July 28 After 5.

An enthusiastic audience of over 60 local business owners, many of whom were visiting for the first time, enjoyed an information-packed networking function at the Smithfield RSL (“the home of the Cumberland Business Chamber”). Some had traveled from the Central Coast and Southern Highlands to be there. Those marathoners included the chair of the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Industry Kurt Newman and fellow members. CBC and the SHCCI are in the process of becoming affiliate members of each others’ organisations. Greater Blacktown Business Chamber was represented by Frank Webb. Geoff Starr was there from the NSW Business Chamber (CBC is a member).

Keynote speakers were Patrick Muraguri from AusIndustry’s Entrepreneurs Program and Dr Tosin Famakinwa from the UWS’s SCEM (School of Computing Engineering & Mathematics) product realisation hub.

Patrick provided a thorough overview of the Federal Government’s new flagship for businesses turning over $1.5M p.a. or more – it has replaced the Enterprise Connect program.

They have centralised all of their information at www.business.gov.au

There are 14 programs which include:

– Aust. Small Business Advisory Services

– Research Connection

– Tradex

– Accelerating Commercialism

– Business evaluations

– Business Growth Grants

– R&D Tax Incentives

– More than 100 advisors

These and the many other services (eg. bench marking, management advice, research, connecting to networks, supply chain facilitation, technical advice…) are provided free of charge.

[for more information contact the CBC office]

Dr Famakinwa wowed the gathering with videos and real samples of 3D printing – one of which was a skeleton of a foot inside a moulded clear foot which had the suppleness of skin.

He explained that SCEM has a wide range of product realisation technologies which are available to businesses wanting to innovate and invent. By developing the product with 3D printing – rather than going straight to multi-axis CNC manufacturing – the costs are reduced dramatically. So too is the production time. Some objects can be printed in just hours.

Dr Famakinwa said 3D models are ideal for product designers – they can touch and feel the product while they fine tune it – and for marketing purposes – a realistic life size model can be presented to investors or management to get their approval. The model can also be used to design the packaging…all before the first “real” working product has been made!

SCEM is open on Thursdays each week for businesses to visit and discuss product ideas.

[for more information contact the CBC office]

 

It was noted by President Craig Hingston that Australia is ranked second worst in the world for manufacturing collaborating with universities for research and development. A trend that must be reversed if Australia is to become a niche high-end product developer to the Global Village.

Inu Rasa then took the microphone to explain WSFAM – the UWS’ Western Sydney Future Advanced Manufacturing initiative which has been developed to assist businesses in the Greater West. Julianne Christie, the Economic Development Officer for the Fairfield City Council, explained how she had come straight from the site of this week’s massive fire at the John Coote furniture factory near Yagoona. She explained how Council is able to advise and assist businesses to be prepared in case they are one day impacted by a direct fire or the affects of a nearby fire (eg. loss of power, loss of stock, etc.). Earlier, Andy Chin the Council’s Marketing Manager advised that they are running 3 free business building breakfasts in August (13, 20, 27) on Digital Media at their Wakeley offices. The guest speaker is highly acclaimed ‘guru’ Luke Hodges.

There was an electric buzz in the room as everyone mingled and made new contacts.

The next After5 is at the same venue on Tuesday August 25.