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Companies bidding to fix Aussie start-ups |

SEVEN foreign companies are bidding for a spot in a three-month course designed to boost start-up success.

The ANZ Innovyz START program, based on the successful US Tech Stars program, aims to fix Australia’s poor start-up record.

Program director Jana Matthews (pictured) says the immaturity of the Australian start-up scene shows up in the lack of returnees – the same people whose experience can smooth the way for new ventures.

“We don’t have the business people, the lawyers or accountants who have taken companies public over and over and over again,” she says. “The whole infrastructure is immature.”

Sydney start-up incubator Pollenizer last month teamed with Deloitte to measure Australia’s start-up ecology and found only 4.8 per cent of new businesses scaled up to sustainable profitable businesses.

The report also found the global capital of start-ups, Silicon Valley, was 6.7 times larger than Sydney, while Australia’s other recognised hubs – Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – had 65 per cent to 13 per cent of Sydney’s pulling power.

Matthews, who has been closely connected with the US’s second-largest start-up space in Boulder, Colorado, says the Innovyz START program will take its second round in January with a firm eye on global candidates.

via Companies bidding to fix Aussie start-ups |


Online retailer Etsy taps weaving, knitting skills to create export market | The Australian

Image representing Chad Dickerson as depicted ...ONLINE retailer Etsy is tapping Australia’s basket-weaving and jumper-knitting skills to create a major export market, with a forum for arty and crafty types to sell their handiwork to the world.

The company, which bills itself as “the world’s handmade marketplace”, focuses on home-made and vintage furniture, clothing and decorative items, with mass-produced merchandise strictly prohibited.

Chief executive Chad Dickerson said Australia was now the fourth-largest source of buyers and sellers for the company, which launched in the US in 2005 and made $US525 million in sales worldwide last year.

The site charges a flat US20c for listing an item for sale, and an additional 3.5 per cent commission on the sale price — well below online market leader eBay, which in Australia charges up to $3 per listing and 7.9 per cent sales commission.

Mr Dickerson, visiting Sydney for the Vivid Festival of creative arts, said the company had set up a physical showroom in Melbourne to highlight the quality of artists selling through the site, although the items on display were not for sale.

“It’s really to give people a sense of what is sold on Etsy,” he said. “We’re promoting it the same way as we do most of our marketing — through social media like our Facebook page and Twitter accounts, which both really help with word of mouth.”

Mr Dickerson is also conducting seminars for local designers on how to make the most of the site. “While we’re a business, we’re trying to do things to really help the selling community, not just our own bottom line,” he said.

“In the past we haven’t really invested in Australia, but now we’re putting our own people on the ground and investing in a big way to help train sellers to be successful.”

This month, the privately held company raised $US40m from a syndicate of venture capitalist funds in order to fund expansion projects, including a push into new markets outside the US.

Launched in 2005, the company boasts 875,000 sellers and 15 million users around the world.

via Online retailer Etsy taps weaving, knitting skills to create export market | The Australian.

Strange Random Craft Quote:

No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect. – George Bernard Shaw

Henschke winery excluded from Barossa Valley protection zone |

Justine Henschke, a sixth-generation member of the winemaking family, at the family's Barossa Valley property.ONE of the world’s great vineyards has been excluded from the zone aimed at protecting the Barossa Valley wine region from future development.

The Henschke winery, which produces the world-famous Hill of Grace – the main competitor to Grange and a wine drunk by the Queen in Australia last year – is excluded from the zone.

Parliament is debating legislation introduced by Planning Minister John Rau that protects both the Barossa and McLaren Vale regions from industrial and housing development – as well as from inappropriate commercial activity.

But Eden Valley, which includes the Hill of Grace vineyard, is not covered by the legislation because it follows local government zones, not wine zones or regions.

Henschke winery viticulturalist Prue Henschke said she had been writing to the State Government criticising the move since learning of the decision weeks ago.

“We’re going to be under completely different regulations. It goes back to the poor boundary decision made by councils,” she said. “If we see residential zone building … it will have a huge impact on us.

“There will be various restrictions if it does come to some different zoning other than agricultural.”

Ms Henschke said she could not believe the Government wanted to remove an area from the Barossa Valley with “substantial” historical elements.

David Ridgway, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, said: “If the protection was based on wine regions, which is what the Henschke family wants, Eden Valley would have been included … the Henschke family, which has been making Hill of Grace shiraz for more than five decades, is devastated by the news. It’s a hill of disgrace.”

Hill of Grace wine sells for up to $990 a bottle.

via Henschke winery excluded from Barossa Valley protection zone |

Strange Random Expensive Wine Quote:

“Never buy the cheapest wine in any category, as its taste may discourage you from going on. The glass, corks, cartons, and labor are about the same for any wine, as are the ocean freight and taxes for imported wines. Consequently, if you spend a little more, you are likely to get a better wine, because the other costs remain fixed. Cheap wine will always be too expensive.” — Alex Bespaloff, New Signet Book of Wine, 1986


It’s suit up or ship out at work as casual days become less popular |

Dos and Don'ts - photo by Herald SunOFFICE workers are ditching casual Friday and dressing more formally because they are worried about keeping their job in tough economic times.

Global recruitment companyHays said many of its biggest clients had told staff to suit up or ship out, ending the gradual trend to casual work attire.

Hays regional manager Lynne Beggs said many Australian employers ended their casual Friday policy after the global financial crisis.

“The GFC has changed things for employees and they are having to sharpen up,” she said.”Dress-down Fridays are certainly not as common as they used to be. The feedback we constantly get from clients is that for those people who are serious about their careers, what they wear to work is important.”

AMP economist Shane Oliver said because of the uncertain economic times people were dressing more formally because they were worried about their jobs.

“There has been a trend away from casual wear in the workplace, and the tougher economic times lead to more formal dress,” he said.

“Much of the dressing-down trend started with the IT sector in the 1990s, but as that declined many thought what is good for the IT sector is not appropriate for the broader industry.

via It’s suit up or ship out at work as casual days become less popular |

Strange Random Dress Code Quote:

“I don’t care about that dress code. When you always look good, it’s not a problem.” – Peja Stojakovic

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HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAYS: The nation’s 96-hour holiday |

AFTER three weeks of hard, insufferable labour since returning to work from the Christmas break, Australians are preparing for another well-earned rest.

Many Australians will celebrate that typically national trait – bludging – by taking not just Thursday off but Friday too, parlaying Australia Day into an epic four-day bender.

Bosses around the country are recognising the inconvenience of a Friday hangover and hedging their bets by encouraging staff to take annual leave and report to work on Monday.

One company in Sydney is branding its four-day weekend as “the Australian thing to do”. Many fans of on Facebook said today they had been told to take the day off too.

But for those workers less fortunate be warned – there could be consequences for showing up under the weather or worse yet – not showing up at all.

Stephen Cartwright, the CEO for the New South Wales Business Chamber, says we shouldn’t over-do it on Australia‘s national day of barbecues and Triple J.

“You need to be prepared for a typical working Friday or you should speak to your employer now about making alternative arrangements if there is going to be an issue.”

via HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAYS: The nation’s 96-hour holiday |

Strange Random Australia Quote:

“Australia is an outdoor country. People only go inside to use the toilet. And that’s only a recent development.” – Barry Humphries ( Writer, Actor and Comic, b.1934)


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