Business Connect Newsletter

October 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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Winners of the 2014 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards announced

Canberra business Red Robot has been recognised for its innovation and growth in design and manufacturing single operator photo booths by winning the 2014Canberra BusinessPoint Business of the Year award.

Red Robot, who has received support through the ACT Government’s Innovation Connect program, designs and manufactures Australia’s first fully commercial, portable, single operator Photo Booths. They are bridging the gap between photos, social media and big brands with their innovative approach to business.

Finalists and winners in the 2014 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards were announced across six categories which recognise both the diversity of start-ups and existing firms in the ACT and the innovation, effective business planning and potential of these enterprises.

The winners in each category were:

  • Web and Mobile – Imagine Team
  • Clean and Green – Pure Pod
  • Bricks and Mortar – Capital Self Storage
  • Creative and Design – Tatts On Tatts Off
  • Micro-enterprise – Canberra Region Premium Tours
  • High growth – Red Robot

Chris Faulks, CEO of the Canberra Business Council, and Anna Pino, CEO of the Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, said the high standard of entries in this year’s Awards is very encouraging for the future of business in Canberra.

“The Canberra BusinessPoint Awards this year once again demonstrate that the ACT is an excellent incubator of successful small businesses” said Ms Pino.

Co-founder of Red Robot, Phil Preston, who said “The Canberra BusinessPoint program helped us crystalise what we wanted to achieve and what markets we wanted to commit to”.

Canberra BusinessPoint offers practical advice and support for both existing businesses and those intending to start a business in Canberra.  Through mentoring programs and one-on-one consultations, Canberra BusinessPoint provides tailored and specific advice, allowing local businesses to reach their full potential.

To find out more visit the Canberra BusinessPoint website External Link - opens in new window.

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Canberra based accelerator participants pitch to investors

The five teams participating in Canberra start-up accelerator program GRIFFIN Accelerator presented to investors in Sydney and Canberra late September, generating substantial investor interest.

On Tuesday 23 September the teams pitched to Sydney based investors at ATP Innovations, who partnered with the Canberra mentors to run the accelerator program. From an audience of over 45, mostly potential investors, all five teams received genuine initial interest from investors.

The following day the teams pitched in Canberra to an audience of over 60 people in a joint event with Capital Angels and again received strong interest. That week teams received 46 expressions of interest, plus made additional contacts during post-pitch networking.

In both venues the audience overwhelmingly voted that the quality of the pitches exceeded their expectations.

GRIFFIN mentor and investor Dr Craig Davis said “We are delighted at the level of initial interest the companies are getting from investors. We feel we found five great teams and the accelerator added real value, but we’re astonished to have all five teams doing so well. Syndicates are forming but it’s not too late for investors who couldn’t make the presentations to get on board.”

Forty teams applied to GRIFFIN accelerator and through a competitive process the best five were selected. After 3 months intensive work guided by the GRIFFIN mentors, all five teams have real customer traction, are making rapid progress and are ready for investment. The teams are presenting their business to investors seeking Angel or Seed investment.

The five teams are:

Enabled Employment: External Link - opens in new window
Enabled employment enables employers to utilise a huge untapped talent pool of Australians living with a disability using telework technology to remove barriers.

Made for Me: External Link - opens in new window is a marketplace connecting designers, local manufacturers, and consumers who want unique, made to order 3D printed designs.

Quizling: External Link - opens in new window
Quizling is taking the ‘quick quiz’ and building a social-gaming platform to engage learners across the  classroom and across the world. With enterprise level analytics and privacy management, Quizling is the complete platform for learning.

Symberra: External Link - opens in new window
Symberra is a cloud-based data analytics platform that specialises in large-scale data modelling and simulations. Our optimised data storage and simulation algorithms enable domain experts to gain in-depth insights from big data in a fraction of the time required today.

Snapknock: External Link - opens in new window
Facebook for Auctions - with a motto “Social Local Fast”, Snapknock is the only pre-loved belonging buy and sell platform built with social in mind from ground up. With emphasis on people, not items or businesses, Snapknock takes social commerce to the next stage.

3 of the participating teams, Made for Me, Quizzing and Enabled Employment, have also received support through the ACT Government's Innovation Connect program.

The GRIFFIN Accelerator program is being run in collaboration with Ignition Labs part of ATP Innovations. Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations said “We are delighted to be able to support the first accelerator program to be run in Canberra. There is a terrific group of mentors who have committed their time and expertise. We are now looking forward to seeing these five companies go on to become significant commercial enterprises”.

Jessica May from Enabled Employment said “we are very excited to be making so much progress already filling jobs and growing so fast. The positive response from investors is a dream come true and we’re ready to start detailed discussions about how we’re going to grow this business even more rapidly”.

The GRIFFIN Accelerator program is being run with assistance from the ACT Government and has broad support from a wide variety of organisations including: ANU Connect Ventures, ATP Innovations, The Australian National University, Australian Capital Ventures Limited, Capital Angels, CollabIT, CSIRO, eGov Cluster, Entry 29, Lighthouse, NICTA and the University of Canberra.

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Legal assistance for local small businesses

Canberra small businesses can now access free legal advice through a new service. Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, said the new legal advice clinic would make sure small business had the support they need.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and operators work hard, juggling customers and paperwork on a daily basis," Mr Corbell said.

"The ACT Government wants to make sure they have the right support, information and tools available to them to continue to innovate.

"I am pleased to see an initiative that will help small business owners address some of the legal issues they face."

The University of Canberra, the Legal Aid Commission ACT and private legal practitioners will work together to offer a free service, providing a 30 minute consultation on legal areas most important to small business.

"Some of these may include contract, debt recovery, litigation and dispute resolution, employment and industrial law, business and commercial law and many others.

"Lawyers from firms who have particular expertise in small business matters will volunteer their time and work with final year law students, who will also be able to conduct research on client matters."

The aim of the clinic is to put small business owners in touch with experienced lawyers who will provide initial oral advice during the consultation.

"This will provide guidance to small business owners on how to resolve their legal issues in what can otherwise be a difficult to navigate environment," Mr Corbell said.

"Small business is an integral part of the economic landscape, and we want to make sure Canberra business owners have the information they need to innovate, grow and succeed."

The clinics will be held each Thursday afternoon at ACT Legal Aid Offices, 2 Allsop Street, Canberra. An appointment can be made by calling the Legal Aid Commission Helpline on 1300 654 314.

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Local e-commerce business expands into Asia

Canberra-based e-commerce business eWAY has expanded into Asia, launching its merchant platform in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Founder and CEO of eWAY, Matt Bullock said “E-commerce in Asia is growing at a phenomenal rate, and merchants need better options. Everyone is looking for convenience, self-service or a person to help them through the process for online commerce, depending on their needs. eWAY provides all these options for merchants”. Read more in the Herald Sun’s article Local payment pioneer launches into Asia External Link - opens in new window.

eWAY was founded in Canberra in 1998. Since that time the company has processed 110 million transactions worth A$15 billion for more than 16,000 businesses. They have also been recognised within the ACT business community, previously winning the ICT award at the 2011 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards.

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White Paper on Defence

The Commonwealth Government has begun developing a White Paper on Defence to inform its long-term defence policy settings and capability; reflecting overall strategic, national security, fiscal and broader policy priorities.

To inform the White Paper, the Department of Defence has released an Issues Paper for public consultation until 29 October 2014.The Issues Paper and details on how to make a submission are available at External Link - opens in new window.

The defence sector plays a significant role in the ACT economy. Businesses with an interest in the defence sector are encouraged to make a submission.

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Home grown innovators give $1 million gift to ANU

On 10 September 2014, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced a $1 million philanthropic donation by Intelledox co-founders Michelle Melbourne and Phillip Williamson to the Australian National University.

"Intelledox is an exemplar of Canberra's many home-grown innovative ICT businesses. This significant donation represents the bringing together of two very important drivers of our economy, the higher education and research sector, and dynamic technology-intensive companies," the Chief Minister said.

"The unique gift of $1m worth of Infinity software will not only assist the ANU to work more efficiently, but will also provide an excellent opportunity to showcase Intelledox's software to a much larger audience.

"The true value of this in-kind gift will continue to grow over time with longer-term cost savings and reductions in workloads expected," Ms Gallagher said.

Intelledox is a Canberra-based award-winning digitalisation software company founded by ANU alumni Michelle Melbourne and Phillip Williamson. The organisation has 35 staff with offices in Singapore, Toronto, New York and London, and a user base of more than one million.

Canberra is ideally placed to be a leading innovative and digital city, demonstrated through ACT Government initiatives including the CBR Innovation Network and the Digital Canberra Action Plan.

"Intelledox is very much the product of knowledge creation and talent development that Canberra, and the ANU, is very good at.

"The announcement is not only welcome for its generosity and the signal it sends to the business community of the importance of philanthropy, but it also represents the goals that the ACT Government is setting for the CBR Innovation Network," the Chief Minister said.

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events in October 2014

2014 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards Ceremony
ACT Exporters’ Network
Date: Tuesday 14 October 2014
Find out more about the 2014 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards Ceremony External Link - opens in new window

Women in Global Business Speaker Series 2014
Engaging with developed Asia: Free Trade Agreements demystified
Women in Global Business
Date: Friday 17 October 2014
Find out more about the Women in Global Business Speaker Series 2014 External Link - opens in new window

Canberra International Riesling Challenge Awards Presentation
Canberra International Riesling Challenge
Date: Friday 17 October 2014
Find out more about the Canberra International Riesling Challenge Awards Presentation External Link - opens in new window

ACT Telstra Women’s Business Awards
Date: Tuesday 28 October 2014
Find out more about the ACT Telstra Women’s Business Awards External Link - opens in new window

Business Fundamentals workshop
Canberra BusinessPoint
Date: Wednesday 29 October 2014
Find out more about the Business Fundamentals workshop External Link - opens in new window