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Business News

BIGGER BACKYARD OPENS UP BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

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“We have created a free, easy to use App – Bigger Backyard Northern Rivers to support Business to Business procurement with every business clearly profiled in what can be easily accessed off your phone.”

BIGGER BACKYARD OPENS UP BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

 

Business NSW Northern Rivers has launched a new initiative aimed at stopping the leakage of business spending to places outside of the region and expects to see a multimillion dollar return if we do more business to business trade inside the Northern Rivers.

“We get so frustrated to see our business dollars going outside of the region when we have great products, services and suppliers right here in our own Northern Rivers backyard.” Says Regional Director for Business NSW, Jane Laverty.

“We are in an economic crisis so every dollar that is currently being spent outside of the region is critically important to us in making the Northern Rivers regional economy stronger and more resilient. Every dollar we bring back into the region has a multiplier effect of 3 – so that is powerful.

“We have created a free, easy to use App – Bigger Backyard Northern Rivers to support Business to Business procurement with every business clearly profiled in what can be easily accessed off your phone.” Says Jane.

The initiative was first created by Mrs Laverty in 2018 as part of the In Good Company Project aimed at improving business confidence post the 2017 weather event as a manual pledge-based activity with the idea of shifting business buying behaviours to be more regionally focused.

“We have created a free, easy to use App – Bigger Backyard Northern Rivers to support Business to Business procurement with every business clearly profiled in what can be easily accessed off your phone.”

“We have created a free, easy to use App – Bigger Backyard Northern Rivers to support Business to Business procurement with every business clearly profiled in what can be easily accessed off your phone.”

“I always envisioned we would take it to a technology-based application that would help to link businesses directly with each other and for them not be beholden to a pay per click style search engine. You want to be confident that you will find the product or service you are looking for from another Northern Rivers based business – it’s a twist on your buy local campaign but just for business – and we hope it will give businesses in our region a much needed boost.”

“If you think about what you spend on the office basics like stationery or raw materials for manufacturing through to business and professional services and trades procurement business spending adds up. We think there is an an easy shift to a local supplier but if you can’t find what you are looking for we want to know so that we can either encourage that inclusion in the app or go about attracting new businesses into the area to provide that service.” Says Mrs Laverty.

“In phase one of development we had a founding group of 150 business set up their business profile in the App and in this next phase, where we are promoting and connecting with the broader business community, we hope to get to 500 profiles and just keep growing.”

Businesses can get more information, register straight away or ask for help through the project webpage www.biggerbackyardnorthernrivers.com.au or by contacting the Business NSW Northern Rivers office on 5631 8509.

“I am inviting all Northern Rivers businesses to be part of it. We also have larger businesses such as The Casino Food Coop, Norco, Southern Cross University, Summerland Credit Union and others committing to using the App to increase their local product and services procurement, so it is a great opportunity for small to medium enterprises to win new work just by being in Bigger Backyard Northern Rivers,” Mrs Laverty said.

 

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Business News

Construction Giant LVX Global Group Enters Administration, Putting 25 Jobs at Risk

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LVX Global Group

Construction Giant LVX Global Group Enters Administration, Putting 25 Jobs at Risk

 

In a significant development within the Australian construction sector, a prominent company, formerly valued at $30 million just nine months ago, has entered administration, placing 25 jobs in jeopardy.

LVX Global Group, a leading infrastructure engineering firm headquartered in Australia, took a drastic step on Wednesday morning as five of its subsidiary companies appointed administrators in a bid to revamp their financial situation. Specialising in strategy, engineering, and project management within the building sector, LVX operates primarily from its headquarters in Adelaide and boasts a global presence across more than 20 countries.

Having contributed to major national projects such as Brisbane Airport and Sydney’s Botanical Gardens, LVX has also collaborated with the Sunshine Coast Council on crucial initiatives like lighting, communications, and electrical services for the Mooloolaba seafront. Despite its illustrious portfolio, LVX now finds itself in dire straits, with administrators actively seeking potential buyers for the entire business or select assets while the fate of 25 employees hangs precariously in the balance.

LVX Global Group CEO Corey Gray

LVX Global Group CEO Corey Gray

The company’s decline from its former glory is particularly striking given recent reports suggesting plans for a lucrative stock exchange debut through an initial public offering, which pegged its value at $30 million. Now, Ken Whittingham and Mark Robinson from insolvency firm Fort Restructuring have stepped in as administrators to navigate LVX through these turbulent times.

In their statement to news.com.au, the administrators indicated that while LVX has several national projects currently underway, decisions regarding their continuation remain pending. Expressing a commitment to explore all viable options, the administrators are actively pursuing a sale of LVX as a “going concern” and are open to considering a deed of company arrangement (DOCA) to potentially salvage the situation.

Amidst earlier plans for capital raising and optimistic revenue forecasts, LVX’s financial performance took a nosedive, with revenues totalling $13.3 million in the 2022 financial year—a significant increase from $7 million in the previous comparable period. Despite projections of $15 million in revenue for the 2023 financial year, internal presentations from last year painted a different picture, highlighting the company’s downward spiral.

LVX’s unfortunate downturn adds to a growing trend of national construction companies grappling with financial woes. Earlier instances include Rork Projects, facing debts nearing $30 million across multiple states, and Project Coordination, a seasoned industry player with half a century of operations, which succumbed to administration just two weeks ago, further underscoring the widespread crisis plaguing the construction sector.

 

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CSIRO invests $20 million to drive SME innovation

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SME innovation

CSIRO invests $20 million to drive SME innovation

 

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has committed a substantial $20 million investment aimed at enhancing access to crucial research and development (R&D) opportunities for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with the goal of fostering their growth and innovation.

This funding infusion will empower CSIRO’s SME Connect team to support up to 750 SMEs through an array of comprehensive programs and initiatives. These initiatives encompass facilitation, training, dollar-matched funding, and assistance for start-ups and SMEs seeking engagement in company-led research projects.

Among the supported programs is CSIRO Kick-Start, a flagship initiative of SME Connect. Since its inception in 2017, the Kick-Start program has facilitated over 280 company-led R&D projects, boasting alumni companies with a collective market value exceeding $2 billion.

Dr. Doug Hilton, Chief Executive of CSIRO, underscores the profound significance of this investment and its transformative potential for Australia’s critical SME sector. He emphasizes the pivotal role SMEs play in driving Australia’s future, serving as bastions of innovation and solutions to societal challenges.

Dr. Hilton states, “CSIRO’s fundamental role as the national science agency is to create benefits for Australia, including driving SME productivity, sustainability, and growth through enhanced access to R&D opportunities and research support, fostering a resilient and diverse economy.”

SMEs constitute the backbone of Australia’s economy, accounting for 99.8% of businesses, contributing over half of the gross domestic product (GDP), and employing 68% of the private sector workforce.

CSIRO’s SME Connect team has a proven track record of supporting start-ups and SMEs across various industry sectors, including technology, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy, health, and biosecurity.

Simon Hanson, Director of CSIRO’s SME Connect, highlights how this investment bolsters Australian innovation by providing practical avenues for SMEs to leverage the expertise and facilities of the national science agency. He stresses the importance of collaboration between industry and the research sector for the longevity and success of Australian SMEs.

Hanson notes, “This funding enables us to bridge the gap between industry and academia, fostering meaningful collaborations and facilitating innovation and growth within the SME ecosystem.”

Goterra, an award-winning start-up based in Canberra, exemplifies the success stories emerging from CSIRO’s SME Connect programs. Olympia Yarger, Founder of Goterra and a CSIRO Kick-Start alumni company, developed an innovative waste management system utilizing insects to process food waste, resulting in a 97% reduction in greenhouse gases.

Yarger lauds CSIRO’s Kick-Start program for connecting Goterra with leading scientists who provided world-class research capabilities and pivotal support in exploring business opportunities, alternative technological advancements, and industry connections.

For businesses intrigued by the potential of R&D to address their challenges, CSIRO’s SME Connect offers a suite of programs tailored to support R&D initiatives. These include CSIRO Kick-Start, Innovate to Grow, Generation STEM Links, RISE Accelerator, and the Collaboration Readiness Levels tool.

For further information on CSIRO’s SME Connect programs, visit their website here.

Sidebar:

  1. CSIRO’s commitment to fostering SME innovation through R&D funding.
  2. Success stories like Goterra, showcasing the tangible benefits of CSIRO’s programs for SMEs.
  3. The diverse range of industry sectors supported by CSIRO’s SME Connect initiatives, promoting innovation across various fields.

 

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AGL and Cannon-Brookes Propose Solar Panel Plant at Former Coal Site

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Solar Panel Plant

AGL and Cannon-Brookes Propose Solar Panel Plant at Former Coal Site

 

In a groundbreaking move, energy giant AGL has joined forces with a technology company supported by its major shareholder, billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, to explore the establishment of a cutting-edge solar panel manufacturing facility on the premises of the decommissioned Liddell coal-fired power station.

This collaboration between AGL and Sydney-based SunDrive signifies a significant shift towards renewable energy initiatives, following the closure of the Liddell generator in the NSW Upper Hunter region nearly a year ago. The decision to cease operations at Liddell, which had reached the end of its operational life, underscores AGL’s commitment to transitioning its coal-fired power station sites in Victoria and NSW into sustainable energy “hubs.”

Damien Nicks, CEO of AGL, emphasised that the partnership with SunDrive marks a pivotal moment in the company’s journey towards creating low-carbon energy hubs, emphasising a holistic approach that integrates renewable energy generation, large-scale battery storage, and green technology manufacturing.

The proposed Hunter Energy Hub aims to adhere to circular economy principles and foster collaboration among industries committed to advancing the energy transition. Cannon-Brookes, renowned for his environmental advocacy and investment in clean energy ventures, has been instrumental in driving AGL’s strategic shift towards sustainable energy solutions.

Through his investment vehicle, Grok Ventures, Cannon-Brookes has championed initiatives aimed at tackling climate change and seizing opportunities in the clean energy sector. SunDrive, a start-up with ground-breaking technology developed at the University of New South Wales, stands at the forefront of solar cell innovation.

Backed by prominent investors, including Blackbird Ventures and Main Sequence Ventures, SunDrive has pioneered solar cell technology that utilises copper, a cost-effective and abundant alternative to silver. With the successful development of highly efficient solar cells, SunDrive envisions scaling up production at its first commercial-scale manufacturing plant within AGL’s Hunter Energy Hub.

Vince Allen, Founder and CEO of SunDrive, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration with AGL, highlighting the opportunity to introduce Australian-made solar technology to the domestic market. As SunDrive aims to revolutionise rooftop solar installations with its cutting-edge technology, the partnership with AGL signifies a significant step towards advancing Australia’s renewable energy sector.

Sidebar

  1. Collaborative Innovation: The partnership between AGL and SunDrive represents a collaborative effort to innovate within the renewable energy sector, leveraging AGL’s industry expertise and SunDrive’s groundbreaking solar cell technology.
  2. Sustainable Energy Transition: The proposed solar panel manufacturing plant at the former Liddell coal-fired power station reflects AGL’s commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy solutions.
  3. Circular Economy Principles: AGL’s vision for the Hunter Energy Hub priorities the integration of circular economy principles, aiming to create a low-carbon industrial energy hub that maximises resource efficiency and minimises waste.
  4. Technological Advancements: SunDrive’s patented technology, which replaces silver with copper in solar cells’ construction, demonstrates a significant advancement in solar technology, offering a more cost-effective and sustainable alternative.
  5. Economic Opportunities: The establishment of a solar panel manufacturing facility at the Hunter Energy Hub has the potential to create economic opportunities, including job creation and local investment, while contributing to Australia’s renewable energy goals.

 

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