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  • 25-Nov-2014 17:40 | Anonymous

    So what was it like to meet Sir Richard Branson?

     

    Well, the first thing I noticed was that for the first time in my life I felt a feeling like I assume all those screaming young girls do when they see their favourite boy band. Okay, I didn’t exactly want to scream, but there was an inner feeling of “wow” occurring. Could it really be that here I was about to meet the guy whom I have been inspired by for so long?

    When you have only know someone through their books, and the occasional appearance on TV, and this has been the case for 15 years or so, I guess the mind almost assumes that this person actually lives IN the book or TV, and not necessarily in “real life”. As such, when I first met Richard I was a little shocked. Not only for the fact that he was in fact “real”, but also for the fact that he was actually there, at Necker Island. The reason being that just 48 hours earlier (and just as we were due to arrive at Necker Island), Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2 had crashed into the Mojave Desert, killing one of its pilots. Richard of course had immediately left Necker and traveled to the site to be with the Virgin Galactic staff and the family of the pilot. Many of us had come to accept that our encounter with Richard may never occur given the circumstances as we didn’t know how long he would have to be away. But here he was, back to see us …

    He opened by apologising for not being there to greet us upon arrival at Necker Island and noted the situation at hand and his sadness for what had occurred (you could tell he was quite affected by it). He then followed by saying that he wanted to ensure he could see us during our visit and that this day may be the only one possible, as such he had returned to ensure it happened (keep in mind that this required him to fly back across the USA to Necker just to see us, a group of entrepreneurs that he didn’t know and owed nothing to).

    When the floor opened for questions, two in particular stood out for me: 

    Q: Richard, given the situation with the crash none of us expected you to come back. Thank you for doing so, but why did you?

    A: “Well I had told Fiona (the organisor) that I’d be here to spend time with you guys, and so I did my best to be here. Once again, I’m sorry I couldn’t be here to greet you all yesterday”.

    Now here is a guy worth billions of dollars, whom can do as he pleases, sitting in front of us in a pair of shorts and a singlet saying such words. I would love the world of entrepreneurs to take note – it’s clearly not the fancy suit, or the flashy cars that define success. Rather it’s the actions one takes that define the individual whom is capable of creating such success. His actions are what create the people that love him, which create the brand the company is globally renowned for and what consumers love. 

    Q: How have you handled the current crises with Virgin Galactic and crises in prior business dealings?

    A: “Crises will occur, and survival is the key. You must remain positive and have a great team to make it through. Our team at Virgin Galactic is 400 strong, so it not just me that is feeling this right now – it’s all of us. Some (external parties) have suggested we should give up … that is just not an option for our team as we believe in what we are doing. We must remind ourselves of WHY we started it all in the first place. We believe that we should be able to colonise other planets as our population grows. Why should we be restricted to just earth? We should also be able to travel much quicker – it is still far too slow to travel to places like Australia”.

    Again I was not only impressed by his answer, but reminded of why I have admired him all along. He leads with his vision (the why) and builds a team of people that share that vision. And he never forgets that it is all about the group, not just him. You could see clearly that he cared about the group and was just as committed as they were. 

    Okay, so was there anything else worth noting?

    Yes. He seemed rather relaxed and carefree for a guy who heads up such a large organisation. Further, I couldn’t help but notice he had an almost childish way about him. When he spoke for example he rarely looked you in the eyes, and when he walked he’d struggle not to want to skip a little and then jog a bit – like a little kid would do. Quite the opposite to the serious world of business we are all exposed to in our “normal” daily lives …

    Thank you Sir Richard for all that you have done to inspire and educate me in my life, for all that you’ve done for the many other entrepreneurs of the world, and for all you’ve done for the world at large – you are an amazing man.

    Daniel Davis
    CEO, Gallop Solutions

  • 25-Nov-2014 17:08 | Anonymous

    PwC regularly invites key international experts to share their experience and wisdom with our private clients. Professor Paddy Miller spoke to clients around Australia, revealing what he has discovered about the thorny topic of ‘innovation’ through research with private businesses across the globe.

     

    Dr Miller is a Professor at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and a visiting faculty member at the Chinese European International Business School in Shanghai and Macquarie Business School in Sydney.

     

    His latest book, Innovation as Usual, details the research he's undertaken into how and why companies succeed - or fail - at embedding innovation into their DNA.

     

    Companies big and small are falling over themselves to be 'innovative' - but what does innovation actually mean? And how can businesses develop a culture of innovation that helps them grow, adapt, and lead the market?

     

    The first thing companies need to address is the "disconnect between management and staff, and between the company, clients and suppliers" when it comes to taking an idea and following it through to an innovation that you can go to market with.

     

    Dr Miller has met with and interviewed hundreds of managers and CEOs in an attempt to drill down into their business models. By following companies like Kodak, Samsung and Merck over time, in some cases for a decade or more, he's been able to put together a compelling picture of where they've gone right - and wrong - along the way.

     

    He maintains there are two key choices when it comes to innovation: incremental improvements (for example, the evolution of the trolley suitcase over several decades), or one big disruptive idea (the Dyson vacuum cleaner). In deciding which way to go, one of the decisions that companies need to make, he says, is whether to go for the 'quick' win or the 'big' win.

     

    "Dyson went for the 'big' win, the disruptive vacuum cleaner - but it took 15 years and 5000 prototypes. Smaller companies might decide to focus on a niche within the market - the opportunity space - instead of trying to take on the big guys directly."

     

    According to Dr Miller, "the research is clear".

     

    "When we started to look at big vs small firms, public vs private, it soon became clear that when you have an owner-entrepreneur involved in business as CEO, the tendency is to quickly bridge the gap between the big ideas and the execution of those ideas. That's because those companies are still close to their customers, their staff and their suppliers.

     

    "As soon as the company starts to grow, the disconnect kicks in."

     

    So how do you avoid that disconnect? One way is to support the people within your organisation who he refers to as 'Innovation Architects'.

     

    These are the people who can turn an innovative 'idea' into the 'next big thing' that has the potential to transform your business, your market - or even your whole industry.

     

    "An Innovation Architect can come from anywhere in the organisation," Dr Miller says. "They are the person who creates the space for others to be innovative. They might be a department head, a divisional head, or they might be the person who's got a small production team.

     

    "What they have in common is that they understand how the organisation works, how to get traction for an idea, how to put a team together, and how to give that team political cover for as long as they need it. So that, for a while, an idea is able to exist without much interference."

     

    Dr Miller calls this approach 'stealth storming', and says this breathing space is vital for an idea to be developed, tested, tweaked and readied for buy-in higher up the company food chain. 

     

    He cites Steve Jobs' experience at Atari as the classic example. 

     

    "Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn, who ran Atari - these are the guys who let Steve Jobs be Steve Jobs.

     

    "For business owners, it's not about being Steve Jobs, or even necessarily finding the next Jobs yourself - it's about searching for the Innovation Architect, the person who will create the space for people like Steve Jobs to shine.

     

    "Then encourage them to look within your organisation and find people with a track record, the ability to follow through. But be prepared - often they'll be the hooligans!"

  • 25-Nov-2014 16:38 | Anonymous

    Moore Stephens welcomes the long awaited China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA). The agreement paves the way for a range of benefits that under the agreement are currently only available to Australia.

     

    Australian businesses have been given a significant opportunity to capitalise from this agreement. ChAFTA offers Australia an exclusive agreement that allows for the removal and reduction of tariffs and greater flexibility for Chinese/Australian investment. Agriculture, mining/energy and resources, investment, trade in services and financial services are all set to benefit from ChAFTA.

    So how does ChAFTA benefit you? Let’s break down the benefits by industry.

    Agriculture:

    • Significant cuts or removal of tariffs for agricultural exports including dairy, beef, sheep, wine, seafood and horticulture.

    This is great news for those in agriculture as the trade barriers are lifted for the greater flow of goods. Most of these changes are set to take place within 4-9 years, however with some tariff cuts taking effect from day one of ChAFTA, including the export of barley and some grains.

    Mining/energy and resources:

    • Tariffs on all resources and energy products including aluminium oxide and  coking coal to be removed on day one of ChAFTA
    • Removal of tariffs on resources such as thermal coal, refined copper and alloys, iron ore, gold and liquefied natural gas are also part of ChAFTA
    • A wide range of Australian manufactured goods including pharmaceutical products will have tariffs removed.

    This is a welcome reprieve for mining, energy and resource companies who will gain significant benefits from these tariff cuts. Within four years of ChAFTA being ratified we will see around 99.9% of China’s imports of resources, energy and manufactured goods entering tariff free.

    Investment:

    • Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) screening threshold will be increased for private companies from China investing in non-sensitive areas from $248 million to $1.078 billion  
    • The Australian government will screen investment proposals by private investors from China in agricultural land valued from $15 million and agribusiness from $53 million 
    • Inclusion of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism to allow Australians to invest in China with greater confidence 
    • China and Australia have agreed to review bilateral taxation arrangements including

    The relaxation and greater flexibility between Australian- Chinese investments unlocks the door to unprecedented investment opportunities between the two nations. The Australian government has maintained protection of certain industries including sensitive sectors consistent with all FTAs.

    Trade in services (tourism, health care and education):

    • Ability for wholly owned Australian tourism and health providers to build and operate hospitals, hotels and other facilities in China
    • Growth opportunity for Australian education sector to add a further 77 institutions to the existing 105 Australian education providers that can take overseas students
    • Australian law firms will be able to establish commercial associations with Chinese firms in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

    We have seen a fundamental shift in Chinese economics and culture over the years especially in the demand for education, tourism and health care. ChAFTA opens up significant opportunities for Australian providers to invest in the Chinese market.

    Financial Services:

    • Establishment of a Renminbi clearing bank in Sydney allows Australian financial institutions to invest Chinese currency in Chinese financial products, including securities.
    • Australian securities brokerage and advisory firms will be able to provide trading accounts, custody, advice and portfolio management to Chinese investors allowed to invest offshore

    ChAFTA gives Australian banks and financial service companies access to one of the most powerful economies on a more level playing field. We also see a greater working relationship established between ASIC and the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission as they identify a range of areas for further cooperation in their frameworks.

    Moore Stephens Australia has demonstrated experience in supporting bi-lateral business arrangements with China.  In addition, being part of the Moore Stephens International network, we have access to specialists globally including mainland China and Hong Kong.

    To understand what the implications of ChAFTA means to you and what opportunities may exist for your business, please contact your Moore Stephens partner at your earliest convenience.

    Contact

    Raelene Berryman
    Partner, Business Services
    Moore Stephens Sydney
    +61 2 9881 3601
    rberryman@moorestephens.com.au

  • 25-Nov-2014 16:12 | Anonymous
    • Financial assistance for IP-related expenditure including patenting and trade mark protection costs, searching costs, freedom to operate advice and licensing costs.

    • Priority given to identified growth sectors: food and agribusiness; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; advanced manufacturing; mining equipment technology and services; and oil, gas and energy resources.

    As part of the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme, the Australian Government has now launched ‘Accelerating Commercialisation’, an initiative designed to provide assistance for the commercialisation of intellectual property.  Administered by AusIndustry, this replaces the previous government’s Commercialisation Australia programme.

    The programme is open to individual entrepreneurs, researchers, start up companies and larger businesses.  Importantly, the programme is open to commercialisation offices of academic and other publicly funded research institutions (where the office is a corporation) and other Eligible Partner Entities, being corporations whose primary focus is research but also seek to commercialise the IP of their researchers (such as a private research institute).  To be eligible, applicants must have an annual turnover of less than $20 million for each of the three years prior to lodgment of the application.

    The programme provides financial assistance as well as mentoring and advice, including access to an Expert Network that can assistance with capital raising and access to new markets, for a maximum of two years.  The financial assistance takes the form of matching grant funding of up to $1 million (or up to $250,000 in the case of commercialisation offices and Eligible Partner Entities).  The money received may be used towards a variety of expenses including legal fees relating to the protection of IP (but not the defense of IP), freedom to operate searching, licensing costs, as well as travel, training and labour costs.

    The programme is not designed to fund research and development projects.  Rather, applicants must have a novel product, process or service with at least national market potential.

    While open to applications across all technologies, priority is given to applications that operate in, or can show applicability and benefit to, one of the designated growth sectors, being: food and agribusiness; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; advanced manufacturing; mining equipment technology and services; and oil, gas and energy resources.

    There are no deadlines for applying.  Applications may be made at any time and are considered every six to eight weeks.

    More details on Accelerating Commercialisation can be found at: www.business.gov.au/advice-and-support/EIP/Accelerating-Commercialisation. 

    Author:  Gavin Recchia              

                  Partner

    For more information on this article, please contact Davies Collison Cave.

    © 2014 Davies Collison Cave

     

  • 24-Nov-2014 14:53 | Anonymous

    From the team that created the nationally televised TV show, XVenture Corporate Challenge (featured on Sky Business, oneHD and all through Asia on the ABC network), kick start your 2015 with participation in the ultimate team challenge – XVenture Challenge in February 2015!

     

    Bring six people from your organisation and spend a day and evening competing in team and leadership challenges, designed to test even the best business teams. Each of the challenges is unique and across the program there is a focus on communication, collaboration, creative strategy, time pressure and innovation. This is not about fittest, fastest and strongest.

     

    You’ll compete against up to 11 other teams and be encouraged to reflect on the learning of each challenge with the support of coaches and use of technology.

     

    Your XVenture Challenge participation fee includes: a place for six participants, team shirt (with your company logo/ design), all challenges, meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), accommodation, learning log, coaches and support by the XVenture team. Plus, an unsurpassed opportunity to meet many other people and organisations!

     

    Use it as way to kick-start 2015 – perhaps for your sales team? Perhaps invite some of your clients to participate in your team to develop stronger relationships?

     

    To secure one of the limited places, get in touch with Daniela from XVenture on:

     

    M:  0416 271 338 

    E:  dani@xventure.com.au 

    W: www.xventure.com.au

     

     

     

     

     

  • 24-Nov-2014 14:25 | Anonymous

    Sydney Showground is proud to announce that Business Development Executive, Lauren Milledge has taken out this year’s Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award at the Exhibition & Event Association of Australia’s (EEAA) Awards for Excellence held in Melbourne last night.

     

    Sydney Showground General Manager, Peter Thorpe said, “Our deepest congratulations Lauren, we’re all very proud of you and the work you have done over the past 12 months to achieve this fantastic industry accolade.”

    Lauren was nominated due to the extraordinary execution of her role as Business Development Executive as well as her professional attitude, commitment to customer service and outstanding use of initiative.

    Lauren’s award winning entry was accompanied by a number of compelling testimonials from clients including the following:

    “Lauren is an outstanding example of what it means to have a great client/customer interface. She is a ‘front line, in action’ person and a great asset to your company.

    “On many occasions, she has gone out of her way to make things happen for us, despite tight turnarounds. In the fast paced world of film and television this kind of customer service stands out like a beacon!

    “Her friendly and vibrant personality together with a good mind for business and focus on customer satisfaction is a trait worthy of the highest recognition to the Events and Exhibition industry.  Lauren, you are just awesome to work with.”

    Luke Torrevillas, Location Manager, Ecomlocations -Film and TV Industry

    Lauren was also featured as The Young Gun in the December 2013 edition of Micenet.

     

     

  • 24-Nov-2014 14:01 | Anonymous

    From January 1 Toyota will be introducing a new Toyota for Life standards program which is designed to create a superior experience for guests visiting the Toyota showroom. Lander Toyota will be implementing the new standards in full and plans to be a leader in developing the finest level of guest experience available across the Toyota network.

     

    At the core of Franchise of the future is the image of the Toyota tea ceremony. When the Japanese invite people to their home as guests they place the guest’s interest at the core of their interest. They ensure everything is provided to deliver a great experience when visiting their home. This ranges from the front door, the garden, the layout, the room, the facilities etc. That belief is deep in the Toyota culture. We treat everyone who enters our dealership as a guest, ensuring they receive an excellent experience during their stay.

    There’s something special at Lander Toyota this month.

     

    Visit www.landertoyota.com.au for more information.

     

    Land a better deal at Lander Toyota!

  • 24-Nov-2014 11:55 | Anonymous

    NSW Minister for Resources, Special Minister of State and Leader of the House, the Hon Anthony Roberts MP recently told a packed forum former NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie had it right when it came to describing the journey from Sydney's CBD to Parramatta.

     

    Mr Roberts said he had been reading the diaries of Major General Macquarie who was the fifth Governor of NSW from 1810 to 1821.

     

    He told a WSBC function welcoming Hugo Halliday PR & Marketing to Parramatta at the Commercial Hotel when it came to travelling along Parramatta Road, "nothing seems to have changed."

     

    "Governor Macquarie wrote in his diary around November 1820 he and his wife Elizabeth travelled by sulky from Sydney to Parramatta to go to Government House," Mr Roberts said.

     

    "Macquarie noted the journey along Parramatta Road took around 1.5 hours. The journey today is around the same even though we have motor vehicles and the road has bitumen.

     

    "The NSW Government is working hard to alleviate the traffic congestion and make the journey faster and more convenient through a number of major initiatives including the Westconnex motorway."

     

    Mr Roberts said the WestConnex is a 33km motorway proposed to travel from Parramatta along the M4/Parramatta Road corridor to Beverly Hills.  It is proposed to connect Parramatta, Sydney Airport and Beverly Hills.

     

    He said he had worked with Hugo Halliday when it had its offices next to his electorate office in Gladesville with good results. 

     

    Managing Director of Hugo Halliday PR and Marketing Bill Pickering said moving his office to Parramatta is to keep pace with Sydney’s shifting business landscape.

     

    “No longer is the Sydney CBD or nearby suburbs considered as the heart of our State’s capital – Parramatta took this title long ago,” Mr Pickering said.

     

    “Businesses looking to prosper must consider making the move west to keep pace with where the action is in regards to connectivity and clients.”

     

    Mr Pickering told the WSBC forum his company is a diverse  public relations and media and marketing firm that works with clients seeking advocacy with all levels of Government, media training and exposure and community relations expertise.

     

    Hugo Halliday is currently renovating its new office at 52 O'Connell Street, in the Parramatta Business Centre and should open for business within a few weeks.

     

     

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