Startups leading the way at Canberra Innovation Network’s Innovation Showcase

Neha Attre 30 November 2020
Heaps Normal

Heaps Normal is working to normalise mindful drinking by brewing non-alcoholic beer and will be one of the startups competing for the prizes at Innovation Showcase on Wednesday 2 December. Photos: Supplied.

This year’s annual Innovation Showcase by Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) will see 10 companies competing in a high intensity 90-second pitch format.

Chief Executive of CBRIN Petr Adamek said that this isn’t a typical investor pitch.

“The startups will be pitching to a high calibre of judges. They have to thoroughly prepare and discover how to best talk about their innovation in 90 seconds to a general audience,” he said.

“We are encouraging the Canberra community to get involved by hosting their own watch parties and to tune in live from 3:00 pm. All registered viewers will receive a downloadable party pack which includes sweeps, games, trivia, photo competition and voting instructions.”

Petr Adamek

Chief Executive of the Canberra Innovation Network Petr Adamek said the startups will be pitching to a high calibre of judges.

This year, Heaps Normal, which is normalising mindful drinking by brewing non-alcoholic beer, will be one of the startups competing for the prizes.

“We are excited that we have an opportunity to pitch in front of the judges. It’s a chance for us to present our business and progress to an incredible panel of experts and get their feedback on the business,” Andy Miller, co-founder and CEO of the company said.

Heaps Normal is a dedicated non-alcoholic beer company that has grown out of Canberra and is now stocked in 200 venues around the country. The company was recently valued at $7.2 million.


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“The motivation for us to be a part of the Innovation Showcase is to have that audience for our brand story. We also want to participate in the startup ecosystem and encourage other founders who have great ideas to act on them and inspire the next round of great Australian startups,” Mr Miller added.

“Often companies that are focused on cultural innovation are overlooked in favour of technical and digital innovation. Hopefully, there are other founders out there who will be inspired to create companies that are also innovating from a cultural point of view.

“The biggest difference we are bringing to the category is ending the conversation around sobriety because to be someone who drinks non-alcoholic beer, you don’t have to be one abstaining from it.”

The four Canberra judges are Professor Brian Schmidt, Nobel laureate for his discovery of dark energy and Vice-Chancellor of the ANU; Group Editor of Region Media Genevieve Jacobs; John De Margheriti, CEO and Chairman of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment; and Cindy Mitchell, ACT Woman of the Year, and founder and CEO of the Mill House Ventures.

The Canberra Innovation Network is a not-for-profit organisation that provides programs and supports to entrepreneurs, innovative businesses and researchers, strengthening the position of Canberra as a clever, connected, and creative city where entrepreneurs and businesses build on the city’s excellence in research and innovation to create social and economic benefits for all citizens.

The Showcase will be held on Wednesday, 2 December from 3:00 pm. Viewers can register here.


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