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Top ten business posts on The RiotACT in 2018

Amy McPhillips 19 December 2018

2018’s top ten business stories on The RiotACT showcased the dynamic ventures, innovators and initiatives in the ACT and district, including a novel way of dealing with dog droppings and a luxurious new way to travel.

10. The RiotACT expands ACT–NSW cross-border relationships with About Regional acquisition
RiotACT acquires About Regional

The news that The RiotACT was continuing to build influence and momentum as a news and opinion platform with the acquisition of About Regional, an emerging storytelling platform from South East NSW, entered the top ten in February.

The move was another solid step in The RiotACT’s journey to becoming the primary source of digital regional news for people in Canberra and its surrounds.

9. Funding to boost female tradie numbers in Canberra

Second-year electrical apprentice Leilani McGurgan from the ACT Property Group at work. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT Government this year launched a funding initiative to improve the gender balance in traditionally male-dominated trades, reported Glynis Quinlan in April.

The announcement sparked lively debate among RiotACT readers, who were quick to share their thoughts on the issue.

8. Bucking the trends in business – Monaro Screens

Dave and Deirdre Byatt have built the Monaro Screens business from scratch. Photo: Monaro Screens.

Glynis Quinlan’s tale of two public servants who threw in the towel and started their own business came in at number eight this year. Monaro Screens in Fyshwick is one of Canberra’s enduring success stories, but as with any good story, the plot is filled with fears, twists and hardship before personal drive and commitment won the day, wrote Glynis.

7. Faces of Canberra: Richard Rolfe

Richard Rolfe AM and Debbie Rolfe AM with the Governor General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). Photo: Supplied.

Richard Rolfe AM and Debbie Rolfe AM with the Governor General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). Photo: Supplied

Tim Benson’s profile of born and bred Canberran Richard Rolfe took out the number seven spot this year.

The philanthropist and business owner has always aimed high in life and business, Tim wrote. He explored what makes Richard Rolfe tick and what the future holds for the generous supporter of many Canberra organisations and charities.

6. Dung beetles – Canberra’s unconventional solution to handling dog poo

Gemma Thomson, Founder and CEO, Puppis Baw - Dung Beetles for Dogs. Photos: Supplied.

Gemma Thomson, Founder and CEO, Puppis Baw – Dung Beetles for Dogs. Photos: Supplied.

Gemma Thomson, founder and CEO of Puppis Baw – Dung Beetles for Dogs swears that dung beetles are nature’s solution to handling dog poo. She argues that they support an ecosystem and benefit plants and the Canberra environment. The idea of dealing with dog poo in this way certainly got RiotACT readers talking.

5. Flying High on fresh Canberra produce

The Flying High team: Taking on 'diabolical' tasks. Photos: Supplied.

The Flying High team: Taking on ‘diabolical’ tasks. Photos: Supplied.

Genevieve Jacobs entered the top ten business stories of the year with her report on the local team who won this year’s Smart Seeds innovation challenge. As part of the competition, young ACT professionals were told to sort out the next stage for the Canberra Airport’s development.

The winning team’s Flying High plan to develop a regional agri-business freight hub won both the competition and the airport’s attention – and that of many RiotACT readers.

4. Bucking the Trends in Business: Achieve Homes

Firas Zakout

Firas Zakout was inspired to start Achieve Homes after his father’s ‘horror’ building experience. Photo: Achieve Homes.

In an industry that’s renowned for fancy marketing campaigns, flashy display homes and sneaky sales agents who have a habit of over-promising and under-delivering, there’s one home builder in Canberra who’s doing things a little differently: Achieve Homes.

Our profile of director Firas Zakout took out the number four spot this year.

3. Edwina helps drive a safer journey for women

Caption: Canberra Shebah driver and mum-to-be Edwina Wright. Photo: supplied.

All-female ride share business Shebah is thriving across Australia, and Canberra has around 20 drivers, including local Edwina Wright. John Thistleton spoke to Edwina to learn more about how the Shebah service is driving a safer journey for women.

2. Phoenix launches crowdfunding campaign to save iconic music venue

phoenix crowd

Photo: Supplied.

2018 was a challenging year for the Phoenix Pub in the city. Ian Bushnell’s report that the venue had launched a last-minute crowdfunding campaign to keep its doors open and trade its way out of trouble took out the number two spot this year.

The iconic music venue ran into strife in the wake of a fire and subsequent rain damage and hoped to raise its target of $75,000 to pay debts and give it the breathing space it needs to stabilise the business.

1. Rail auction carriages to roll again in new Canberra-based tourism venture

The Southern Aurora. Eight of its former carriages are being refurbished for G'Day Rail. Photos: Flickr.

The Southern Aurora. Eight of its former carriages are being refurbished for G’Day Rail. Photos: Flickr.

The most popular story under the business banner on RiotACT in 2018 was news that carriages sold at the Australian Railway Historical Society liquidation auction are being reborn to give tourists a luxury armchair ride into eastern Australia’s regions.

Ian Bushnell wrote that Canberra duo and rail buffs Rodney Clancy and Simon Mitchell have big plans for the eight 1962 Southern Aurora carriages, which are being refurbished to as-new condition at the Lithgow Railway Workshops.

At the time of publication, Rodney and Simon were preparing to roll out their venture, G’day Rail, a nod to the great rail journeys, that will take travellers on ‘slow’, immersive tours through country towns, farmland, the bush and the outback.

Which business stories resonated most with you in 2018?


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