Forum for Accelerating Research and Innovation in NSW draws enthusiastic support

WESTERN SYDNEY University today hosted, in partnership with NSW State Member for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton, the industry forum, Accelerating Research and Innovation in NSW, at its Parramatta City campus.

The forum is part of a collaborative campaign to drive innovation and research commercialisation in New South Wales.

With rates of disruption and change accelerated by the shift to digital and the post-pandemic economy, the NSW Premier launched in January 2021, the NSW Action Plan for Accelerating Research and Development (R&D).

The plan was guided by an Advisory Council, chaired by David Gonski AC, with membership drawn from the business, investment, startup and tertiary education sectors.  

The Plan’s five Priority Actions are to: Launch a Small Business Innovation Research program; boost ‘open data’ from government so businesses can make better decisions; turbocharge precincts to attract technology industries and investment; target strategic support for NSW universities; and establish an R&D matchmaking platform. 

Western Sydney University’s vice-chancellor and president, Barney Glover, joined a panel of experts chaired by NUW Alliance chief operating officer, Jane Reynaud. The panel also included Sarah Hill (CEO of Western Sydney Parkland Authority), Emma Johnston (dean of science at UNSW) and Rebecca Pham (accelerator manager, Launch Pad at Western Sydney University).

“NSW is emerging strongly from the pandemic, and is in a prime position to invest in translating innovations into practical solutions that address collaboratively identified challenges," Professor Glover said.

“This plan is an excellent platform on which to capitalise on that opportunity.”

Ms Upton, who apart from being the State Member for Vaucluse, is the Parliament Secretary to the Premier, led the development of the Action Plan and shared her vision for turning the plan’s priorities into commercialised products and services that benefit the people of NSW.

“On 1 June 2021 we launched the Action Plan’s first priority – the $24 million Small Business Innovation Research Program calling on SMEs to bring forward innovative ideas to solve discrete government agency problems. This is just the start of the rollout of the Plan’s priorities”, Ms Upton said. 

To find out more, visit the Accelerating R&D in NSW Action Plan website.

www.westernsydney.edu.au

 

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Coles Nurture Fund backs Addison Road Community Centre efforts

THE ADDISON ROAD Community Centre in Sydney’s inner west will be one of the first charities in Australia to establish a ‘zero waste, zero emissions’ kitchen for rescued food thanks to a grant from the Coles Nurture Fund. 

Located in Marrickville, the new commercial kitchen will run entirely on solar energy and close the loop on rescued food by making ready-to-eat meals from food donated by SecondBite and Coles. The meals will then be distributed to disadvantaged people in Sydney's inner west.

Addison Road Community Organisation CEO Rosanna Barbero welcomed the $165,000 grant from Coles to fit out the new commercial kitchen and install solar panels for her organisation.  

“With the support of Coles, the Addison Road Community organisation will achieve a zero waste, zero emissions food rescue program," Ms Barbero said. "The winners are the people and the planet. We will show Australia and beyond that it can be done, creating jobs and training opportunities, one community at a time." 

Addison Road is an independent, community-based charity that has been operating since 1976, providing food and services for disadvantaged people in Sydney's inner west and beyond. Through Coles’ partnership with national food rescue organisation SecondBite, Addison Road Community Organisation receives and redistributes unsold food donations from local Coles stores to help feed those in need.

Coles state general manager for New South Wales, Ivan Slunjski said he was delighted to see the Nurture Fund award support great sustainability initiatives for small organisations like Addison Road.

“The Coles Nurture Fund was set up to support new, innovative practices, processes and technologies and we’ve been delighted with the calibre of recent applications,"  Mr Slunjski said. "At a time when providing food to people in need across Australia is so important due to the flow-on effect of COVID-19, we’re delighted to support Addison Road Community Centre.

“At Coles, we want to win together with Australian communities to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia. By helping to fund initiatives which increase local production and enhance the environment, we aim to drive generational sustainability in Australia.”

Federal Member for Grayndler and Federal Labor Party Leader, Anthony Albanese, welcomed the investment to his local community.

“Thank you to Coles for the great initiative that is ‘The Coles Nurture Fund’.  Addison Road Community Centre is the ideal recipient for this award,” Mr Albanese said.

“Addison Road, under the leadership of CEO Rosanna Barbero, continues to lead the way in ensuring that genuine community needs are met whilst considering the effect on the planet and the future.  I am always inspired by the spirit and energy that drives so many good results for the most disadvantaged in our society.  This is a great project.”

Since it was established in 2015, the Coles Nurture Fund has provided financial support to over 60 Australian businesses to help them introduce innovative technology, improve sustainability, establish new products and drive productivity.

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Caption: Celebrating the new Coles initiatives supporting the Addison Road Community Centre's work are (from left) Coles Marrickville store manager Chris Cauchi, Coles Regional Manager NSW Sheraz Rasool, Addison Road Community Centre Organisation CEO Rosanna Barbero, Federal Member for Grayndler NSW and Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese, SecondBite chairman Julian Martin and Coles state manager for NSW Ivan Slunjski.

Adora Handmade Chocolates taste sweet expansion

ADORA Handmade Chocolates has one of the most remarkable backstories of any Australian confectionery maker.

Adora started out as a simple home-made chocolates business in 1993, designed to make some extra money for sisters Tina Angelidis and Katerina Stavropoulos, as they supported their partners in raising their families. Over a quarter century later, the business has developed in both size and brand reputation to be poised for steady expansion. 

“Over time, the business has had to be the main income for both families,” director Tina Angelidis said. “Now the children have grown, the business has taken on another phase. We now can see the potential beyond just an income and would like to explore the possibilities.”

And those possibilities seem ripe for the picking, right now, for Adora Handmade Chocolates.

ADORA COMES OF AGE

Over the past few years, consequently, the Adora leadership team has focused on laying the groundwork for expansion – and this has rapidly paid off.

First came the decision to install new equipment and restructure Adora’s manufacturing site, a couple of years ago, supplying a broad range of customers and four Adora Cafes in Sydney’s CBD, Earlwood, Parramatta and Newtown.

“Significant technologies and systems introduced include ordering systems, purchasing, stock management, and making accountability more visible,” Ms Angelidis said.

But perhaps most rewarding was the relocation of Adora’s original Earlwood store.

“After 22 years in Homer Street, last year we relocated our Earlwood store to 118 Wardell Rd Earlwood, corner of Bass St,” Ms Angelidis said. “It was a big step for us, but we were able to relocate our business of 25 years to a new location and, at the same time, increase sales immediately.”

Ms Angelidis said she learned to “never underestimate or overestimate people’s potential”.

Furthermore, incentive rewards have successfully been introduced for staff at all levels.

MEETING GROWTH CHALLENGES

The company’s financial turnaround over the past year has been solid and confident, as a result of Adora’s innovative but measured approach. That seems even more remarkable in a retail environment that is rife with challenges.

“Currently the chocolate café industry has suffered due to the high rents, high staff costs and increasing costs from food suppliers,” Ms Angelidis said. “We have had to try to renegotiate all areas more regularly.” 

An area that needs special attention, Ms Angelidis and her leadership team agree – because it has such a negative effect on the retail cost of products – is the hurdle of payroll tax, often described by economists as a ‘tax on employment’.

“Payroll tax must be addressed for the hospitality industry,” Ms Angelidis said. “The industry hardly allows you to grow the business, pay staff correctly and still make a profit.”

Another challenge has been the quest to use more sustainable and ethical products, creating some logistical challenges.

“We are also using more and more natural ingredients in all our products,” she said, mentioning its impact on the bottom line.

Indeed, the public has reacted enthusiastically to all Adora product innovations so far. 

For 2019 and beyond, Tina Angelidis’s primary goals are to consolidate the manufacturing with the retail “in order to build the business to a more profitable and sustainable model and replicate thereafter”.

“I want Adora Handmade Chocolates to be a recognised, reputable and sustainable business,” Ms Angelidis said.

With that solid foundation – hand-built by sisters Tina and Katerina from the ground up, over 25 years – Adora Handmade Chocolates continues to innovate and foment ever-more heavenly chocolate experiences.

www.adora.com.au

 

Adora Handmade Chocolates 

Best-known brands: Adora Café, Adora Signature Truffles made with natural ingredients, Special Order chocolates and Hampers, Handmade High Tea, Chocolate Classes as team building for clients or colleagues 

Adora Handmade Chocolates operates across the manufacturing and hospitality industries, and is led by director Tina Angelidis.

Adora has one manufacturing site and four retail and café outlets across Sydney, with a total of 24 staff.

Awards: Adora’s chocolates have won many awards at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Adora has also been awarded Business of the Year for the Canterbury region.

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Ocular Robotics envisions the future

AUSTRALIAN company Ocular Robotics has been recognised as a ‘game changer’ organisation in the global robotics revolution.

Ocular Robotics, a New South Wales Leaders alumni member, was presented with the Next Generation Game Changer Award at the 2015 RoboBusiness Conference in Silicon Valley, California. 

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Hargraves Institute backs Public Sector Innovation awards.

THE ORGANISATION that has been inciting Australian innovation since 2006 – the Hargraves Institute named after aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave – is now focused on helping public sector to transform.

The Hargraves Institute is backing the Australian Public Sector Innovation Awards in an effort to assist in the innovative development of public administration. Allan Ryan.

“The Public Sector Innovation Awards aims to recognise, celebrate and share innovative approaches to public administration,” Hargraves Institute CEO Allan Ryan said.

“The benefits of innovation to the APS (Australian Public Sector) is to engage everybody in problem solutions,” Mr Ryan said. “Engaging everybody gives the maximum opportunity to get the best ideas. (It is to) get many ideas and for the best of many ideas to be implemented.”

He said it was all about recognising innovation and fostering a culture that supports and celebrates people and agencies doing things differently.

“This means that an innovative APS is a high performing APS, because everybody at every level is engaged in the outcomes desired.”

Since it was founded on July 1, 2006, the Hargraves Institute has become a beacon for bringing through innovation in various sectors of Australian business, education and now public administration.

It is as unique as its namesake, who was an inventor – the man who developed box kites and gliders and whose experiment in wing warping are believed to have helped the Wright Brothers make their powered flight breakthrough in 1903 – who believed in sharing his ideas and findings with the scientific world.

Hargrave’s principle of sharing and collaboration to advance knowledge is the corner stone of Hargraves Institute.

There were 12 leading Australian organisations who formed the original Hargraves Institute Advisory Council.

The aims were many, all based on inciting innovation throughout Australian enterrpise and society. The concept of the members was to be part of the collection of the country’s best innovators; and  to “learn how to be more innovative through the collective experience of the group”.

The original 12 were Aristocrat Technologies Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, BlueScope Steel, Boeing Australia, Caltex Australia Petroleum, Cerebos (Australia), Cochlear, George Weston Technologies, Jacobs Australia, Mars Food Australia, Roche Products and Westpac Banking Corporation.

The Hargraves Institute is a NSW Leaders Industry Partner.

www.hargraves.com.au

 

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Copyright Agency assists Isentia

NEW South Wales Leaders executive member The Copyright Agency has struck a landmark rights agreement with leading Asia-Pacific media intelligence group, Isentia, that will both improve access to Australian online and print content and protect its publishers.

The Copyright Agency has announced it will use this agreement as the basis for “negotiating with all other online and print media content aggregators in Australia to ensure a level playing field and fair compensation to publishers for the use of their content”. 

While the agreement delivers significant client benefits to Isentia clients, it fundamentally helps Australian print and online publishers to invest in quality journalism and the development of content creation programs, with an assurance that they will be paid for its re-use.

The Copyright Agency’s CEO, Adam Suckling said “This agreement provides Isentia with a flexible and innovative licensing solution for its clients and ensures a revenue stream to publishers for use of their content so that they can keep producing high-quality journalism.

“The key publishers that the Copyright Agency represents publish great journalism and analysis which is expensive to produce. The revenue that flows from the new agreement makes a contribution to sustaining outstanding publishing, journalism and analysis in Australia.”

Under the new copyright agreement, Isentia will now provide clients with immediate access to media intelligence drawn from the millions of stories produced each year by Australia’s leading publishers of quality journalism including Fairfax, News Corp Australia, Bauer Media, Western Australian Newspapers and APN.

The media content licensed under the new agreement covers Australia’s most popular digital sites, newspapers and magazines, which reach a combined audience of close to 17 million Australians – about 94 percent of the adult population – and have greater influence and client impact than any other medium in Australia.

Under the new agreement the parties have agreed to significantly enhance the value provided to Isentia’s clients, who will now have retention and access to tailored online and print media content for a full 12 months – up from 180 days – providing Isentia’s clients with a fully searchable, 12-month archive of stories and business intelligence that is compiled on the basis of what is of critical importance to them.

Isentia clients will also now have real-time access to all stories as they are published, lifting a previous 4am embargo on some publications. For the first time clients will get immediate access to stories published across every major publication in Australia, Mr Suckling said.

Another key change is the significant increase in the number of people who are licensed to receive media items in a company, so relevant media items can now be shared with more people within an organisation. 

 

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Isentia chief executive John Croll said the new Copyright Agency agreement recognised the increasingly complex media environment that Isentia’s clients navigate.

“This new agreement ensures our clients will receive high quality content from all the key publishers in Australia,” Mr Croll said. “No matter where a story breaks, Isentia will have the access and the rights to supply our clients with real-time, relevant information. The new copyright agreement also provides significant improvements for clients in the length of the archive and the number of internal users who can access the information.”

www.copyright.com.au

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Women on Boards offer impactful advice

WOMEN on Boards (WoB) has developed into one of the most effective organisations in Australia in improving board – and hence company – performance.

Not only does WoB assist women to achieve board and leadership roles – under a model that is strategic, systematic and repeatable – WoB also assists organisations looking to achieve greater gender balance on their boards. WoB has proven over and over again that more diverse boards are more effective boards.

WoB practices what it preaches and has been operating as a successfully growing company with a social purpose since 2006, and is associated with the UK-based Women on Boards global organisation.

“Our governance model evolved after four years of work under the auspices of a well-regarded national women’s organisation and volunteers,” WoB chair Ruth Medd said. 

“There is a great deal of material published about the business benefits of a more gender balanced board. For boards that have used the traditional ‘who do we know’ approach, the question is how to tap into a wider pool of candidates.”

Ms Medd said board recruitment has moved from recruiting people with an interest in the organisation to people with ‘wanted skills’.

The key to success for many organisations has come out of an initial exercise to review the skills of a current board “and to look at the skills needed for the 21st century” Ms Medd said.

“Traditionally board appointments were made from the network of existing board members,” Ms Medd said. “Over time this has evolved to the use of executive search firms and/or public advertising. Both options can be expensive.  

“You may not wish to spend $20,000-plus recruiting a director when other options are available.”

WoB and other executive-search organisations offer web based options, with WoB obviously specialising in females who are both existing and aspiring board members.

“WoB offers its services anywhere and, almost, anytime with access to 35,000 members across 85 countries, principally Australia and the UK,” Ms Medd said.

While specialised skills and networks for a particular industry may be useful, Ms Medd said WoB recommended companies look for board members who, as a minimum, have the following generic skills:
Corporate  Governance understanding and experience;

Financial expertise suitable for the size and complexity of the organisation;

Senior experience in the sector where the organisation operates or a related sector.

She said these skills should be supplemented by the ‘board skills deficits’ the company has identified, including risk management expertise; communications and marketing experience; and an understanding of digital trends and social media.

Women on Boards is a 2015 Executive Member of NSW Leaders.

www.womenonboards.net

 

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