Business Connect Newsletter

November 2015

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

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A photograph of the recipients of the 2015 ACT Exporter's award 

Aspen Medical named 2015 ACT Exporter of the Year

Canberra company Aspen Medical was crowned ACT Exporter of the Year at the 2015 Chief Minister’s Export Awards gala dinner held on Thursday 22 October 2015 at the National Arboretum Canberra.

One of the most prestigious events in the ACT’s annual business calendar, the Awards acknowledge the innovation, hard work and success of ACT businesses, large and small, in reaching new markets through exporting their products or services.

Aspen Medical’s motto is ‘wherever we’re needed’ and the work it undertakes in the provision of medical services anywhere in the world, certainly justifies that motto. In recent weeks Aspen Medical has opened a private clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and has commenced aero-medical evacuation and general aviation services from its base in Liberia where it serves several countries in West Africa. The company also recently launched an ambulance service in South Texas with the Chief Minister as part of the CBRUSA Trade Mission.

Aspen Medical has had numerous other key achievements over the past year, including providing primary healthcare to the Australian Federal Police on the Solomon Islands, operating a private ambulance service across the United Arab Emirates, and delivering medical training to over 10,000 military personnel in the Middle East. Aspen Medical’s export revenue grew by over 70% in the 2014–15 financial year.

Aspen has also undertaken projects with defence forces from Vietnam, the UAE, South Sudan and the UK as well as for the United Nations in Timor Leste.

“It has been an incredible year for our team at home and overseas. Our innovative service delivery has seen us successfully launch new operations in Africa, the US and Gulf region by exporting our healthcare expertise, project management skills and ‘can do’ attitude. We have also expanded our operations across the Pacific and Middle East, dramatically increasing our footprint in these regions,” said Dr Andrew Walker, Executive Chairman of Aspen Medical. Dr Walker collected the award along with co-founder and Executive Director Glenn Keys.

“We’re looking forward to representing the ACT at the national awards in Melbourne in late November,” he added.

Aspen Medical also picked up the category award for Health and Biotechnology. The full list of winners for the 2015 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards include:

  • 2015 ACT Exporter of the Year: Aspen Medical
  • Agribusiness: Inland Trading Co (Aust) Pty Ltd
  • Business Services: Noetic Group
  • Education and Training: iSimulate
  • Health and Biotechnology: Aspen Medical
  • Creative Industries: Wildbear Entertainment
  • Information and Communication Technology: DAMsmart
  • Manufacturing: Frameskin Pty Ltd
  • Online Sales: mHits Limited
  • Small Business: IE Asia Pacific Pty Ltd
  • Regional Exporter: Intelledox Pty Ltd
  • Emerging Exporter: Red Robot Pty Ltd and Cogito Group Pty Ltd (ACT only)
  • ACT Exporting Government Solutions: Royal Australian Mint (ACT only)
  • Exporting To Asia: OnTheGo Group Pty Ltd (ACT only)
  • Capital District Exporter: Shaw Vineyard Estate (ACT only)

All ACT category winners are now finalists in the 53rd Australian Export Awards which will be held in Melbourne on 27  November 2015.

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

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A photograph of the Chief Minister at the University 

Chief Minister Andrew Barr: Australia’s Space Economy

The ACT Government is seeking to promote the territory as the national hub of Australia’s space economy – creating more jobs in the knowledge economy.

The Government has already indicated its support for the further development of a world class space industry in Canberra with the announcement of $50,000 to help establish a Space Research and Innovation Hub, a key element of a broader industry cluster that would take shape at Mount Stromlo.

Canberra is fast becoming the knowledge capital of Australia – one in every nine Canberrans are either working or studying at one of our tertiary education institutions.

Becoming a hub of aeronautical research and development will allow Canberra to continue attracting and retaining researchers to our city – playing to our strengths and creating more jobs.

A 2014 report valued the space economy at US$314 billion per annum with annual growth of 8 percent per annum.

The ACT is already home to significant space infrastructure, including the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (a national facility for space environmental tests) and the EOS Laser Ranging Facility, which is used to track space debris for the Space Environment Research Centre.

The ACT Government has been working with key organisations such as ANU, UNSW Canberra and EOS Space Systems to define and project Canberra’s potential.

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IE Asia Pacific

Canberra-based small business IE Asia Pacific has signed an $12 million 5-year Export Acquisition and Labour-Hire Contract with German-based Airbus Defence & Space to facilitate the replacement of ten obsolete radar systems with the world’s newest and most powerful airport surveillance sensors, Airbus’ ASR-NG (Airport Surveillance Radar – Next Generation).

IE Asia Pacific was chosen to work with Airbus based on its demonstrated comprehensive subject matter expertise across the radar domain. The scope of work for IE Asia Pacific includes radar system transportation and installation, set-to-work and performance evaluation, provisional operator and maintenance support, provision of training to the customer, and overall site activation management.

The project will see IE Asia Pacific’s project management and technical workforce double over the next 18 months. Sustainment of the workforce will be derived through the subsequent Support Contract which will see the continued training and technical support for up to 15-years beyond 2020.

“This Contract is a coup for IE-AP after more than two years of preparation” said Director, Darren Gillam adding “our unique capabilities within a niche domain are recognised and sought after by the wider industry, including radar owners, operators, maintainers and manufacturers.”

IE Asia Pacific was established in 2009 providing niche products, services and solutions that derive quantifiable benefits including increased revenue, improved detection and safety, and reduced costs for Civil and Defence Air Traffic Management sectors. The company’s products and services maximise the performance of Radar Systems through the provision of previously unavailable quantitative analysis. This benefits Air Navigational Service Providers and Military Air Defence Organisations in maintaining the integrity of their Systems, which in turn enhances Air Traffic Control safety for the travelling public and surveillance detection for air defence.

IE Asia Pacific won the ACT Small Business Export Award in 2014 and 2015, and the 2013 ACT Exporting to Asia Award based on its ongoing successes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The company has also been supported by the ACT Government’s Trade Connect Program.

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Dilkara Essence of Australia

Dilkara Essence of Australia, a Canberra based Indigenous-owned business success story, has just accomplished a major achievement in having its products added to the Qantas in-flight shopping catalogue, InSky.

The promising partnership with the iconic Australian brand will give Dilkara greatly enhanced brand recognition and has the potential to open up significant international markets for its innovative range of Indigenous inspired hair and skin care products. Dilkara developed a whole new range of products, ‘Kata Tjuta Desert Dreaming’ as part of the challenging qualification process for the Qantas deal, inviting visitors to Australia to “Take the unique spirit of the outback home.”

Julie Okely, the founder of Dilkara is a dedicated entrepreneur within the Canberra Innovation ecosystem and support programs. Julie is a regular participant in the Canberra Innovation Network’s activities, a contributor to the ANU’s International Business Competition and in May 2015 was accepted into the Griffin Accelerator incubator program.

Committed to her Indigenous heritage, Julie sources in a sustainable manner from remote communities rare Indigenous bush extracts for her products like Kakadu Plum, Desert Quandong and Desert Lime. She is also a strong supporter of up and coming Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canberra, being a CIT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Ambassador and Committee Member. Dilkara has also achieved Fair Trade and Supply Nation certifications.

These principles were rewarded when Dilkara was named the 2015 ACT NAIDOC Indigenous Business of the year.

The ACT Government has been proud to support Julie in her entrepreneurial journey through the Innovation Connect program in 2012 and 2014 and the Trade Connect program in 2015.

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Decorative Image 

Trade Mission USA

In October Chief Minister Andrew Barr led a week-long Trade Mission to the United States. The delegation included representatives from the Canberra Business Chamber and 19 ACT businesses, with a focus on developing business opportunities for the ACT’s renewable energy and ICT industries in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas.

The trip began in San Francisco with the delegation visiting Sales Force, the company behind the world’s number one CRM platform, the Galvanise and Bootstrap co-working spaces, Yelp headquarters, and Microsoft. The Chief Minister and delegation participants also attended a round table with US companies on the renewable energies industry, as well as a luncheon with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

In Austin, the delegation were able to visit the Austin Start up Week expo, a showcase of the Austin start up community, and the SXSW Eco Exhibition, a showcase products and technologies contributing to positive social and environmental impact. The delegation also visited the Austin Innovation Centre, and the Austin Technology Council held a event to welcome the Chief Minister and the delegation.

Several key achievements on the mission were the announcements from local companies Aspen Medical, QuintessenceLabs and Seeing Machines. QuintessenceLabs, one of Australia’s most innovative science based technology companies, announced its landmark partnership with global end-to-end manufacturing services provider SMTC. Seeing Machines announced a landmark deal with construction machinery and equipment company Caterpillar, and Aspen Medical launched a 24-hour ambulance service in South Texas.

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STEM 4 Business Internship Program – Growing tomorrow’s STEM leaders today

Many of the fastest growing occupations now require skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the ACT Government is committed to attracting and developing a skilled workforce to meet this demand.

As part of this commitment, the ACT Government is offering funding to assist businesses with paid internships to local undergraduate students studying in STEM fields. Through the STEM 4 Business Internship program, grants of up to $7,500 are available to reimburse up to 75% of wages and other costs associated with offering internships of 12 weeks full-time equivalent duration.

Richard Hume, COO,, one of the grant recipients, described the benefits of the program to his business "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."  

A STEM 4 Business Intern with Nova described their experience as: “During my time at Nova my work has been almost exclusively focused on the use of digital tools to build a Network Management System for Satellite Communication. In doing so I have come to understand just how widespread computerised tools are and the extent to which they keep our daily lives running. These digital systems are vital, particularly in large scale management, and my experiences with Nova have enabled me to gain a far greater grasp on the versatility of digital systems and how they can be used to improve engineering and management practice.”

The fourth and final round is now open with funding grants available to support nine new businesses. Applications may be made at any time and will be assessed against the program criteria.

To find more and apply for funding, please visit

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Screencraft wins in Cannes

Canberra. The world's most liveable city, a short feature commissioned by Brand Canberra, has won a silver Dolphin prize at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards. The feature was produced by local ACT television and video production company Screencraft, and was commissioned to promote Canberra as a place in which to study, live, work, invest and visit.

The award was announced at a glittering gala dinner held in Cannes, France. Previous winners include films produced for brands including Audi, Volkswagen, Red Bull, Siemens, Castrol, Toyota, Deloitte, and Swarovski.   

This marks the second time Screencraft has won an award in Cannes, its first was back in 2010 when they became the first Australian company to be awarded the Silver Dolphin at the inaugural awards event.

Screencraft Managing Director Michael Fardell said “Screencraft is honoured to receive this award for our work on the Brand CBR Film,” “It was a privilege to show the unique beauty of Canberra and its people through film. Our team included Canberrans who all worked really hard to bring this project to fruition, and I am so proud of what we have collectively achieved. Canberrans should be proud of this beautiful city we call home, and I want to thank everyone who assisted us in creating this tribute to Canberra, including all of the locations that opened their doors to us. “The Brand Canberra team are a delight to work with and it is humbling that they entrusted this project to us.”

Screencraft have been strongly supported by the ACT Government which has enabled the company to travel to both Cannes and China to help build their exporting capabilities and opportunities.

Watch Canberra. The world's most liveable city short feature.

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