ibCom have a framework that allows developers to quickly create apps, without having a deep understanding of backend stuff, like SQL or Azure. iBcom allows the designer to focus on the human rather than the technology. They are running an event in Melbourne on 1 March so if you are in the area – be sure to check it out!!
While we are on the topic of awards & recognition – don’t forget to nominate yourself for the Telstra Australian Business Awards! There is a fair bit of work involved in completing the business evaluation as part of the submission, but I think it would also be of great value for you to do and get an idea of where you sit along side your Australian counterparts!
Telstra Australian Business Awards
Prestigious and coveted, the Awards program celebrates the country’s entrepreneurs and innovators. It offers a unique chance for small to medium businesses to be recognised for their hard work, commitment and of course, success.
The Awards operate in every state and territory and are open to all Australian small and medium businesses to enter, offering five Award categories.
Businesses that enter the Telstra Australian Business Awards receive a 70-page report evaluating their business performance against independent benchmarking of core business indicators. These include business planning and performance, customer and financial management, HR, sales, marketing and product development. The Business Health Check helps entrants to grow their business knowledge – growing their business tomorrow by knowing where it is today.
Finalists and winners are catapulted into the spotlight and can win a share of $500,000 worth of prizes. New business opportunities flow as your public profile increases and you network with other leading SMBs.
All finalists and winners join the Telstra Australian Business Awards Network, allowing continued networking in a private and exclusive online environment.
So with great national exposure, a competitive advantage and an opportunity to grow your business world, there’s a lot to celebrate.
2012 Nominations are open. Entries open Monday 6 February 2012 and close midnight Monday 2 April 2012.
Are you running a fast growing or innovative start-up? If so, you need to enter the StartupSmart Awards – the premier awards ceremony for start-ups in Australia.
The submission deadline for the awards is 1 March, 2012 so don’t delay!
At StartupSmart we are passionate about discovering and shining a light on new ventures that are destined to be tomorrow's leading businesses.
The StartupSmart Awards for 2012 will be judged by some of Australia's leading entrepreneurs including Philip Weinman, Fred Schebesta and Amanda Gome.
As well as gaining the recognition of customers, suppliers and even potential investors, the fastest-growing start-up will win a $10,000 Private Media advertising package, to be presented at an awards ceremony in Melbourne in late March.
The awards include a list of 50 of Australia's fastest growing start-ups. The number one ranked business will walk away with the top prize.
Separate awards categories include Best Online Strategy, Best Product, Best Service, Best Green Start-up, Best Young Entrepreneur, Start-up Hero, and, for the first time, Best Start-up Investor.
There’s even an award for those of you still in the planning stages of setting up a business. The Best Start-up Idea winner will have their business plan analysed by industry experts.
Each of the top 50 and category winners will be profiled extensively on StartupSmart. Our sister publication, SmartCompany, will also cover the awards.
Our awards are easy to enter and will take just 10 minutes to fill out. Just by entering, your business will be mentioned in the popular StartupSmart Daily Newsletter in the lead-up to the awards, with a link back to your website.
Entries close 1 March, 2012. What are you waiting for?
Today I am pleased to officially announce BizSpark Plus, an extension of the Microsoft BizSpark Program in Australia. This program allows accelerators to offer each of their startups, up to $60,000 worth of Microsoft Windows Azure compute and storage over a 24-month period, at no cost.
In Australia a number of accelerators, have joined the BizSpark Plus program, including:
· Angel Cube
· Blue Chilli
· Founder Institute
· York Butter Factory
These BizSpark Plus partners were chosen for their exceptional ability to impact the Australian market through their influence in the entrepreneurial community and their proven success with early-stage startups.
The goal of the BizSpark Plus program is to help startups grow their business by offsetting cloud computing costs and enabling startups to spend time and money elsewhere so they can focus on solving their business challenges, learning from their users, hiring more developers, investing in marketing and promoting their business or gaining new customers.
Since its inception, the BizSpark Program has expanded its community to reach over 45,000 startups worldwide to help accelerate their success. BizSpark members gain access to a growing global network of over 2,000 partners that assist startups through financial and legal assistance, mentoring, networking and business advice.
Over time, we will be extending additional offers through our BizSpark Plus Partners. For more information about the program, visit http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/plus.
Today I am honoured to have a guest post that s a little bit different. It’s from a female non technical founder, who shares her experiences as a “Mumpreneur” as she worked towards launching her Business Art Buds. I met Anna when I presented at the Social Media Women event last year, and am particularly honoured to see some of the tips I gave to the attendees beings ones that she has also taken on board & mention in her list below.
Anna mentions some great places to look for support/events/advice in the Startup community here in Australia. In addition to those she mentions I always suggest Startups join some of the great online communities we have here in Australia to Support startups such as http://www.the-entourage.com.au and the online discussion group: http://groups.google.com/group/silicon-beach-australia - these are a fantastic way to connect with other local startups and hear about upcoming events. The Anthill Online Magazine is also a great resource for keeping up to date & getting great tips for your business: http://anthillonline.com/ and www.TheFetch.org is a great source of all the events happening in your local city.
Thanks Anna for sharing your personal experience and lessons learnt – I hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I did – and be sure to check out http://shop.artbuds.com/ to pick out some amazing artwork for the special little people in your life!
I think running a start up business is like having a baby. There's a lot of build up, preparation, anticipation and excitement until the actual birth/launch. Hopefully a beautiful afterglow and sense of achievement follows. Then there are lots of compromises, troubleshooting, lack of sleep and stress but somehow love and passion keep you going. The rewards do feel worth it if you are consistently nurturing and dedicated.
Yep, it’s definitely a real up and down path, full of challenges and accomplishments. There is a lot of advice and support available, but in reality nothing is set in stone. You take bits and pieces of information from a range of sources and you learn as you go. Common sense also goes a long way…
So as a mother and start-up entrepreneur of ArtBuds – Contemporary Art for Kids, (http://shop.artbuds.com/) I’d like to share my experiences of running an online business with a toddler in tow.
Let's start with the 'before' baby and running a business persona. I have always thought of myself as a great multi-tasker and action woman. If I had a goal I would generally achieve it. This included realising my teenage dream of living in Paris, to leaving my comfortable life and long term job to move interstate, to running my own brand insights consultancy whilst undertaking a Masters in Art Therapy. I also moved to Madrid with my Spanish husband and created a job for myself in a market research agency, despite not speaking Spanish or having a professional European network.
But this was all in my own time, in my own office where I had choices to work in silence or with music, have lunch or work through, stop and start at my own pace. Even working within the constraints of professional deadlines doesn’t quite prepare you for skills required to negotiate nap time, the level of patience for toilet training, the anger management needed when dark red lipstick is applied to cream carpet, texta on the walls…Now I have to multi-task around my toddler’s needs and routine which is generally much more noisy and unpredictable than you can ever plan around.
But just as kids are not robots, the online world moves so rapidly that we have to be agile and keep abreast of the trends, or more importantly create the trends.
My lesson: Giving birth is life changing, so my life and attitudes have also had to change. Whilst being goal oriented is necessary, it can be a bit rigid. It feels more liberating and productive to let go of what “used to be”, and focus on the now. I prefer to live in the present and adopt a broader forward thinking approach.
Although I would love my business to be further along its life cycle, it’s still really in the early stages. In the short 5 months since launch we’ve been tackling SEO and all its permutations, social media, content creation, video production, product development, PR and marketing angles, networking, market research and partnership opportunities.
There’s still so much to learn, and I think it’s realistic to say the business is at the same developmental stage as my toddler. Toilet training! It's a bit daunting, anxiety provoking, potentially a bit complex but a necessary and natural step we need to master so we can mature and advance. It really is time based and could take a few weeks or months, but we'll move onto the next stage when the time is right.
My lesson: It's all about being adaptable and flexible and dealing with the situation at hand, which sometimes changes tack without warning. Rather than getting anxious it’s also about being patient and remembering to celebrate the small steps that will help to maintain momentum when it gets a bit overwhelming.
My daughter goes to pre-school 5 days/fortnight. This roughly equals 10-15 hours of quality block time to work, sans any noise and toddlerville antics. Except for public holidays, school holidays or if she is sick, where those 10 hours a week can easily dwindle to no hours of clean lovely quiet time.
My priority has always been to put my daughter's needs first, otherwise why be a parent and why work from home to be with her? This is easier said than done! I am also conscious not to overuse the TV as a babysitter... so it's always a fine line providing a quality parenting environment and getting my work done to a decent level.
My lesson: Aim to work more efficiently and smarter not longer more stressful hours. It's taken a while to really learn this, and remains an ongoing challenge.
Whilst my husband and I take responsibility for all the important aspects of our daughter’s development and wellbeing she also spends time absorbing knowledge and new experiences from various people. She goes to pre-school, my mother helps out and on occasion we get in a babysitter or friend in, so we can remember why we got married in the first place.
Similarly, as it was advised to me early on, it's best to keep on top of all the important aspects of the business, and get support for the smaller tasks. I now delegate some tasks to a small team of uni students, but the important parts, like the finances and customer contact I retain direct responsibility.
My lesson: Don’t be too precious, delegate and get help wherever possible, so I can focus on the key aspects of the business. It’s also nice to feel like part of a team.
It is amazing how innately babies and children are programmed to know what to do. When my daughter was about 5 months old she started to rock on all fours. She would do this movement every night for about 2 months, avoiding sleep at the excitement of preparing her little body for the bigger reward – crawling, then walking.
It's so easy to have high expectations with the immediacy of social media. Through social media, you may have great buzz one day but the next day it’s another story receiving attention. My mentor warned me about this at our very first meeting. There might be spikes of interest along the way, but it’s about finding strategies that build and sustain these levels of interest.
My lesson: Keep focused on creative ways to build online marketing strategies that incorporate social media, but do not only rely on this for PR and marketing traction.
As a qualitative researcher I've spent many years talking to consumers, and advising companies about their brands, products and services. Think I could do this for myself? No way! It's too personal, I'm too close to it and I don't have the skills or expertise at this early stage.
My lesson: Get a mentor! You don't need to do it all, there are lots of experienced people who can help you. PushStart are fantastic and free.
I believe the ‘supermum’ ideal is a farce, no matter how many successful mothers appear to “have it all”. I’m still unsure what that means…but it’s just not possible to give quality parenting time, focused business time, not to mention partner time, domestic affairs and general life - without something giving way.
It’s almost a no-brainer that to fit in quality time why not work at night after the kids are in bed, or at obscenely pre-dawn hours, to get it all done. Well I did do this, for about three months. Then I got really sick with a terrible virus but still kept trying to do it all, until I eventually broke my big toe and got mouth ulcers and infected gums. Charming. Then under strict medical orders I had to rest for 2 weeks without doing anything, or risk serious illness…a really excellent situation for parenting and running a business.
My lesson: Make health a priority, without feeling guilty for taking time out to exercise and unwind. It provides crucial headspace and clarity. Some of my best ideas are from walking along the beach in the morning. It’s so obvious but also quite difficult to remember and action this.
As a new mother, when your baby cries a lot it can feel really debilitating. With sleep deprivation and no previous experience it can sometimes be hard to cope. Fortunately in Australia there are so many great organisations, nurses, doctors that can help during this time. Unfortunately, many mothers aren’t aware of them, or don’t want to appear helpless and suffer unnecessarily.
Similarly, as a new start-up with no previous experience, it’s impossible to glide along without any hiccups. There are so many organisations and experts willing and ready to offer support, and generally at no cost. It can also get overwhelming and sometimes isolating if you’re working from home. Reaching out to some of the numerous experts and general start up community by attending industry events and meetings can be so enriching and normalizing. Some great (Sydney based) ones include:
My Lesson: Get out to as many networking events as possible. You meet inspiring people, make great contacts, learn a lot and/or feel reassured you’re on the right track, and make potential friends in a similar situation. It feels good to get out and wear some heels too!
This is the trickiest one of all for me. Drawing from my art therapy experience (http://shop.artbuds.com/pages/meet-our-team), transference and counter transference (http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/6/1/57.full) is evident in any relationship we encounter. It's impossible not to get stressed as a parent, or running your own business, but projecting this anxiety, anger and potentially resentment onto a little person can have serious long-term ramifications. Their formative years are so crucial to shaping how they behave and who they become. I am reminded by the expression, "give me a child till he is 7 and I'll give you the man".
Just in case I lose my way, as can easily happen being a first time mum and new to online start-ups, my daughter guides me. Recently I had a lot of tasks to complete. I was feeling under pressure and my patience was being tested. I did many things that I shouldn't have: allowing too much time watching Cinderella and other Disney films, and losing my temper too often. Putting all this together - she said she was Cinderella and I was the stepmother! (NB: no offence to blended family stepparents).
My lesson: I love my business, but my daughter will always remain my best creation. Getting this into perspective has really allowed me to be a better mother and strive towards more efficient time management. As Zappos entrepreneur and motivational guru Tony Hsieh (http://about.zappos.com/meet-our-monkeys/tony-hsieh-ceo) advocates, find the happiness medium and success will follow. I know I’m on the right track when my daughter says, “Mum, you’re not the stepmother anymore, you’re the mummy and I love you”.
Nokia Workshops - Syd: Feb 16th & 17th, Melb: Feb 20th & 21st and Brisbane Feb 23rd & 24th
Be what’s next, register here for the Nokia series of workshops and learn how to create amazing Windows Phone apps and games that delight and entertain. Over the course of two days you’ll learn how to evolve your existing .NET development skills and become part of the lucrative mobile revolution.
The workshop is free of charge and you’ll have an opportunity to show off your creative development skills and be in the chance to get your hands on a Nokia Lumia with Windows Phone handset with a great App Challenge.
Nominate your Apps to be Featured
We know that having apps featured on the Windows Phone Marketplace helps drive downloads and your success. If you have an app that you’d like to nominated to be featured then head to http://wp.livews.net/pages/eventdetail.aspx?mt=B29FE415-756D-4926-8091-0BA29EDDA8A5&eid=aa62acf6-dc9d-4606-b4c4-0ed31f846774 .
Please note this offer is made to Australian based developers who registered in the Marketplace under Country/Region Australia.
Refer a Developer Buddy
If you have an Australian based developer or designer buddy you think would be interested in Windows Phone development then please refer them to http://wp.livews.net, they can request free Windows Phone Marketplace registration and devices for app testing.
This is your opportunity to network with Australia's largest community of young entrepreneurs, while rubbing shoulders with the speakers, panel members and investors...
Click here to watch a video of the last Unconvention!
Australia's top entrepreneurs, investors, top tier business brands, government officials and 400 high-growth companies are all coming together for what is Australia's largest event for entrepreneurs under 40. So why do you need to make sure you're there with us?
All of the Unconventions held in 2011 were sold out well before the event date, and these events are now under 3 weeks away...
CLICK HERE to see the details for when the event is in your city!
They've almost hit capacity for the Cofounder Speed Date event on Monday 20th, but we've manage to get our hands on 5 half-price Tech Founder tickets to give away to BizSpark developers!
Niki Scevak of Start Mate has been confirmed as the guest speaker, and there will be free beer and pizza at the event.
In other words – its going to be AWESOME so if you are looking for a Co-Founder be quick & register now!!
To get the half price tickets, go to www.cofounderspeeddate.com.au and use the promo code "MS212". Be quick, there's only 5 discounted tickets, so it's first-come first-served.
I was invited today (yes on Valentines Day) to the Launch of a cool new app called CoFounda that is designed to match you up with your Startup Soul mate!
“One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is finding the right cofounder for their idea or project, the process can be a long, arduous and demotivating task, our goal is to change that” says Dan Filmer, CEO cofounda. New Smartphone app cofounda is set to change the way people connect with each other both locally and globally to share ideas and work towards making them happen. It’s currently only available on Android & iPhone – but the Windows Phone version isn’t too far off! Cofounda combines Geo location technology and instant messaging to assist members to connect with potential cofounders, consultants, resources and services that will assist in making their startup journey successful. Users are able to chat in real time with those that have complementary skillsets and interests vitally important to their ideas success
Congratulations to Mat, Angela, Dan & Jarrod on the successful launch!
Aurelius Digital is pleased to invite you to its next angel investment dinner. We had an outstanding group of entrepreneurs pitch at the AngelCube special event in November and equally, we are very excited about the strength of startups that have applied to pitch at the upcoming event. Again we are bringing pre-qualified investors together with pre-qualified entrepreneurs. Word of mouth continues to drive high quality deal flow to the dinners, enabling Aurelius Digital to identify the best new ventures in the market. The dinners continues to have one of highest investment success rates of any angel network anywhere, which we attribute to the model and to the calibre of the people in the room. The event has kindly been sponsored by Xero.
Wednesday 29th February 2012 – 6:30pm start
$150 cash per person on the night direct to the restaurant (or $159.99 using credit card via Eventbrite). Includes three beautiful courses - beer, wine and soft drinks are included in the price for the whole night.
The Botanical – 169 Domain Road, South Yarra
Number 8 tram runs from Swanston right to the door of The Botanical or it’s a very short cab ride from the city.
Seats are strictly limited so please reserve your place ASAP via Eventbrite
Ever had that problem where you ordered a Taxi & keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting? The guys at Go Catch have had that happen to them 1 too many times and so have set out to solve that issue for us all!
We first met Ned and the Go Catch team (then know as Taxi Mate) at our Sydney Azure & Phone 7 BizSpark weekend, that they went on to Win with their App using an Azure backend created across the weekend….
Since then we have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the Phone 7 Application & in great news – today is that day!
So get your hands on this top little app that will help you the take the stress out of booking your next taxi!
Congratulations guys, the app looks great!
I have noticed a marked increase in BizSpark companies that are interested in or focusing on game development or computer interaction so I thought i would remind everyone in case you missed it that the Kinect for Windows Sensor & Software Development Kit are now COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE! Whooohooooooo! For just $296.00 you can have one of these hot little kits in your hands.
Microsoft Kinect for Windows
Kinect has changed the way people play games and experience entertainment. Now, Kinect for Windows offers the potential to transform how people interact with computers and Windows-embedded devices in multiple industries, including education, healthcare, retail, transportation, and beyond.
The release of the Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) for commercial applications opens up the limitless possibilities offered by Kinect technology. Together, the hardware and software offer a superior development platform for Windows and a higher quality, better performing experience for end users.
• Utilize Kinect skeletal-tracking, sophisticated microphone array, and other sensor technologies
• Explore the limitless opportunities to transform products, processes, and businesses
• Link computers to Kinect devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8 Developer Preview
• Run applications built with the Kinect for Windows Commercial Software Development Kit (SDK)
• Use the Kinect for Windows SDK (download at www.kinectforwindows.org) to build applications with C++, C#, or Visual
Studio Basic by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
The Kinect for Windows sensor unit is intended to be used with the following:
• Kinect for Windows Commercial SDK (download at www.kinectforwindows.org)
• An application that was developed using the Kinect for Windows Commercial SDK and associated runtime software.
Note: The sensor unit does not ship with any software, and will only operate with an application developed for Kinect for Windows.
What’s in the Box
• Kinect for Windows sensor
• USB/power supply cable
• 32 bit (x86) or 64 bit (x64) processor
• Dual-core 2.66-GHz or faster processor
• Dedicated USB 2.0 bus
• 2 GB RAM
• Requires Windows 7 or Windows Embedded Standard 7
Need a cofounder for your startup? Want to work in a startup, but don't have any ideas of your own?
A common challenge that we see in the local Startup community here in Australia is the difficulty in finding a good cofounder for your startup. This year, we will be working with the guys at CoFounder to run regular "speed dating" style networking events to connect tech founders with business founders.
Whether you're looking for a cofounder to help with your startup idea, or you want to find a startup to join, Cofounder Speed Date is the fast and fun way to meet cool people with the skills you need to build a successful startup team.
You'll get to meet 13 potential cofounders and listen to a guest speaker from the tech startup community. Beer and pizza is also included. For details and tickets, visit cofounderspeeddate.com.au