Business Connect Newsletter

November 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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ACT innovation community collaborates to form new CBR Innovation Network

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has officially launched the new CBR Innovation Network (CBRIN) at its space in Level 5, 1 Moore St, Canberra.

In an Australian-first collaboration between the ACT Government and 5 research organisations, CBRIN is a central hub to connect, promote and accelerate innovation in the ACT. It is a not for profit organisation, supported by the ACT Government with leadership from its 5 foundation partners: The Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra (UC), National ICT Australia (NICTA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra). The broader innovation community is engaged through various avenues, including an Advisory Committee that will give input to strategic direction.

CBRIN CEO, Dr. Sarah Pearson said "The ACT is uniquely positioned to transform its economy. No other city in Australia can boast such a strong collaboration between its major research and education institutions, coupled with a vibrant and engaged innovation community. We have all the ingredients needed to make our city a globally recognised economy driven by entrepreneurial and innovative companies".

Professor Michael Cardew-­Hall, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Innovation and Advancement) said of the ANU's involvement "CBRIN is an exciting opportunity for ANU to connect with the broader innovation community, to support the growth of innovation culture and capability, and is already helping connect start-ups with the support they need".

Professor Frances Shannon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UC said "UC is looking to CBRIN as a collaborative approach to engaging students in entrepreneurship, as well as an opportunity to develop new industry sectors for the ACT".

Dr Phil Robertson, Chief Operating Officer at NICTA said that being based on collaborations between industry and researchers, NICTA was a natural foundation partner for the CBRIN

"We are keen to see CBRIN connect ACT innovators into market supply chains to deliver innovative solutions and a thriving economy", said Dr Phil Robertson.

Lindsay Adler commented "CSIRO is pleased to be involved in this unique collaboration, and will use CBRIN as a tool to support the growth of the ACT innovation ecosystem and economy".

Professor Hans Riesen from UNSW Canberra highlighted "the collaborative approach that CBRIN is employing is unique in Australia, and we see this as a great opportunity to foster excellence in entrepreneurship and successful commercialisation".

The ACT has over 26,000 businesses, with the vast majority being micro and small. It has the highest business formation and patent PC rate in Australia, and is a hotbed of youth entrepreneurism.

CBRIN is headed by Sarah Pearson as the CEO, and Tony Henshaw as the Chair. CBRIN will take a central role in growing the innovation ecosystem and diversifying the economy in the ACT, and will do this by:

  • Providing a service connecting innovators and entrepreneurs to the support they need, both online and offline
  • Providing a supportive co-­working space in collaboration with Entry 29
  • Supporting a business accelerator program with Griffin Accelerator
  • Developing an incubator program
  • Workshops, talks and events for capability building, connection, promotion and commercial solution development through open methods
  • Delivering a business assistance service for small companies wishing to innovate and grow
  • Delivering programs to support youth and public servants wishing to start on the entrepreneurial journey
  • Promoting innovation in the ACT nationally and internationally, to attract funding, talent, and companies wishing to be part of the concentration of world-­class expertise and entrepreneurship

Canberra is on track to become a globally recognised hub of entrepreneurial success- a clever, connected and creative city that attracts companies, ideas and talent. With Canberra's unique concentration of education and research institutions, skilled people and multinational companies, CBRIN will integrate, align and expand diverse innovation activities.

Find out more about the CBR Innovation Network at External Link - opens in new window

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Message from ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr

The ACT Government is committed to maintaining a strong and sustainable economy for Canberra and our region.  We know that a strong economy underpins the government's ability to meet the needs of the Canberra community now and into the future, which is why we are focussed on increasing our city's profile internationally, to attract foreign investment to Canberra and the region, and to grow our export capabilities.

Last month I had the pleasure of leading a delegation to Singapore and Tokyo where I was able to highlight the great potential our city offers for foreign investors. This latest delegation followed a successful trip to Singapore and Hong Kong in June, and I am pleased to say that these relationship building missions are being received warmly and with enthusiasm by potential investors overseas.

The ACT Government is continuing to work hard to develop a more balanced, diverse economy to reduce our dependence on public service employment, through innovation, investment attraction and by producing and exporting high value goods and services. Attracting foreign investment and skills through niche programs for foreign investors, and skilled business migrants is a priority of this government, as is growing our export capabilities, including partnering with our universities to support their growth and international outreach.

I was involved in a number of discussions during this delegation which promoted investment in our city's key infrastructure projects such as City to the Lake and Capital Metro, and I also had the opportunity to promote tourism and our higher education sector.
While meeting with key leaders I was heartened to learn of the growing national focus on business and trade opportunities between Australia and Singapore, and to hear the importance and strength of the Australia-Japan relationship being reinforced at a variety of levels.

In recent trips to Asia, I and other Ministers have sent a very strong message that Canberra is open for business and ready for international investment. It is my hope that some of the benefits of these relationship building missions will begin to take shape over the coming months and I look forward to providing regular updates.

Andrew Barr
Deputy Chief Minister

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Chief Minister Katy Gallagher signs a MOU with Shenzen

Canberra opens its doors to Shenzhen City in new economic agreement

Canberra is set to benefit from an economic cooperation agreement signed in October by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and the Mayor of Shenzhen Mr Xu Qin, in China, marking a new era of collaboration between the two cities.

"This memorandum of understanding opens the door to a range of significant new opportunities for Canberra businesses with a city which plays home to some of the largest technology companies in the world," the Chief Minister said.

Shenzhen has a population in excess of 15 million people and an economy eight times the size of the ACT and 15% of the size of the Australian economy.

"There are many similarities between the cities of Canberra and Shenzhen but in the first instance areas like innovation, high technology, education and environmental protection have been nominated as the priority areas to focus on," the Chief Minister said.

"We know a number of Canberra based innovative ICT businesses are pioneering digital and other high tech projects which are grabbing attention internationally and I hope that this economic cooperation deal will help them and others to build and promote their businesses and help them to establish in such a significant overseas market."

The agreement will diversify Canberra's economy by prioritising business investment, strengthening the education sector and building Canberra's vision as a digital city.

The MOU highlights two-way investment and cooperation between the companies and institutions of Canberra and Shenzhen, on areas of shared interest including technology, innovation and industry.

This agreement with the Mayor of Shenzhen builds on the existing relationships Canberra already has with China including most importantly the well established sister-city agreement with Beijing in 2000.

"The MOU will reinforce the importance and growth of the ACT¡¯s exporting community, and I hope that it will have significant benefits for the local economy," the Chief Minister said.

"This agreement outlines a commitment to look for opportunities to connect Canberra and Shenzhen through Digital Canberra Action Plan initiatives, including the proposed Digital Hub."

The Chief Minister also participated in a roundtable discussion with key business leaders in Shenzhen where she was able to showcase investment opportunities in Canberra.

"I had the opportunity to promote Canberra to investors by providing information on a number of our biggest and most exciting projects, such as City to the Lake and Capital Metro, which are priority infrastructure projects for Canberra," the Chief Minister said.

"Other ACT Government initiatives such as Study Canberra, Digital Canberra and Visit Canberra were also highlighted, as well as our significant capabilities in research and development.

"Today's discussion also focussed on digital industry and innovation and included discussions with some of Shenzhen¡'s biggest and most innovative companies.

"My message to Shenzhen businesses is that Canberra is open for business and ready for international investment and partnerships," the Chief Minister concluded.

Today's signing ceremony signifies as important step forward for Canberra as a global city. Partnering with one of the world's most rapidly developing, innovative and dynamic economies is a very positive development for Australia's national capital.

On 23 October 2014, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher MLA addresses the Legislative Assembly on the outcomes of her delegation to Hong Kong and Shenzen. Read her address to the assembly External Link - opens in new window.

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Participants receiving their awards at the Digital Canberra Challenge

Streamlined 'digital ID wallet' wins top Canberra SME innovation award

A prototype app giving Canberra residents the ability to seamlessly access a wide range of local services has secured first place - and a $12,500 cash prize - at the Digital Canberra Challenge awards.

Imagine Team's 'digital ID' wallet gives users one app instead of a myriad of cards to access buses, libraries and other government services. The app, called 'Cardly', is the brainchild of co-creators Zakaria Bouguettaya and Andrew Clapham. The prototype app incorporates MyWay cards and ACT drivers' licences but can be extended to include other services.

After winning the award, Mr Bouguettaya said "I want to thank NICTA's eGov Cluster and the ACT Government for backing the Digital Canberra Challenge. The support that this competition is giving to innovative SMEs in Canberra has been fantastic."

Mr Bouguettaya says he anticipates using the money on extending the concept of Cardly, and investing on his other venture, As for the next steps for Cardly, Mr. Bouguettaya is in discussions with government agencies to see how the concept can be rolled out for a private beta, and what would be needed to see it through to reality.

The runner-up app came from local start-up company Basement Labs. It aims to streamline information about the Canberra Hospital for patients, visitors and staff. Tim Ainge from Basement Labs has trialled the app in the hospital's new paediatrics ward. "The value of the app is in providing information in smaller and more relevant chunks, making it easier for people to consume," said Mr Ainge.

This Digital Canberra Challenge awards were presented on 15 October 2014 by ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr. He took the opportunity to launch round three of the Challenge.

"Through the Challenge, we have seen SMEs challenging the status quo and thinking deeply about the issues facing our government. These businesses have been focussed on developing the right solutions for these challenges. The Digital Canberra Challenge encourages ACT public servants, and the local community, to get involved in thinking differently about our government and developing new and better ways for us to do business," said Minister Barr.

Michael Phillips, Manager of eGov Cluster said: "Once again, the diversity, drive and resourcefulness of Canberra's innovators was on show in the Digital Canberra Challenge. Congratulations to the winners!"

Digital Canberra Challenge is an ACT Government initiative to engage Canberra's brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century. To find out more visit the Digital Canberra Challenge website External Link - opens in new window.

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Winners of the 2014 ACT Chief MInister's Export Awards

Seeing Machines named 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year

Canberra-based technology company Seeing Machines has been crowned ACT Exporter of the Year at the 2014 ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards held on 14 October 2014.

Seeing Machines is renowned for developing state of the art fatigue and distraction monitoring technology, including the Driver Safety System (DSS) which is already being used by mining, commercial road-transport and automotive industries worldwide.

The company, which was founded in 1999, now has 95 employees working across Canberra, San Francisco, Arizona and Tuscany, with export sales accounting for 53% of its revenue.

Seeing Machines recognition as 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year comes a month after the company announced a collaboration deal with Samsung which aims to bring face and eye tracking technology to the consumer electronics market.

"We are delighted to be recognised as the 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year," Seeing Machines CEO Ken Kroger said.

"Canberra is a great place to do business. The collaboration between organisations such as NICTA and the ANU are part of a small technology community that come together to share resources and ideas and support each other."

Seeing Machines have also signed a three-year strategic agreement with Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. which will introduce their state-of-the-art Driver Safety System to the rail industry.

Canberra Business Chamber CEO, Chris Faulks, congratulated Seeing Machines on winning the 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year, as well as the Information and Communication Technology category for the second year running.

"Seeing Machines success is a testament to the growing strength of the export industry in the ACT", Ms Faulks said.

"Since winning the Information and Communication Technology category at the Export Awards last year Seeing Machines has grown considerably and this award is due recognition for their achievements.

"Seeing Machines, along with the other 10 category winners, is a prime example of the innovative, global success of ACT exporters who use our country's capital as a base".

First time winners in this year's Export Awards included iSimulate (Education and Training), OnTheGo (Online Sales), as well as Frameskin and Austranter Medical, who shared the Emerging Exporter award.

The full list of winners for the 2014 ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards are:

  • ACT Exporter of the Year - Seeing Machines
  • Business Services - Intelledox
  • Education and Training - iSimulate
  • Environmental Solutions - Windlab
  • Health and Biotechnology - Aspen Medical
  • Information and Communication Technology - Seeing Machines
  • Manufacturing - Datapod
  • Online Sales - OnTheGo
  • Small Business - IE Asia Pacific
  • Emerging - Frameskin and Austranter Medical (ACT only)
  • ACT Exporting Government Solutions - Royal Australian Mint (ACT only)
  • Exporting To Asia - Intelledox (ACT only)

Aspen Medical, who have been recognised through the ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards for a number of years and last year went onto win the Health and Biotechnology category at the National Export Awards, recently received additional accolades with Managing Director and co-founder Glenn Keys being named ACT Australian of the Year. Read more in the Canberra Times article "Business leader Glenn Keys and basketballer Patrick Mills ACT Australian and Young Australian of the Year" External Link - opens in new window.

ACT category winners will qualify for entry into the 52nd Australian Export Awards which will be held in Melbourne in November.

The ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards are an initiative of the ACT Government delivered by Canberra Business Chamber.

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Chief Minister Katy Gallagher with a free wi-fi brochure

CBRfree public Wi-Fi goes live in Civic

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has launched CBRfree public Wi-Fi in Civic East - the first area of the city to go permanently live with Canberra's new free public Wi-Fi network.

At the launch, the Chief Minster also announced that service provider iiNet will increase the download limit of CBRfree from 100 megabytes per day (3 gigabytes per month), to 250 megabytes per day (7.5 gigabytes per month).

"This is a significant moment for Canberra and represents the ACT Government's commitment to our future as a smart and digital city," the Chief Minister said.

"We want to ensure Canberra is a place where businesses and entrepreneurs can compete globally in new knowledge-based and ICT industries.

"The rollout of CBRfree Wi-Fi will continue to make Canberra a place of influence and innovation. It will encourage vibrant town centres where Canberrans are connected to their community and are able to engage with Government services easily.

"It is fantastic that iiNet have offered to increase the download limit of CBRfree to 250MB at no additional cost to the Territory. This allows iiNet to create a homogenous service across the cities in which it delivers free public Wi-Fi while giving Canberrans even greater connectivity.

In May this year, the Chief Minister announced that as of October Civic East - from Garema Place to the Convention Centre, round to Gorman House and up to Girrahween Street in Braddon - would be the first area of the city to go live with CBRfree public Wi-Fi. This would be followed with a staged rollout in other town centres and commercial precincts over the following 12 months.

"The next area of Canberra that CBRfree public Wi-Fi will be rolled out in is Civic West - from Moore Street to the New Acton precinct. This area is scheduled to be fully live in January 2015," the Chief Minister said.

"Over the coming months, as free public Wi-Fi is rolled out across all of Civic, Canberrans will start to see signage that will identify the free public Wi-Fi hotspots. I encourage you all to log on and check out the new network," the Chief Minister concluded.

CBRfree public Wi-Fi was recently made available at this year's Floriade and was incredibly popular. There were more than 48,000 sessions and nearly 13,000 unique users connecting to the network over the duration of the festival.

The new free public Wi-Fi service will provide users with 250 megabytes per day, totalling 7.5 gigabytes per month. An example of the type of internet activity Canberrans will have per month is:

  • the capacity to send around 15,000 emails (without attachments);
  • make around 1,500 Facebook posts;
  • download about 525 songs; or
  • download roughly 1,500 photos.

For more information on the rollout of CBRfree public Wi-Fi visit External Link - opens in new window.

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Samantha Kourtis, ACT Telstra Business Woman of the Year

Community-minded pharmacist named Telstra's ACT Business Woman of the Year

Samantha Kourtis, who established a national model for community pharmacies extending their services beyond traditional medicine dispensing, has been named the2014 Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year at an awards evening held on 28 October 2014.

Ms Kourtis, who is Managing Partner at Capital Chemist Charnwood, also won the Private and Corporate Sector Award and the Business Innovation Award at the 20th Telstra ACT Business Women's Awards.

A long-held interest in wound management and her identification of local healthcare service needs led Ms Kourtis to introduce a medical compression garment clinic within the pharmacy that she has managed since 2013.

Encouraged by the head of Calvary Hospital's Lymphoedema Services, Ms Kourtis undertook appropriate training to deliver an alternative to the long waiting times for patients needing Lymphoedema (swelling in the arms and legs) garments fitted at the local public clinic and at other healthcare providers.

In its first year of opening, the Charnwood pharmacy's clinic has improved the health outcomes for more than 550 patients with circulation problems and diabetes from as far away as Cooma, Bega and Gundagai. It has also increased the pharmacy's front-of-shop profit.

Ms Kourtis, the only pharmacist in the ACT region to have allied health referral rights, and her team were recognised by being named the Pharmacy Guild of Australia's 2014 pharmacy of the year.

Ms Kourtis  says: "My success has been created by my ability to share my passion of community and healthcare with my team and by surrounding myself with people who are equally committed and excited about making a difference in these areas."

A believer in making the pharmacist accessible to the customer, she added: "Now my pharmacists are out of the dispensary and engaging with the customer, I am starting to see incredible results with financial growth and customer satisfaction."

Throughout her career, Ms Kourtis has taken on mentoring roles, lecturing, tutoring and examining students on behalf of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Board of Australia and universities.

Other winners at the 2014 Telstra ACT Business Women's Awards include Jan Mason, Deputy Secretary, Business, Procurement and Asset Management at the Department of Finance and currently chair of the steering committee for the Medibank sale, who was named the Community and Government Award winner.

Ms Mason, who says the breadth of her responsibilities is both daunting and rewarding, has extensive experience at senior levels in the Australian Public Service, including involvement in the sale of Telstra, and in investment banking in the private sector.

Tammy Garratt of TG¡'s Hair Studio in Fyshwick took out the Business Owner Award while Jennifer Wyborn, an employment and industrial relations lawyer at Clayton Utz, won the Young Business Women's Award.

Kate McKenzie, Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women's Awards Ambassador, said: "As I reflect on the achievements of the amazing women that have won these Awards over the past 20 years, I am confident that the 2014 Australian Capital Territory winners will continue to inspire the next generation.

"They embody what it means to be a Telstra Business Woman's Award winner - courageous, confident and innovative."

Ms McKenzie said Ms Kourtis was recognised for demonstrating strong business acumen and for her vision to expand her pharmacy business, its execution and the success of her new Lymphoedema clinic.

"The judges praised her successful focus on staff development and her passion for community engagement and collaborating with stakeholders in the public and private healthcare system."

The Australian Capital Territory winners now proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on 26 November.

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