If you’re one of Canberra’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, you probably already know about First Wednesday Connect at the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN).
The monthly event gives entrepreneurs and founders one minute on stage to ‘pitch’ to the gathered crowd and introduce their idea to get word out about their business and change the world.
The businesses at First Wednesday Connect event are all at different stages of development; some are a one-person business operating out of a home office, others have 20 staff in three different countries.
CBRIN also provides entrepreneurs with business contacts, workshops, and expert advice and mentoring in all areas of business and start-up investment, and is the home of the business incubator, the GRIFFIN Accelerator.
Attending the March event, PPB Technology founder and CEO Stephen Trowell said his company’s product, CyberTongue, will revolutionise the way testing is done in the food industry. It will help ensure food safety and quality professionals can obtain information in real-time, rather than the current period of days or a week that it takes to detect toxins, antibiotics, mycotoxins, spoilage enzymes, ‘lactose-free’ status, allergens and heavy metals in food.
“I started attending CBRIN’s First Wednesday Connect before I left CSIRO,” said Stephen, “because I wanted to understand the local support infrastructure for entrepreneurs in the ACT and to begin networking.
“CBRIN has been pivotal to our company’s survival growth to date; it has informed me about and administered two grants that were critical to PPB Technology’s growth – the ACT Government’s ICON grant and the GRIFFIN grant. CBRIN also introduced me to the GRIFFIN Accelerator and their business mentors.”
Quantum Brilliance COO Mark Luo said his company was able to thrive during the COVID-19 lockdown with the expert help of the CBRIN team.
“CBRIN’s mentorship, despite the COVID recession, was one of the drivers to help Quantum Brilliance’s rapid growth. We now have over 20 staff and international partners in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific,” said Mark.
Quantum Brilliance is working to produce a diamond-powered quantum microprocessor that operates at room temperature by 2025, solving one of the blockages to exponential growth in computing power, similar to the leap from vacuum tubes to transistors in the 1940s, which allowed us to advance to the personal computer and mobile phones.
Another bright Canberra idea, Hey Fritz, wants to make people aware of how they consume and band together as a community to make better use of what we have. Hey Fritz is a platform that allows people to connect with their community and share items, spaces, and services to redefine ownership, strengthen the community, and reduce unnecessary waste.
“How many times do you use a drill?” asked Sammy Williamson, director of Hey Fritz.
“On average, a drill gets used for 13 minutes before ending up in landfill.
“Hey Fritz has had the most outstanding help from CBRIN staff who have a wealth of experience and networks relevant to pursuing entrepreneurial ideas. Their guidance has proven to be valuable in establishing our missions, goals, and strategies,” she said.
Accelerating Commercialisation Facilitator Andrew Barley said he is working with businesses in all industry sectors and supporting those that may be suitable for commercialisation grants.
“The grants support companies who are taking new technology to market,” said Andrew, “we work with all industry sectors and have some fascinating companies working in areas like quantum computing, vertical farming, renewable energy, medical devices, and ag-tech.”
CBRIN serves over 10,000 entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses each year through its programs and events. The support is different for everyone using CBRIN’s services, from business growth workshops, introductions to networks, support and finding new customers or mentors, and a great office environment to work in.
Register now for First Wednesday Connect on the first Wednesday of every month (check the website for the venue details), or book a free intro chat to see if your business idea to change the world is eligible for investment or grants.