Are you a recent or current UniSA student starting a business?

Do you have a great idea that could turn into the next start up?

UniSA students and recent graduates (up to 12 months) can apply for up to $50,000 to kickstart their business idea! Start your adventure now by applying for Venture Catalyst funding. You can receive up to $50,000 to help you realise your great idea.

For further information see or contact Jasmine Vreugdenburg on 8302 5477 or



Jodie Gaffney shares her marketing insights at the June Northern Business Breakfast

Connecting businesses and getting great ideas for stretching your marketing dollar in tough times was the clear message at the June Northern Business Breakfast (NBB) today (June 24, 2015).

140 plus businesses attending today got some great marketing tips from Jodie Gaffney of G Advertising. A clear thread from Jodie’s presentation was to “give” your potential customer useful information that will help their buying decision without any hard sell!

In today’s world of social media where customers are getting detailed information about products and services on the Internet you need to be active in this space. Jodie’s message was to supply useful information to buyers about your product area which enables you to build an online rapport with your potential customers.

A great example Jodie gave was of a cooking supply business using social media to ensure customers had good product information which increased their sales from 5 units per week for some products to over 300!

As the event’s other speaker, Rob Rowe from Bendigo Bank discussed the connection his branch has to the community. The Elizabeth branch of the Bendigo Bank are avid users of social media with Facebook being an important communication channel. Make sure you connect with them on their Facebook page.

Innovative Small Businesses Collect Prestigious Industry Awards

Two innovative small businesses based in the City of Salisbury have been recognised for their development of innovative products at several recent awards.

XPed, based at Mawson Lakes, won the Research and Development category in the South Australian section of the prestigious iAwards.

The iAwards honours companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation and recognises the achievements of home-grown Australian innovators.

XPed was recognised for its ADRC Platform, a revolutionary technology that allows anyone using their smartphone to connect, monitor and control electronic devices and appliances found in our everyday environment. ADRC has the capability to standardise the way we interact with the thousands of devices and appliances around us.

Salisbury South firm, K-Tig, won the Innovator Award at the DTC Defence Industry Awards.

The awards, organised annually by the Defence Teaming Centre, are the peak industry event and play a critical role in identifying and acknowledging the contribution of leading companies within the defence community.

K-TIG has developed an ultra-high-speed, full penetration welding technology that welds up to 100 times faster than conventional welding in materials up to 16mm in thickness – in one pass.

“It’s tremendous to be acknowledged by the defence industry as a leading innovator” said Belinda Latz, K-TIG Operations Manager who accepted the award. “Innovation is literally at the core of what we do, and this award comes at a very exciting time in the development of our company and technology”.

What’s happening to your supply chain? Lessons learned for manufacturers in Adelaide’s north.

The manufacturing industry supply chain in South Australia is currently undergoing significant shift. As we see increasing changes in the manufacturing industry in business ownership (sales, amalgamations, liquidations etc.) there are also changes to customers and to how businesses fit in to an evolving supply chain. For many, the key business contacts just aren’t there anymore!

The Polaris Centre’s manufacturing team held a series of workshops attended by over 50 local businesses in April & May which highlighted the supply opportunities to the City of Salisbury. These workshops were relevant to businesses wanting to supply to any Local Council. The workshops covered what Council is actually buying, the opportunities for you, and the actual tendering process and how you can position your business to meet key tender requirements to improve your tendering/quoting success.

Also, in May the Polaris Centre manufacturing team assisted the Industry Capability Network (ICN) in SA put on an information session attended by 23 business owners which gave practical suggestions on how businesses can improve their profile page and hopefully increase the number of supply opportunities they receive from Government.

The Polaris Centres manufacturing team have for a while been promoting opportunities for participating in the State Government supply chain via the Meet the Buyer events hosted by the Office of the Industry Advocate. The Industry Participation Advocate, Mr Ian Nightingale, was also speaker at our recent Northern Business Breakfast attended by over 120 local businesses. This again giving Northern Adelaide Businesses that exposure to new business opportunities they can pursue.

Lessons learned for all businesses that want to expand their supply chain partners are:

The importance of STEM

A recently released report by the Office of the Chief Scientist highlights the importance of STEM and the need to increase the emphasis on engaging young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This is based on a survey of 486 employers across Australia.

These disciplines have been an important element of northern Adelaide’s economy for many years due to our significant manufacturing base but STEM skills will increase in importance as our local economy develops. STEM employees were nominated as being among the most innovative by 345 of 486 employers. Despite this, just 15 per cent of the working age population have a STEM qualification (Certificate III or above).

Most modern economies in the world are working to harness the technological and innovation advantages that a STEM education can bring.

At the Polaris Centre we recognise the importance of STEM training. The Northern Advanced Manufacturing Industry Group (NAMIG) is located within Polaris. Despite existing on limited resources, NAMIG has long been recognised as a leader in the delivery of practical industry-based STEM programs.

Its C2C Programs provide a way for schools and businesses to work together to provide students to apply STEM principles in an industry context. Recent years have seen the expansion of the model to schools outside the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

C2C helps schools and students to develop the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of advanced manufacturing processes and possibilities through solving a problem that requires a product or service. Assisted by industry partners, students take the product from the concept, through research and development, production and quality assurance to the final creation and marketing. Along the way they use science, maths and technological knowledge they learn in their school subjects.

The findings of the report by the Office of the Chief Scientist are nothing new. Indeed this has been the subject of many reports over the years. Given the importance of these skills to our economy, a coherent policy response is needed that integrates national objectives, school curriculum, and locally based programs.


Great news for women who are small business owners.

The Northern Adelaide’s premier event for business women: The Northern Business Women’s Network (NBWN) could be for you.

The NBWN is free to join and is supported by the Polaris Business and Innovation Centre. It holds regular networking events and seminars offering members a chance to meet and talk with other women in business. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere allows participants to easily share their business knowledge and experience in a supportive environment.

The March networking event attended by 35 business women was held at the Old Spot Hotel and our Guest Speaker was Jenny Paradiso, Managing Director of Suntrix. Suntrix is a 100% South Australian owned and operated company, specialising in selling, installing and maintaining domestic and commercial solar energy systems. Jenny and her husband David started the business from their kitchen table and with good business planning and customer service quickly turned it into a multi-million dollar venture.

Jenny told us all about herself and who she is – as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, employer and a business owner and shared with us her up’s and down’s through the quick growth of the business. It was a fantastic evening and you could hear a pin drop.

If you are a woman in business then join us at the Old Spot Hotel on the 20th May at 5.30pm for our next great event. Visit the Polaris website for registration details: or register directly at and we look forward to seeing you there!

Please join us at the Old Spot Hotel on the 20th May at 5.30pm for another great Business Women’s Networking Event.

Exporting, is it for me?

Todd Miller, TradeStart Export Advisor, spoke at the March  Northern Business Breakfast event.  The breakfasts are gaining a strong local following  as one of the largest monthly business breakfasts with up to 190 people attending.

Todd’s passion and enthusiasm for exporting was obvious.   His presentation drew on his experience when he ran his own business Aussie Inc. which exported various Australian consumer products including pet cleaning products, gourmet foods and even swags to the United States and Canada.

Some of Todd key tips for exporting include:

  1. Develop an Export Plan

Prepare and have an evolving Export Plan that is consistent with your Business Plan. It should be a concise document that outlines your export vision, market(s) you are targeting, your product offering and your expected outcomes and timing

  1. Research

Research, research, then research some more. You need to know about the market, conditions, any government or other import requirements. You need to know who your customer is, who your buyers are and how they may differ and/or respond to you and your company/brand/product differently to Australia. Get to know the cultural, social and business protocols in the market(s) you are targeting. Knowledge is power and will put you in good stead in your exporting success.

  1. Be prepared to put the time in

Exporting will take time, and in certain markets may take 3-5 years to ‘break through’. Make sure you have the capability and have a budget for this.

  1. Don’t give up

Starting your export adventure is very much like when you started your business. You need to be planned, organised and focussed, and don’t give up.

With Todd’s recent appointment as an Export Adviser with TradeStart, a joint program between Austrade and the State Government he is able to draw on his commercial experience to advise and assist businesses to achieve success in their export endeavours. He is here to help northern Adelaide Businesses with strategy, planning, market selection and insights. Businesses that are export ready can join the TradeStart Network and gain access to Austrade Services worldwide.

Unlock your export potential with new funding program

Todd also detailed the new Export Partnership Program, designed for both the established or intending exporters.  It provides a grant fund tosupports eligible companies with export marketing activities. Further information on the program is available at

To find out more about export, including connections to the services which can be offered by Todd Miller please call the Polaris Centre on 8260 8205.

For next month’s breakfast on 22 April register here.


Industry-Led Training Programs Creating Opportunities

Recently I had the pleasure of attending an assembly at Salisbury East High School at which it launched its 2015 partnership with the Beacon Foundation.

The Beacon Foundation focuses on supporting young people to successfully transition from education to meaningful employment.

This is of vital importance to this region as youth unemployment in northern Adelaide is higher than the state average.

A key challenge for all stakeholders involved in senior secondary education is how to provide high-quality workplace and career exploration as a fundamental part of the secondary school curriculum.

Likewise a key concern for businesses is better alignment of the skills and education of young people transitioning from education and training to employment.

Programs such as the Northern Advanced Manufacturing Group’s Concept 2 Creation, based at the Polaris Centre and Northern Futures Pledge program are seeking to bridge these gaps by working with industry and employers on practical skill and workforce development programs.

Northern Economic Leaders based at the Polaris Centre have recently agreed to work with the Department of State Development’s Skills for Jobs in Region s program to provide information as part of the DSD Industry Leaders Network.

Relationships such as this, and the many excellent programs being delivered in northern Adelaide, aim to create a win-win situation for students and employers.

Northern Adelaide Economic Plan

At the Northern Economic Leaders event held at Mawson Lakes last week, the Minister for Manufacturing and innovation, The Hon Kyam Maher, announced the development of an economic plan for northern Adelaide.

According to Minister Maher, “The Northern Economic Plan will provide a roadmap for job creation, up-skilling workers, and diversifying the economy in Adelaide’s north.”

The plan is expected to outline a range of short, medium and longer term initiatives including industry diversification, small business capability development, utilising university research to create new opportunities, urban regeneration, infrastructure and workforce development.

The plan will cover the local government areas of Playford, Port Adelaide and Salisbury and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2015.