WOMEN in South Melbourne and surrounding communities have for the past year discovered women's networking to be one of the most valuable marketing tools for strengthening business contacts and connections, through the expanding Heart Link Network. Another new Victorian Heart Link Network group has started at Essendon, growing the organisation to 19 in Victoria and beyond 200 locations worldwide.

Image
The Heart Link Network is very upfront about helping professional women develop their businesses.

 

The Heart Link Network has also opened up chapters on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Dubbo in New South Wales and in Walkley Heights in South Australia. Most other groups are in the Americas, with a handful spread across the globe including Indonesia and Malaysia, at this stage.

The Heart Link Network group in Essendon is led by Helen Bozikis, a manager with SendOutCards.

“It is a great honour and privilege to serve as a Heart Link Women's Networking leader for Essendon, Victoria Australia, providing women entrepreneurs a wonderful opportunity to showcase, grow and strengthen their businesses while supporting other women to do the same,” Ms Bozikis said.  
The Heart Link Network was created in the US by Dawn L Billings, an executive coach and sought-after prsenter.  
A psychology and personality expert, and author of more than 20 books, Ms Billings was selected as one of the US’s 80 emerging women leaders by Oprah magazine and The White House Project. 
One year after launching The Heart Link Women's Network South Melbourne, that group is proudly serving women business professionals in the South Melbourne area and delivering exceptional value to the community, said founder Michelle Amarant. 
Ms Amarant said she loves being able to help “create an environment in Victoria where women small business professionals can connect, help one another grow, expand their circle of influence, and market their business in a fun and effective way”. 
Ms Amarant is an independent distributor with SendOutCards and said the real value of the group was how it encouraged and empowered women small business professionals to create heartfelt, meaningful relationships with one another that will in turn strengthen their communities.
"I started the South Melbourne Heart Link Chapter in 2012 and it has been a great honour to serve as a Heart Link Women's Networking leader providing women entrepreneurs a wonderful opportunity to showcase, grow and strengthen their businesses while connecting to the hearts of the women in their communities,” Ms Arant said.
“My passions are living an authentic life, enjoying the freedom to do the things I love and to help others to also live a full and passionate life.
”The Heart Link Network  meetings allow women to showcase their businesses in three minute sessions and also devote time for socialising and connecting with one another."

The Heart Link Network also has a special program to honour women in the community who are normally excluded from networking, including teachers, new mothers, nurses, firefighters, police and military women.

“For over 15 years I dedicated my life to helping women and children in my family practice. I loved mentoring women and teaching children to dream,” founder Ms Billings said.
“Helping to strengthen and heal broken relationships, and enhancing client’s ability to communicate. I wrote over 20 books because I believed I could help more people with books than I could sitting in my office.
“But just over four years since launching The Heart Link Network, I feel I am helping women better than ever before. The Heart Link Network connects and links women to new ideas, resources, products and services that help them succeed.
“My dream is that every woman will be fortunate enough to attend a Heart Link Networking meeting, and experience the gift of connection they find there.”
According to Heart Link Network president, Laura Wells, the organisation now has more locations than any other professional women’s networking organisation. Meeting fees are a nominal $20 which includes a light meal as well as a company-exclusive spot at the meeting. There is no up-front membership fee required.
"The Heart Link Women’s Network offers many great marketing benefits to our attendees, our leaders, and their chapter sponsors,” said Ms Wells.
“Women that are small business professionals need ways to market their products and services that are inexpensive, fun, and best of all effective. The Heart Link Network provides exceptional marketing for women both online and in the community.
“The Heart Link Network is partnered with the TROVA Women Business Directory, which is ranked at the top of the first pages of all major search engines. If women want to succeed, they need to investigate The Heart Link Network.”

Women who want to find out about the new Essendon group can learn more at www.3040.theheartlinknetwork.com

www.theheartlinknetwork.com

ends

 

SOME of Australia's prime commercial property locations are successfully getting Buffed through a new franchise service system that is helping people re-engage with business and employment.

Image
Buffed set up two free shoe shining sites in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall at the front of the Body Shop's Brisbane Arcade location, for Father's Day.

 

Five of Australia's largest commercial property managers have already partnered with Buffed - a social enterprise shoe shining and leather care service - using the opportunity to enhance their building services while doing a good turn.

In November 2011, Buffed - widely acknowledged as Australia's first social franchise - launched the first of 10 shoe shining sites from GPT's Riverside Centre, in Eagle St, Brisbane. Buffed is supported by the Wise Foundation - the organisation behind The Big Issue magazine program - The Body Shop, UQ Business School and the Bank of Queensland (BOQ).

GPT CEO Michael Cameron said the group's properties became involved because of the way Buffed assists people excluded from the workforce to develop their own micro business around professional shoe shining and leather care.

The relationship Buffed built with GPT has helped Alan Ely re-engage in the workforce and become a successful franchisee, "giving him the opportunity to build his own personal relationship with building tenants", Mr Cameron said.

"I broke my back and had to live off of the disability pension for 15 years. I eventually got sick of it and wanted to reengage in the workforce and Buffed was the perfect opportunity for me to do that," Mr Ely said.

"Everybody is now so time poor, the little things like shining your shoes are taking time away from more important things, like playing with your kids."

GPT also supported the first Melbourne launch through its location at 530 Collins St, and Mr Cameron said GPT would continue to be an integral part of Buffed franchisors' development.

Founding member of Buffed, the Bank of Queensland (BOQ), saw potential in the social franchise and successfully negotiated to have a shoe shining stand setup in the BOQ Centre located at 259 Queen St on December 2011.

In April 2012, the diversified property group Stockland came on board to offer Buffed a site on the Eagle St Pier, giving Buffed the chance to shine in the iconic Brisbane waterfront precinct.

That location became the territory of ‘show shine artisan' Jimme Jam, who has been with Buffed since the beginning and has helped develop the brand and customer base for over a year.

"Buffed was a start, an acorn, a creation from anything. It could have gone anywhere and that's what I liked about it," Mr Jam said.

"This is the best job I have ever had. I get to be personal with people all day and I am my own boss."

Queensland Rail supported the opening of Buffed's fifth site at Brisbane's Central Station, and will soon open an additional franchise at Roma St Station.

Property group Investa saw the potential and value of offering up space to Buffed in buildings in both Brisbane, at 239 George St, and Melbourne at 120 Collins St.

Investa chairman Scott McDonald said Investa believed in innovation and "knowing and appreciating a good idea" when they see it is key to building a strong business.

This is exactly what Mr McDonald saw in Buffed, an opportunity to help support and develop a business that has good principles and strong ethics.

Mr McDonald said corporate social responsibility is an integral part of Investa's business principles and the company has continued to show support to the two Buffed franchisees in their locations.

It was a similar approach from motoring club RACV, which  saw the potential to offer their members a new service which added to the headquarters' already extensive list of amenities and exclusive member services.

Buffed's planned expansion into Melbourne was bolstered by the RACV's forward thinking in supporting Buffed to manage and grow the premium service at the 501 Bourke St site.

Buffed franchises are expanding with two new sites set to open in Brisbane this month at 123 Albert St (Rio Tinto) and 111 George St (Queensland State Government) buildings.

A Buffed spokesperson said the progressive thinking of these property investment groups has not only delivered a high quality service to their clientele, it has also helped change the lives of individuals who were long term unemployed and are now shoe shine artisans and business franchisees in their own right.

"The franchisees who have been given the opportunity to buy into a franchise and be placed into a location where they are supported by workers and industry alike has helped spurn on their business and in turn change their lives."

www.buffed.org.au

ends

 

AN INTERNATIONAL scientific researcher has called on business to help drive an urgent global effort to combat growing toxic residues from the world's disposal of old mobile phones, computers and electronic devices.

Image
Professor Ming Hung Wong warns on e-waste pile-up.

"Electronic waste -- or e-waste -- is the world's fastest growing waste stream, rising by 3-5 percent every year, due to the decreased lifespan of the average computer from six years to two," said Professor Ming Hung Wong of the Hong Kong Baptist University.

"In countries such as Australia the disposal of e-waste in landfills generates a potent leachate, which has high concentrations of flame retardant chemicals and heavy metals. These can migrate through soils and groundwater and eventually reach people via tap water and the food chain."

Professor Wong delivered a keynote paper at CleanUp 2013, the world's leading scientific contamination conference, which is being held in Melbourne throughout this week, closing with site visits on Thursday.
In many countries in Asia and Africa, e-waste from advanced nations is being recycled under extremely primitive conditions which leads to extensive pollution of air, water, food and people, Prof. Wong said.

"Gradually these toxins make their way around the world in food and water and via trade, posing a risk to everyone," he said.

"The toxic chemicals generated through open burning of e-waste include PCDD, PBDEs, PAHs, PCBs and heavy metals (especially lead) have given rise to serious environmental contamination.

"Some of these toxic chemicals are known to build up in fish especially, which may then be traded locally and around the world," Prof. Wong said.

"In general, any food items originating in e-waste processing areas are highly contaminated, leading to sharp increases in cancers and heart disease and other ailments in people who consume them."

Prof. Wong said science has now clearly demonstrated the risk of these toxic chemicals being passed on to the next generation, while babies are still in the womb, or even through their mother's milk.

"At the same time these e-waste contaminated sites are extremely hard to clean up due to the complex chemical mixtures they contain. However the time may soon be coming when developing countries will no longer accept e-waste from consumers in developed countries - and every nation will have to take care of its own.

"It is clear there is an urgent need to manage e-waste more efficiently in all countries and through better international collaboration."

Total world e-waste production has been estimated as high as 50 million tonnes a year, and is a growing component of the world's estimated annual output of 400 million tonnes of hazardous waste, only a small fraction of which is safely disposed.

CleanUp 2013 is hosted by the CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE). It is being held at the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, until September 18.

Cleanup 2013 incorporates the 5th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference.

In his role as chair professor of biology and director of Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Prof. Wong has established a multi-disciplinary team including environmental toxicologists, molecular biologists, analytical chemists, mathematicians, medical professionals and environmental managers for tackling environmental problems. He is recognised internationally for his work on environmental impact assessment, and in particular, contaminant impact on environment health.

www.cleanupconference.com

ends

 

DREAMSTARTER is the brand name of a new online ‘crowd-source funding' platform to assist Australian entrepreneurs developing positive social change projects.

Image
Support from the cloud: 'Crowdfunding' to help community projects.

 

The StartSomeGood organisation is partnering with ING Direct to launch Dreamstarter.

Dreamstarter wants to offer inspirational Australian entrepreneurs an online platform to raise funds towards diverse social change projects.

The first enterprises to go live on Dreamstarter include a project to connect remote Aboriginal entrepreneurs to new markets via an online store (Enterprise Learning Australia) and an initiative to help rural communities in Malawi to achieve greater self-sufficiency (Empower).

Successful projects that capture the imagination and support of the community will receive extra funding from ING Direct.

StartSomeGood cofounder Tom Dawkins said the partnership breaks new ground in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) sector.

"Crowdfunding is a participatory model that democratises corporate philanthropy," Mr Dawkins said.  The projects that will succeed are those that have a genuine mandate from the community."

He said SomeStartGood selected ING Direct as a partner because of its pioneering approach to branchless banking in Australia, plus its focus on online delivery and social media. These fitted wwll with the crowdfunding model.

"At ING Direct we strongly support innovative projects that address real community needs," said ING Direct CEO Vaughn Richtor.

"Leveraging ING DIRECT's customers, employees and the general public's support benefits all involved."

Ten ventures by social entrepreneurs that graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia are launching in the initial round of fundraising through the Dreamstarter platform.

The CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Celia Hodson sees innovative crowdfunding collaborations like Dreamstarter as breaking down many of the traditional barriers social entrepreneurs face when attracting support for their ventures.

"The Dreamstarter campaign is a fantastic way for start up social ventures to raise their profile, attract critical seed funding and inspire others to create change in their communities," said Ms Hodson.

People can apply to be a part of the Dreamstarter program online.

www.ingdirect.com.au/dreamstarter

ends

 

A titanic battle of wits against a corps of Australia's top business leaders is taking place tonight in Sydney - all to help children in foster, residential or kinship care.

Beat The Bosses is a trivia quiz night with a twist where the who's who of insurance and finance pit their wits against their bosses in a head-to-head battle of the brains.

Beat The Bosses at the Ivy is guaranteed to be a fun night of frivolity and fighting with facts, offering great prizes and top notch trivia, all in support of improving the lives of children and young people in what is known as out-of-home care.

More than 36,000 children are living in care in Australia and  this number is increasing by about 10 percent each year.

At last year's Beat The Bosses event, a Calliden table narrowly beat the bosses in a fun-filled night.

This year's supporters include managing director of AMPCI Stephen Dunne, QBE CEO for Australian operations Colin Fagen, Aon Benfield president Rob De Souza, Westfarmers COO David Brown, Calliden CEO Nick Kirk, Finity managing director Estelle Pearson, Munich Re managing director Heinrich Eder, Allianz chief general manager Niran Peiris, Zurich CEO Shane Doyle, Chubb managing director Mark Lingafelter, Willis Re CEO Michael Harden, Assetinsure managing director Peter Wedgewood, KPMG partner Andrew Reeves, Employers Mutual acting CEO and general manager for corporate services Anthony Fleetwood, TAL CEO of Investments Geoff Black, Austbrokers CEO Lachlan McKeough, Swiss Re managing director Mark Senkevics, Chartis CEO Noel Condon, and other senior staff members from Tokio, Berkley, PMA Solutions, Finity and Sparke Helmore, Ansvar and ARPC.

Special guests for the evening include CREATE Foundation patron, David Hill and the event has been sponsored by Accenture, Steadfast and PMA Solutions.

"The response from finance and insurance bosses has been better than ever. Our industry can make a profound difference in the lives of children in care," said CREATE Foundation chairman David Matcham. "There is a global economic crisis and markets may be contracting, and uncertainty prevails.

"The impact of this global crisis on families has a major impact on child protection. With over 20 CEOs and MDs attending there are plenty of bosses to be beaten. Together we look forward to helping bring about positive change through supporting CREATE Foundation at this special event."

The evening also features performances by international tenor and CREATE ambassador, Stephen Smith, who is aiming to push guests to the limit of their operatic knowledge.

Although an international success today, it has not been an easy path to success for the opera singer. He left home at 15 and found himself living on the streets, before making friends through music, achieving a scholarship and today being one of Ausralia's leading performers. Mr Smith is currently performing Don Ottavio in Opera Australia's Melbourne production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Author and broadcaster Peter FizSimons has jumped on board to make a difference to the lives of kids in care by donating a ‘money can't buy prize' to raise funds for the CREATE Your Future program.

 "As the silly season looms this special event provides guests with an opportunity to gain insight and understand the issues facing children and young people growing up in care," said Jacqui Reed, chief executive officer of the CREATE Foundation. "At Christmas time there is a sharp increase in demand for services to assist families experiencing relationship breakdown at the end of the year. Funds raised from our supporters on the night will support young people to reach their full potential.

"The CREATE Your Future program equips and empowers young people to successfully transition from care to independence through practical skill development such as job readiness, basic living skills and the know-how to secure appropriate accommodation a job or training course.

"Ultimately, this program assists to connect young people, reduce isolation and build their self-confidence."

This is at The Ivy Room, 330 George Street, Sydney and all funds raised will be dedicated to the CREATE Your Future Program which equips and empowers young people for transitioning from care to independent living at 18.

www.create.org.au

 

ends

Seven out of 10 Australians believe agribusiness contributes to the national identity - but the team behind Year of the Farmer are concerned that three out of 10 people do not.

Image
Year of the Farmer highlights Australian agribusiness.

 

Research for the 2012 Australian Year of the Farmer has confirmed the important role agribusiness plays in what it means to be Australian - but it also acts as a warning to the industry that it needs to continually raise its profile beyond its economic importance.

The research found the majority of Australians (71 percent) believe agribusiness contributes to the Australian way of life and that it plays a significant role in what it means to be Australian (69%).

Australian Year of the Farmer co-founder and managing director Geoff Bell said the results were encouraging but hoped, by the end of 2012, more Australians would realise the contribution of Agribusiness to the national identity.

"For a country that was said to be built upon the sheep's back, it's great to know that the majority of Australians still recognise the importance of the rural sector in defining who we are, where we've come from, and where we are headed as a country - but there are many who don't see the connection," Mr Bell said.

"The research tells us that nearly a third of all Australians do not appreciate the significance of agriculture to our national identity. As a proud Australian who feels passionately about the bush, I find this personally disappointing.

"That's why, six years ago, we began planning a Year of the Farmer celebration. By the end of 2012, we would be thrilled to know that we've helped all Australians fall back in love with rural Australia.

"We hope a celebration of this magnitude will encourage Australians to show their appreciation for farmers and their families and to recognise the enormous contribution they make. And not just to the economy, but to Australia's social fabric - our very way of life."

Of the 2000 Australians surveyed, young people aged between 16 and 24 were the least likely to associate agribusiness with the national identity, with just over half (51%) recognising its contribution to the Australian way of life and a similar amount (53%) recognising its contribution to what it means to be Australian.

Mr Bell said the lack of engagement with rural Australia by youth was a particularly worrying trend that had emerged in recent years.

"It's no surprise to see that Australian youth find it harder to associate agribusiness with the Australian identity as more and more are growing up in metropolitan areas, removed from the iconic rural landscapes and flourishing rural communities in which agribusiness has its roots," Mr Bell said. "But if they had a think about it, they'd realise that agribusiness is actually all around them.

"Every time they buy clothes made from Australian wool or cotton, every time they eat an Australian grown apple, eat a steak, or go to the takeaway for fish and chips, many hands in the Agribusiness chain have helped get it to them - and it doesn't stop there.

"Of the 1.6 million jobs agribusiness provides, more than half are located in metropolitan Australia and the contribution of the broader agribusiness sector to the nation's economy, each year, has been estimated to be in excess of $400billion," Mr Bell said.

"We want 2012 to be a landmark celebration of Australian farmers and of Agribusiness in general. We want it to be remembered as a turning point at which urban and rural communities were brought closer together. And we want it to be the year that changed the habits of Australians, encouraging them to stop and think about the many farm products that support their lifestyle.

"We need only look at the food and drink that we enjoy on Australia Day to see how fortunate we are that this country boasts such a dynamic and innovative agricultural sector.

"On January 26, as we celebrate what it means to be Australian - perhaps with a couple of snags made from Australian pork, in bread made from Australian wheat and with sauce made from Australian tomatoes - I encourage all Australians to consider the way in which farming and related industries have shaped, and continue to shape, our national identity.

"This Australia Day, I call upon all Australians to consider what it means to be ‘Australian', and to consider what their lives would be like without the many men and women working in Agribusiness to bring them the products found every day in shops and supermarkets across the country."

http://www.yearofthefarmer.com.au/

ends

If ever there was evidence needed that trading conditions are getting tougher, especially for general retailers and service industries who deal with the general public, the latest figures out of Queensland showing home power disconnections are manifold.

Image
Home electricity cut-offs up 37 percent.

Community service organisations have new official figures showing Queensland electricity disconnections for non payment have risen 37 percent over the past year - with pensioners and concession card holders making up almost 18 percent of those disconnected. 

"That's a total of 24,598 residential customers disconnected in the past year for non-payment," according to Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) president Karyn Walsh.

"And 6 percent of those, or 1466 people, had their electricity cut off for more than a week before it was reconnected in the same name." 

Ms Walsh linked the increased disconnections to the spiraling cost of essentials. Over the past five years, the cost of essentials has risen well above the consumer price index of 19 percent: electricity (up by 63%), public transport (up by 48%), insurance (up by 40%), rent (up by 35%) and food (up by 23%). 

"But there are other issues that contribute," Ms Walsh said. "There is not enough support available and a lack of knowledge of the support that does exist.

"We also have to ask ourselves whether the electricity retailers are doing enough to comply with their obligations to identify people experiencing hardship early and proactively assist them. By July next year they will be subject to far more stringent national requirements and they should already be working towards meeting these standards. 

"People are entitled to expect retailers to provide assistance through hardship programs or payment plans. Those in difficulty should contact their electricity retailer early and not wait for disconnection," said Ms Walsh. 

"These figures are an indication that the current concessions framework isn't working well enough. While a complete review of the framework should be a long-term goal there are steps that can be taken immediately - like changing the current 'pensioner' concessions to ‘low-income' concessions that will apply to pensioners and all health care card holders. This is done in other states and is a far more equitable system." 

Full details of the disconnections are available at www.qca.org.au

ends

ends

 

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122