Business bulletin - 18 May 2017

Territory’s first innovation hub

Shot of Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Darwin University, Professor Simon Maddocks and CEO of Paspalis, Harley Paroulakis 
Photo: Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Darwin University, Professor Simon Maddocks and CEO of Paspalis, Harley Paroulakis.

Paspalis is set to deliver the Territory’s first innovation hub and start-up incubator.

Paspalis Enterprise Pty Ltd received a $500,000 grant from the Australian Government and $250,000 from the Northern Territory Government to develop the innovation hub which will be located in the Darwin mall.

The Darwin Innovation Hub will provide support services to innovative start-ups and companies operating in the Northern Territory.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the hub was expected to attract at least 75 start-ups of which 25 will go on to commercialise.

"This will result in up to 100 jobs created and direct investment of between $10-20 million," Mr Gunner said.

"The new Darwin Incubator Hub will promote our unique innovative capabilities to the world."

CEO of Paspalis, Harley Paroulakis said the focus will be on helping start-up businesses in northern Australia build their capabilities and get their products and services into international markets, especially Asia, faster.

"We will also focus on working with start-ups in industry sectors relevant to the Territory such as mining and exploration, Aboriginal business and remote health services," Mr Paroulakis said.

"Our networks and programs will ensure start-ups in our hub benefit from our commercial relationships with investors, industry experts and international organisations such as Nanyang University, the National Research Foundation of Singapore and Oxford University Innovation.

"Our start-ups will be able to collaborate and grow internationally taking advantage of what will be the best innovation ecosystem in the Northern Territory with a management team able to deliver key services and world class mentorship."

Hub facilities include state-of-the-art meeting rooms, co-working spaces and a hub café fostering a culture of collaboration and enterprise.

The Darwin Innovation Hub is a partnership between Paspalis, the Northern Territory Government and Charles Darwin University.

NT business connecting tradies with customers

Shot of John Atkin and Craig Barrett from QuotesNT presenting their new website
Photo: John Atkin and Craig Barrett from QuotesNT

Territory businesses and tradies looking to maximise their online presence and attract new customers can do so with ease when they sign up to online trade directory, QuotesNT.

QuotesNT is a modern online marketplace connecting local businesses with customers who need a quote for a job from catering to gardening to all things trade related.

Director of QuotesNT, John Atkin said the system is designed to do two things; to provide an online presence for Territory businesses and to take the leg work out of calling and chasing up multiple quotes and pricing for the work customers need done.

"As a QuotesNT customer you have easy access to a range of service providers; you can request as many quotes as you need in as many areas as you like.

"For businesses, we cater for those who just want a free listing to help boost their search engine results making it easier for customers to find them.

"We also provide a range of services for businesses wanting additional marketing support and the benefit of having quotes delivered straight to their inbox. Also, following feedback from current registered businesses, there are no longer any commission fees."

Over the past 18 months more than 200 businesses have utilised the QuotesNT platform, with the majority of customers based in Darwin and a number in Katherine and Alice Springs.

"We can see from customer requests that there is a high demand for work to be carried out in Alice Springs and Katherine; we strongly recommend any local trades and businesses in those areas to join the QuotesNT family, even just with a free listing," Mr Atkin said.

Local businesses and tradies doing work through Northern Territory Government programs like the Home Renovation Grant and the Home Improvement Scheme can optimise their search results by registering with QuotesNT

"QuotesNT will provide all current Home Improvement Scheme registered businesses with a free listing in the QuotesNT directory which will ensure they can be easily found by customers even after the scheme has wrapped up."

For more information or to sign up to to the QuotesNT website

Trade delegation explores new market

Group shot of NT delegation to the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo 

A Northern Territory trade delegation has spent this week exploring a potential service and supply market in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Northern Territory delegation, headed by the Chamber of Commerce NT, participated in the 33rd Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo.

The biannual forum brings together leaders in the PNG economy as well as various multinational and Australian companies that operate in PNG.

"The forum provided a strategic opportunity for us to work with other Chambers from Cairns and Townsville and the Northern Territory Government to promote the natural synergies for economic development that exist between northern Australia and PNG,” said Greg Bicknell, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce NT.

PNG currently have one operational LNG plant and a final investment decision on a second plant is expected in late 2018.

There is also potential to increase trade ties with PNG via Darwin’s regular and direct outbound shipping link with Port Moresby.

Executive Director for the Office of Asian Engagement Trade and Investment, Jeff Stewart said "There is potential for Territory businesses and companies to be involved in PNG, particularly the resource sector where NT industry has expertise in the supply service and oil and gas sector."

"Events like this are important, they can help diversity international source markets for NT industry, particularly the supply and service sector.

"The forum was a great opportunity for the delegation to better understand the PNG economy, make contact with industry leaders and identify opportunities that benefit the NT business sector," Mr Stewart said.

Buying your first home made easier

View of houses in a street 

More than 450 Territorians have purchased their own home with support from the First Home Buyer Scheme.  

The Northern Territory Government introduced the First Home Buyer scheme last year, to increase the assistance available to first home buyers.

The scheme provides an almost $24,000 stamp duty discount for first home buyers of an established home; and a grant of up to $26,000 for eligible first home buyers of a new home.

Homeowners are also taking advantage of the $10,000 renovation grant for first home buyers of established homes. More than 250 applications have been received from homeowners wanting to renovate their bathroom or kitchen, paint their home or add further value to their property.

The homeowner of an established property is also able to use up to $2,000 of the $10,000 grant towards household goods. The $2,000 household goods grant also applies to first home buyers purchasing or building new homes.

To ensure there is maximum benefit for the Territory, local businesses need to be used for the renovations and the purchase of household goods. So far, more than $2 million in work has been generated from the Home Renovation Grants.

For more information on the support available go to the First Home Scheme website

Public housing repairs funding boost

Tradesmen carrying pipework 

Small Territory trade businesses have already won around $4 million worth of work to repair and maintain urban public houses as part of the Immediate Work Stimulus Program announced late last year. 

The Northern Territory Government announced an addition $5 million for urban public housing repairs in Budget 2017, taking the total investment in the program to $10 million.

The program is designed to boost the construction industry, support local businesses and jobs, and provide repairs and upgrades to urban public housing.

Work under the stimulus includes upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, disability modifications, roof replacements, and fence repairs.

Since registrations opened in February, 236 orders have been placed with tradies in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs to refurbish public housing.

Darwin tradie Adam Small said the $5 million stimulus had given him a foot in the door following the award of a job to refurbish a public house in Malak. 

It is his first job for government following registration for the scheme.

Mr Small’s work, including a kitchen upgrade, had significantly improved the amenity of the house for a new tenant and he encouraged other businesses to apply for the scheme. There is $1 million left in the current scheme, before the next $5 million rolls out from 1 July 2017.

For more information call (08) 8999 7969 or go to the Department of Housing and Community Development website

Think big. Make it happen! Skills, Employment and Careers Expo 2017

Last updated: 18 May 2017