Business bulletin - 11 October 2018

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Creating the right climate for innovation

Man talking into mic

The Territory’s best and brightest ideas have been put to the test during the inaugural Croc Pitch event.

Over the course of the day around 30 entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs pitched their innovation and business ideas, but it was Darwin based business SolFlow who came out on top.

SolFlow specialise in the development of Solar PV Direct technology, products and solutions for home and business.

SolFlow’s technology draws upon solar power when the sun is shining, then transitions to mains power when it’s cloudy or at night saving you money off your energy bill.

Owner Keith Jury moved to the Territory from Adelaide six years ago to start his business.

“I decided to come to Darwin, the harshest climate testing ground that we can possibly offer, if our technology can survive Darwin, it can survive anywhere,” he said.

The $100,000 first prize, which includes a $50,000 Northern Territory Government Business Innovation Supports Initiatives (BISI) grant will go towards development of their pool pump system, which includes an inbuilt chlorinator and automatic backwash system controlled by an app.

Keith will now go on to pitch his idea at StartCons National Pitch Competition for a chance at a $1 million investment.

Second place was awarded to Amy Page with Belly Bunker, an inflatable pregnancy bed with a belly hole which embraces pregnant mother and protects the baby.

Third place was awarded to Mobi a ride sharing app that will allow people heading in the same direction the ability to connect with each other.

Croc Pitch is part of October Business Month’s Innovation Week, which includes workshops, events and activities designed to unlock innovative thinking and grow our entrepreneurial talent.

The Northern Territory Government’s Business Innovation Strategy was also launched as part of Innovation Week.

Innovation is a key lever to accelerate economic growth, driving Territory businesses to be more competitive, profitable and sustainable.

The strategy aims to ignite, inspire and intensify a culture of innovation among Territory businesses.

Some of the key actions from the strategy that are already underway include:

  • the world-class Business Acceleration Program
  • an Innovator in Residence program to provide Territory innovators and businesses access to expert mentoring
  • BISI grants - helping businesses undertake research and development which could lead to new products, processes or services
  • a bigger and better Innovation Week to inspire innovative thinking.

For more information or to view the strategy go to innovation.nt.gov.au

Navigating the digital age for business

Headshot of Gus Balbontin

Gus Balbontin wants to help Northern Territory business not only survive the digital revolution but thrive in the new age.

He is renowned as a big thinker who insists entrepreneurs shouldn’t let 'life’s hurdles' get in the way of succeeding.

Gus is the keynote speaker at the Katherine Business Dinner, which is part of October Business Month, the highlight of the Northern Territory (NT) business calendar organised by the NT Government’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.

His knowledge and expertise in transformation and digital innovation has been described as 'genuinely impressive'.

And he has an encouraging message: small business is not alone - even the biggest companies struggle.

His messages applies to all businesses of all sizes.

Gus knew at eight years old that he would travel the world.

At 17, he earned a travel scholarship that led him to Byron Bay - and then journeyed more than 40,000kms through South America without spending a cent.

He eventually landed a dream job at Lonely Planet, the world’s best-known travel guide, and became executive director.

Gus led one of the most loved brands in the world through significant transformation as the entire media industry endures the disruption of the internet. It was a revolution few saw coming.

Argentine-born Gus is today involved in the start-up scene - as a founder, investor and advisor.

He runs a small boutique design and innovation agency called Roshambo and is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Victoria University.

Gus has worked with some of the biggest companies in the world, including Google X, Nokia, Apple and Amazon, developing cutting-edge technology and products.

Territory Success Story Kym and Shaun Cairns from Cairns Industries will join Gus at the Katherine Business Dinner on Saturday 13 October from 6pm to 11pm at Ibis Styles Hotel. Cost is $100 (includes a three-course meal and drinks package).

For more information and to register go to obm.nt.gov.au

Territory’s top exporters get innovative

Man standing beside medical equipment

A company working towards combating a potentially deadly infection has won a prestigious innovation award.

Gessit picked up the Industry Innovation Award at the Northern Territory Export and Industry Awards in Darwin last month.

The award was sponsored by the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.

Gessit is developing HealthElink, a cloud-based chronic disease e-health platform that helps to increase the uptake of treatment for hepatitis C.

HealthElink is a communication tool for patients, their GP and specialists to create an individualised treatment plan, and manage patients with electronic referrals and prescriptions, patient scheduling and reminders.

It helps the co-management of chronic diseases between GPs and specialists, enabling a GP to treat hepatitis C in the community, hence bypassing hospital waitlists and minimising stigma.

If successful, this model could be used to manage other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Gessit received a Business Innovation Support Initiatives grant from the NT Government to develop the tool.

The grants, which are administered by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, help businesses undertake research and development that could lead to new products, processes or services.

Under the program, an innovation voucher provides up to 60% support for eligible projects; each voucher is worth up to $25,000 exclusive of GST.

Monsoon Aquatics, which sells live coral and tropical fish overseas, was named Exporter of the Year at the awards ceremony.

The company, which was established by scientist Daniel Kimberley in 2008, has an Aquarium Fishing Licence to collect sustainably coral and marine fish, land hermit crabs and an extensive range of clams and marine invertebrates for the Australian wholesale market and international export market.

A full list of the winners can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website

Aboriginal Contracting Framework update

Man talking at workshop

The development of the Aboriginal Contracting Framework has entered the next phase, with further consultations kicking off this month.

The project team travelled across the Territory earlier this year to hear Territorian’s ideas about the Aboriginal Contracting Framework.

During the first round of consultations over 500 engagements were undertaken with government, business, industry, non-government organisations and Aboriginal stakeholders, with the team hosting 32 workshops.

In addition to face-to face engagements, 25 written submissions were received through the ‘Have Your Say’ website.

The response from stakeholders was very positive and policy options have been developed based on these initial consultations. The team will now re-visit key community and industry representatives across the Territory to test and refine these options.

Supporting Aboriginal job opportunities will benefit the Territory by growing the local economy, increasing business and economic development, and supporting the local workforce.

For more information and to provide feedback on the policy options go to acf.nt.gov.au

Draft Environmental Protection Bill - have your say

Aerial view of Darwin City

Territory businesses and industry stakeholders are invited to have their say on the Northern Territory Government’s Draft Environmental Protection Bill.

The Northern Territory Government is overhauling the current environmental regulatory system. Reforms are critical to achieving a robust regulatory system that the community will trust while encouraging industry investment and economic growth.

Stage one will address reforms to the environmental impact assessment system. This is to ensure those projects that have the potential to impact the environment are appropriately assessed.

The reform will also address the transformation of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act into a fully functioning Environment Protection Act, which will include provisions for the environmental regulation of the mining industry.

The consultation period is open until 3 December 2018.

If you would like more information or to provide input into the draft Bill go to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website

Gus Balbontin, OBM Katherine Business Dinner, 13 October 2018

Last updated: 12 October 2018