pavers & plasterboard replacements that are non fired products.

The company is a joint venture between Canberra based GreenMag Group, Orica Ltd and Newcastle Innovation (commercialisation company of the University of Newcastle).

The achievements of the start-up were recently highlighted in Orica Ltd’s, one of the world’s largest mining services organisations, Annual Report, indicating the strength of the technology development and the large opportunity they have to commercialise in the near future.

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Man with people working at desks in background

New support programs available through the CBR Innovation Network

Pilot SME Growth Program

The Pilot SME Growth Program, an ACT Government initiative being delivered by the CBR Innovation Network (CBRIN), is aimed at driving small business growth and competitiveness.

It provides skilled support for business improvement and promoting opportunities, and innovation through collaborative opportunities, connections with research institutions and developing and commercialising new ideas.

The first stage of the program involves a business review in which an experienced business advisor will work with you one on one to understand and review how the business is run and identify areas of improvement.

The adviser will review and assess things like how your business functions, your business strategy, market conditions and your work practices, and work with you to identify areas and opportunities for improvement in your business. This business review is delivered at no charge.

Following this, if you’re interested in implementing the recommendations in your Business Review you can choose to apply for the Business Improvement Grant. The grant of up to $5,000 (excl GST) per business is to help reimburse your business for some of the costs of securing the expertise to make the recommended improvements. All funds provided in the grant will need to be matched dollar for dollar by your business.

To find out more, including if your business is eligible for the Pilot SME Growth Program, visit the CBR Innovation Network website External Link - opens in new window.

Public Sector Landing Pad

Have you been a permanent employee of the Australian or ACT Public Service in the past 12 months? Are you ready to work on your innovative idea full-time?

You may be eligible for the CBRIN’s ‘Public Sector Landing Pad’ (PSLP) program.

Being run by the Network’s partner, Entry 29, the PSLP program gives you 3 months free full-time access to the Entry 29 co-working space located at 1 Moore St, Canberra, normally valued at $990.

The Entry 29 space allows you to work closely with other entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as the CBR Innovation Network and their partner institutions.

You’ll also have access to the Entry 29 facilities External Link - opens in new window which includes 24 hour access, high-speed internet, height-adjustable desks, breakout spaces, meeting rooms and kitchens. You will also have access to other co-working spaces when you travel through Entry 29’s Reciprocal Membership arrangements.

Youth Entrepreneur Summer Session

All teams that received seed funding in this year’s Innovation ACT (IACT) 2014 competition are invited to take part in the inaugural ‘Youth Entrepreneur Summer Session’ (YESS) program.

As part of the program you will receive 3 months free full-time access to the Entry 29 co-working space located at 1 Moore St, Canberra, normally valued at $990.

Eligible IACT start-ups must commence their 3 month access prior to 31 December 2014.

Read more about the program in the ‘Canberra Times’ article Youth Entrepreneur Summer Session to support Canberra's young entrepreneurs External Link - opens in new window.

To find out more and discuss your eligibility for the PSLP or YESS program contact Entry 29:

Website: External Link - opens in new window
Phone: 0426 816 288

The CBR Innovation Network has been established by the ACT Government and the ACT innovation community to play a major role in accelerating innovation and growth to maximise wealth creation and transformation of the ACT economy. The Network is unique within Australia in that it’s based on a collaboration between five world-class research and education institutes in the ACT: the ANU, University of Canberra, NICTA, CSIRO and UNSW Canberra.

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Digital Canberra Challenge logo

Round Three Digital Canberra Challenge Innovators Announced

Local technology firms Link Digital and APositive have been selected as the two successful competitors for round three of the Digital Canberra Challenge (DCC).

The DCC was created to engage ACT innovators and Small and Medium Enterprises in the development of new or enhanced digital solutions which are aimed at improving ACT Government services and operations.

The two challenges for round three are:

  • A Whole of Government Image and Video Library; and
  • A Digital Art Installation that represents the mood of Canberra.

Link Digital will be addressing the Image and Video Library challenge and APositive the Art Installation challenge. Their solutions will be developed in consultation with the relevant area of the ACT Government.

The competitors have twelve weeks to develop their proofs-of-concept before a final judging, with the winner receiving $12,500 and the runner-up $7,500.

To find out more about the DCC including details of how to enter for round four visit External Link - opens in new window

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 Hackathon ACT 2014 participants

Hackathon ACT 2014

In late November, 58 local innovators, including 25 high school students and one primary school student, participated in this year’s Hackathon ACT (HACT) challenge.

The HACT challenge gives teams 32 hours to design, code and launch a new digital product or service. It is part of the TriHack weekend with simultaneous hackathons also taking place in Wollongong and Bega as part of unlocking innovation in the regions.

The HACT challenge, held at Entry 29’s External Link - opens in new window new facilities at the CBR Innovation Network External Link - opens in new window, included workshops and mentors and culminated in a public pitching event.

The participants made up 18 teams, with 15 teams choosing to go to the final pitching event.

Congratulations to the winning HACT 2014 teams:

Biggest Impact Idea ($1,000 prize provided by the CBR Innovation Network)
'Elocution Lab'

Outstanding Young Entrepreneur ($500 prize each provided by the CBR Innovation Network)
'Tap Plus'

Best Community/Open Source Product ($1,000 prize provided by October CMS)

Find out more about Hackathon ACT External Link - opens in new window.

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Ashley Zukerman as Jesse Banks in The Code

'The Code' receives 10 AACTA Award Nominations

‘The Code’, a six-hour political thriller which received funding through the ACT Government, has recently been nominated for 10 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards.

The AACTA Awards are a continuum of the AFI Awards, which have honoured screen excellence in Australia since 1958.

‘The Code’, which was partly shot in Canberra, received nominations in a range of categories including Best Television Drama Series and Best Screenplay in Television. Actors Dan Spielman and Ashley Zukerman, who played brother Ned and Jesse Banks in the series, both received nominations Best Lead Actor in Television Series. View the full list of nomination External Link - opens in new window.

The AACTA Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on Network Ten on Thursday 29 January 2015.

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Canberra Business Chamber launches

The Canberra Business Chamber, along with its new brand and new look, has officially been launched. The Canberra Business Chamber, which is a result of the merging of Canberra Business Council and the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was launched at it inaugural Gala Dinner on 13 November 2014.

The merging of the two groups means that there is now, for the first time in Canberra, one body representing all of business.
Currently the Canberra Business Chamber represents more than 5,000 businesses through direct membership and over 100,000 affiliated industry and association groups.

They provide their members with a source for information, and access to connections and business opportunities that benefit their businesses. This includes a Workplace Relations hotline, monthly programs, speaker events, training, projects and links to business and industry experts.

They also run a range of business focused programs including the ACT Government supported ACT Digital Enterprise and ACT Exporters’ Network programs, and the CBR Innovation Network’s triage service, Canberra BusinessPoint.

Watch the Canberra Business Chamber’s launch video ‘Welcome to future of Canberra business’:

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