Category Archives: Member Stories

WR Engineering turns 50!

There are many reasons local business WR Engineering is a well-known and respected part of the Canberra community, not least of which is the 50 years of operations it is celebrating in 2017.

Research suggests the average lifespan of companies is 35 years – a benchmark WR Engineering has well and truly outstripped. Another way to think of it is that WR Engineering has been a presence in Canberra for nearly half the city’s lifetime.

Established in 1967 by Brian Read and Peter White, WR Engineering started its life as a metal fabrication business. Today the company is still owned by the family of one of its founders, with Brian’s son Wayne now at the helm.

In 2017, WR Engineering has grown from its original roots and are the specialists when it comes to garage doors, openers and accessories, garage door servicing and repairs, Colorbond fencing, custom screening and gates. It enjoys an excellent reputation for offering high quality products and outstanding service.

Part of its success lies in the partnerships it has built over the years. It has long been a B&D Accredited Dealer, a status not easy to achieve, and has a decades long relationship Lysaght.

While the businesses offerings may have changed over the years, its location has remained the same for half a century. The first WR Engineering shopfront opened at Isa Street, Fyshwick in 1967 and is still there, albeit with some modernisations, including a recent indoor renovation.

The company has strived to give back to the community during its life, and today is closely involved with AFL Canberra and the Tara Costigan Foundation.

On 15 November 2017, WR Engineering celebrated being 50 years young by holding a cocktail function to thank all of those who have helped it reach this point. The event at the National Arboretum honoured WR Engineering’s loyal staff, customers and suppliers.

Canberra Business Chamber congratulates WR Engineering on achieving this impressive milestone and looks forward to it continuing to be part of the ACT business sector for many years to come.

automed – WIN Business of the Month September 2017

Canberra's automed changing the face of livestock medication around the world

Congratulations to automed, our September 2017 WIN Business of the Month

20 September 2017

Congratulations to automed – our WIN Business of the Month for September.

Founded in 2012, automed develop innovative solutions for livestock medication delivery. The company’s product, also known as automed, was developed as a simple automatic weight based dosing system. The device has data recording capabilities to provide producers with a tamper-proof, auditable trail of all treatments delivered to livestock. automed now has an established customer base and distribution partnership network across Australia, USA and Canada, is entering the European and Asian markets, at the same time developing further innovative technologies for the livestock industry.

WIN NEWS and Canberra Business Chamber are seeking to celebrate the achievements of ACT businesses. Each month one local business will be named WIN Business of the Month and their most recent success will be the basis for a story on WIN NEWS.

If you are a member of the Chamber or you know of a business that is a member who has contributed positively to the ACT, please tell us all about it.

We are seeking nominees of all types – micro, small, medium and large businesses. You might want to nominate a business because they have recently expanded, have celebrated a milestone, secured a major contract or client, attracted people to the region or played a role in promoting the ACT, contributed to the community, been exceptionally innovative, or provided excellent service.

Canberra Business Chamber - WIN Business of the month … a WIN NEWS local initiative.

Kokonut Pacific: WIN Business of the Month July 2017

Kokonut Pacific WIN Business of the Month July 2017

Congratulations to Kokonut Pacific, our July 2017 WIN Business of the Month

Kokonut Pacific help to improve the lives of the rural population of tropical countries by increasing the utilisation of coconuts throughout the Pacific and the world.

In many remote tropical communities there are exceedingly high unemployment rates, yet there is an abundance of coconuts that have gone to waste. Kokonut Pacific allows villages to make the most of this valuable resource by providing these communities with the tools to extract Virgin Coconut Oil. This is done right in the village within one hour of opening a coconut.

By selling their virgin coconut oil, thousands of people in the coastal tropics achieve a higher standard of living. And as a social enterprise business, 100% of profits go back to Kokonut Pacific’s Niulife foundation which is further helping to assist Pacific coconut communities

Would you like to be our next WIN Business of the Month? Nominate now!

WIN NEWS and Canberra Business Chamber are seeking to celebrate the achievements of ACT businesses. Each month one local business will be named WIN Business of the Month and their most recent success will be the basis for a story on WIN NEWS.

If you are a member of the Chamber or you know of a business that is a member who has contributed positively to the ACT, please tell us all about it.

We are seeking nominees of all types – micro, small, medium and large businesses. You might want to nominate a business because they have recently expanded, have celebrated a milestone, secured a major contract or client, attracted people to the region or played a role in promoting the ACT, contributed to the community, been exceptionally innovative, or provided excellent service.

View the story that aired on WIN here.

Canberra Business Chamber - WIN Business of the month … a WIN NEWS local initiative.

Anti Grabbity: WIN Business of the Month – June 2017

Anti Grabbity - Canberra Business Chamber's WIN Business of the Month

Congratulations to Anti Grabbity, our June 2017 WIN Business of the Month

20 June 2017

Canberra entrepreneur Hollie Bell has taken the saying ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ to heart and developed the idea of adding prickly textured strips to the railings of her apartment balcony to keep her children from climbing over.

Anti Grabbity is a prickly textured strip that fits along the top of your balcony railing to prevent hands from grabbing hold. This makes it extremely difficult for small children to lean over the rail or pull themselves up. 

Not just for children either – it is the perfect barrier for reckless adults partying on hotel balconies.  Put a stop to planking and dangerous alcohol-fuelled behaviour.  The transparent strips connect together  to cover your balcony railing requiring only a few minutes to install.  Virtually invisible, they’ll keep any strata happy.

WIN NEWS and Canberra Business Chamber are seeking to celebrate the achievements of ACT businesses. Each month one local business will be named WIN Business of the Month and their most recent success will be the basis for a story on WIN NEWS.

If you are a member of the Chamber or you know of a business that is a member who has contributed positively to the ACT, please tell us all about it.

We are seeking nominees of all types – micro, small, medium and large businesses. You might want to nominate a business because they have recently expanded, have celebrated a milestone, secured a major contract or client, attracted people to the region or played a role in promoting the ACT, contributed to the community, been exceptionally innovative, or provided excellent service.

View all of our WIN Business of the Month winners.
Canberra Business Chamber - WIN Business of the month … a WIN NEWS local initiative.

Business Sector Coming of Age in Canberra

Canberra CBR Balloons over Questacon

Canberra celebrated its centenary just a few short years ago – we are now a young and vibrant 104! While we honoured our city’s longevity with a year of events, it is also worth recognising the staying power of many of our local businesses.

It is estimated that one in three new small businesses in Australia fail in their first year of operation, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year.

With these sort of statistics, it can be difficult to believe businesses can reach milestones like 10 years of operation, let alone 20, 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years.

A number of Canberra businesses turn 50 this year, meaning they have been part of the fabric of the ACT for nearly half its life.

One such business is WR Engineering, who marks its 50th year in business in the ACT in 2017. For half a century, WR has been helping Canberrans with their fencing and garage door needs.

WR enjoys a well-deserved reputation for serving every customer with utmost professionalism and integrity. During its 50 years of operation, this local, family owned business has generously supported the Canberra community, charities and sporting teams.

In March, Canberra’s Bean!Roasters was recognised as the best coffee roaster in Australia for the second time running. At the 2017 Australian International Coffee Awards (ACIA), Bean!Roasters took out the title of Champion Australian Roaster.

Three generations of the Sciannimanica family have been producing great coffee in Canberra since 1963. Today the family’s coffee centre in Fyshwick is a multi-purpose coffee house, warehouse and coffee education centre in Fyshwick, which attracts visitors and clients from afar.

The Snowy Hydro Scheme, which played an important role in Canberra’s development, is back on the public’s radar due to Federal Government plans for a major expansion.

Global engineering firm, SMEC, dates its origins back to the early days of the Scheme in 1949. SMEC has joined forces with Surbana Jurong and today has 110 offices in 40 countries throughout Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be invited to help GHD celebrate its 40 years in Canberra. GHD is one of the world’s leading professional services companies operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation. It provides engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services to private and public sector clients.

GHD has over 200 offices across five continents – Australia, Asia, Europe, North and South America – and the Pacific Region.

It is not only commercial businesses demonstrating their permanence in the ACT. Not-for-profit organisations have a long and proud history of helping our community.

Marymead hit the big 50 in 2017. Since 1967, Marymead has been delivering a range of high quality, family support services to children, young people and their families. Its programs and services include child and family counselling, early intervention programs, foster care, post separation support, parent education groups, and family and mental health support programs. Marymead also offers person-centred support services for people with disability and their families.

St Marks National Theological Centre has turned 60. St Mark’s strives to provide a program of high quality university-based theological education, postgraduate studies and research to people throughout Australia and overseas.

Other businesses getting on up there in years, include Carways (47 years), Broadlex Services (43 years), and ACT Steelworks (40 years).

These are just a few of the local organisations who have been with us for decades, and I want to congratulate all the businesses who are proving that sustainability is possible.

I would also like to encourage all businesses, no matter where they are up to in their lifespan, to take a moment to celebrate their achievements, such as a year of operation, and think about how far they have come and where they still want to go.

Robyn Hendry
CEO, Canberra Business Chamber

As published in B2B magazine  – June 2017

Bean!Roasters: WIN Business of the Month – May 2017

Bean!Roasters - WIN Business of the Month April 2017

Congratulations to Bean!Roasters, our May 2017 WIN Business of the Month.

Canberra’s Bean!Roasters has once again been recognised as the best coffee roaster Australia – taking out the title of Champion Australian Roaster for the second year running at the 2017 Australian International Coffee Awards (ACIA).

The company dominated at the March 2017 awards, winning three gold medals, three silver medals, 15 bronze medals and Champion Espresso for its Panama Red Bourbon blend.

Not surprisingly, Bean!Roasters is Australia’s most awarded coffee roaster.

Three generations of the Sciannimanica family have been producing great coffee in Canberra since 1963. Today the family’s coffee centre in Fyshwick is a multi-purpose coffee house, warehouse and coffee education centre in Fyshwick, which attracts visitors and clients from afar.

In their quest to deliver the freshest and finest quality beans, the Bean!Roasters’ team has continued to create perfect blends and single origin coffees, with each bean showcasing exotic flavours from around the globe; from the smooth and mellow textures of the South Americas, the earthy flavours of Indonesia or the bountiful bouquets of the African continent. And with their impressive, state-of-the-art Italian Brambati Roaster (The Beast), the expert roast masters are not only able to roast an enormous capacity of beans daily but also control every process, right down to individually cupping every batch of beans.

Nominate Your Business Now!

WIN NEWS and Canberra Business Chamber are seeking to celebrate the achievements of ACT businesses.

Each month one local business will be named WIN Business of the Month and their most recent success will be the basis for a story on WIN NEWS.

If you are a member of the Chamber or you know of a business that is a member who has contributed positively to the ACT, please tell us all about it.

We are seeking nominees of all types – micro, small, medium and large businesses.

You might want to nominate a business because they have recently expanded, have celebrated a milestone, secured a major contract or client, attracted people to the region or played a role in promoting the ACT, contributed to the community, been exceptionally innovative, or provided excellent service.

Canberra Business Chamber - WIN Business of the month … a WIN NEWS local initiative.

Academy of Interactive Entertainment: WIN Business of the Month for March 2017

Academy of Interactive Entertainment

Congratulations to Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), our March 2017 WIN Business of the Month

6 March 2017

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) is Australia’s most awarded 3D animation, game design and visual FX educator. Created as a non-profit organisation to grow the creative digital sector, AIE pioneered the development of specialist game qualifications and continues to innovate through industry partnerships and dynamic teaching.

AIE courses are practical, career-focused and delivered by industry experienced teachers in a seriously fun and creatively-demanding studio environment. AIE and its graduates have won many awards over the years and in 2016 AIE was named the Australian Small Training Provider of the Year for the second time.

WIN NEWS and Canberra Business Chamber are seeking to celebrate the achievements of ACT businesses. Each month one local business will be named WIN Business of the Month and their most recent success will be the basis for a story on WIN NEWS.

If you are a member of the Chamber or you know of a business that is a member who has contributed positively to the ACT, please tell us all about it.

We are seeking nominees of all types – micro, small, medium and large businesses. You might want to nominate a business because they have recently expanded, have celebrated a milestone, secured a major contract or client, attracted people to the region or played a role in promoting the ACT, contributed to the community, been exceptionally innovative, or provided excellent service.

View the WIN News story here.

Canberra Business Chamber - WIN Business of the month … a WIN NEWS local initiative.

Medical Symbiosis are our WIN Business of the Month for February 2017

Dex - Medical Symbiosis - WIN Business of the Month

Congratulations to Medical Symbiosis, our February 2017 WIN Business of the Month

20 February 2017

A new innovative Canberra start-up is poised to change the face of medical surgery in Australia, and certainly make things more comfortable for patients.

Traditional practice has been for patients to be asked to fast from midnight the evening before surgery. For patients with afternoon surgery or when surgery is delayed, this can often mean 12 or more hours without food.

Fasting is a precautionary measure to prevent pulmonary aspiration, which occurs when stomach contents enter the lungs, potentially blocking airflow and putting patients at risk for serious infections such as pneumonia.

While fasting guidelines are being revised and loosened, many patients still find themselves going without food for long periods.

A long fast may add to discomfort during recovery and actually use up energy needed for post-op recovery. Fasting can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness and dehydration. Dehydration can be serious and makes it difficult for nurses to draw blood for necessary tests.

Medical Symbiosis, the brain-child of Canberra medical professional David Reiner, is developing a new sustenance product that can be consumed up to one hour before surgery to ensure patient’s energy is safely replenished.

WIN NEWS and Canberra Business Chamber are seeking to celebrate the achievements of ACT businesses. Each month one local business will be named WIN Business of the Month and their most recent success will be the basis for a story on WIN NEWS.

If you are a member of the Chamber or you know of a business that is a member who has contributed positively to the ACT, please tell us all about it.

We are seeking nominees of all types – micro, small, medium and large businesses. You might want to nominate a business because they have recently expanded, have celebrated a milestone, secured a major contract or client, attracted people to the region or played a role in promoting the ACT, contributed to the community, been exceptionally innovative, or provided excellent service.

Canberra Business Chamber - WIN Business of the month … a WIN NEWS local initiative.

Canberra’s automed Changing the Face of Livestock Medication

Canberra's automed changing the face of livestock medication around the world

28 November 2016

Canberra’s automed Changing the Face of Livestock Medication Around the World

Many Canberra Region business success stories are built on the back of local entrepreneurs who have recognised a niche and developed an innovative product or service that has been passionately embraced by their target market.

The automed automatic livestock medication platform is one such success story.

On the market since 2015, automed was first conceived by company co-founders David Edwards and Samira Davoodi a decade ago.

“I grew up on a large farm located in central NSW,” automed CEO, David Edwards said. “My parents had a commercial piggery and did cropping and produced sheep. Agriculture was always a major passion of mine.”

This interest led to production of automed – a traceable, tamper-proof way of auditing drugs given to all animals from birth to the abattoir which signals the end of underdosing and overdosing.

The automed ergonomic, long-lasting applicator platform calculates the optimal medication for each animal, administers the dose and automatically records the data. automed supports cover drenching, pour-on and injectable medications. Users can access medication data from their phone, the web or their own management system.

In September 2016, automed took out an unprecedented three National iAwards. The iAwards recognise and reward ICT innovations that have the potential to have a positive impact on the community.

automed has applications for all parts of the livestock industry: beef, sheep, pork, poultry and dairy. Early demand for automed has been driven by pork producers. In both the United States and Australia two of the top pork producers have adopted automed.

“Uptake from large livestock producers in the United States has been significant as they realised very quickly the value proposition of automed,” Mr Edwards explained.

The automed team is looking to expand its reach in the US and Asia and work with its first European customers. automed also has plans for further research and develop newer modified delivery technology and development of its Australian-based production facility.

Being located in the ACT has been a key factor in the company’s success, according to Mr Edwards.

“Canberra is a major city with agricultural industries located just 30 minutes from its CBD. It is one of the best knowledge and technology eco hubs in the world.”

“We are thrilled by the number of high calibre ANU students approaching us because they are enthusiastic about our business and value the type of work experience we can provide them with,” Mr Edwards said.

“In addition, we have been very well-supported by the ACT Government, ColabitIT, Lighthouse Innovation and the Canberra Business Chamber.”

Through the Business Chamber, automed has accessed networking and education events.

“I am a big believer in networking. CBC provided an opportunity to expand our network and gain access to key resources, further expanding the automed brand,” Mr Edwards explained.

He recommends all Canberra-based startups consider joining the Chamber as it will help them make important contacts within the Canberra business community and develop relationships that can move their business forward.

New Member Shows it ‘Cares’

CareSuper announce sponsorship of Canberra Business Chamber

15 November 2016

NEW CHAMBER MEMBER SHOWS IT ‘CARES’

Canberra Business Chamber is pleased to announce its new principal sponsor – CareSuper.

CareSuper will be partnering with the Chamber to support local business by providing key networking and information services.

“We welcome CareSuper as a new member of the Canberra Business Chamber,” said Robyn Hendry, Canberra Business Chamber CEO. “We’re also thrilled to welcome CareSuper’s expanded team to their recently opened ACT office.”

CareSuper will be the major sponsor at several of the Chamber’s key events over the next three years, including its popular Business After Business events, the ACT Budget Breakfast and the CBC Golf Day.

“These are major events on our calendar and the support of members like CareSuper is critical to our ongoing ability to make these available to Canberra Region businesses,” Ms Hendry said.

“We thank CareSuper for its commitment to the Canberra Business Chamber and the local business sector.”

CareSuper CEO Julie Lander also embraced the partnership. “At CareSuper, we share the Canberra Business Chamber’s passion for helping businesses prosper. Along with reducing the administrative burden for employers and taking the complexity out of superannuation, we like to see ourselves as a trusted partner working with employers to make retirement dreams a reality for employees,” Ms Lander said.

“We are delighted to be working with the Chamber to support Canberra’s local businesses.”

CareSuper is one of the largest not-for-profit super funds in Australia. With over $11 billion in funds under management, it currently works with more than 65,000 employers and has almost 250,000 members. At the annual SuperRatings ‘Fund of the year’ awards for 2017, CareSuper won ‘Choice Super of the Year’ for the second year in a row.

CareSuper’s award-winning credentials make it a strong strategic partner for the Chamber – and a valuable option for managers and employees seeking a fund committed to delivering better outcomes for both employers and employees.


CARE Super Pty Ltd (Trustee) ABN 91 006 670 060. AFSL 235226. CARE Super (Fund) ABN 98 172 275 725

Bottles of Australia Taking on the World

Bottles of Australia taking on the world

14 November 2016

BOTTLES OF AUSTRALIA TAKING ON THE WORLD

“A guarantee of quality is essential,” Anton explained. “Because, we are the brand behind the brand. Other companies, like Puma and Asics, put their names on our product and they want to know they can be proud of what they are selling to their own customers.”

In its nearly 30 years of operation, Bottles of Australia (BoA) has seen water bottles grow in popularity from an essential hydration tool for high-level sportspeople, to a staple on everyone’s work desk, through to today’s must-have fashion accessory.

Over that time, water bottle design, materials, colour and even shape has changed and there are more players than ever in the water bottle manufacturing space.

What has set BoA apart, and seen it become the provider of choice for eight out of the ten sports brands available in Australia, is its commitment to pairing aesthetics and functionality.

Since it started manufacturing and printing bottles right here in the ACT in 1992, BoA has been a leader in water bottle innovation and has found many inspiring ways to utilise its home-base of Canberra to stay ahead of its competitors.

“When we started out, we partnered with the University of Canberra to run a design competition for industrial design students. We thought this was important as these students reflected our target market – young and active,” Bottles of Australia Director, Anton Pemmer said.

Two of the students who won this competition actually started working for BoA and are still engaged with development work today.

“The competition gave us new ideas and created an opportunity for students to have on their resume a commercially produced product based on their design, which was exceptionally valuable when they entered the workforce.”

However, what has kept customers coming back to BoA is the consistency and reliability of its products.

“We offer style, but never at the expense of substance,” Anton said. “Our customers know we make sure we get the fundamentals right and, at its most basic, a water bottle must hold liquid, not leak and be comfortable to hold.”

The plastics used by BoA meet the highest food and child safety standards.

So while called Bottles of Australia, the company’s reputation for excellence has made it popular around the world. It exports to 22 countries, including the United States, Canada, Russia, South Korea, France and Germany.

Demand also continues to grow at home. Each year in Australia, four per cent of the population will buy or be given a BoA hydration product.

“People sometimes question a global-brand being based in Canberra, but the region has most definitely contributed to our success,” Anton said. “The ACT is home to the Australian Institute of Sport, Sports Medicine Australia and leading tertiary education facilities. These partners and potential partners help us stay on the cutting edge as we can call on expertise outside of our own company.”

Canberra Business Chamber has also played a role in supporting BoA.

“Export development is an expensive and time-consuming business, particularly for a small to medium enterprises,” Anton explained. “Being able to team up with Canberra Business Chamber and take part in its Trade Missions has helped open doors for us.

“I personally believe that to get the most out of any membership, you have to take an active role and an interest in what the organisation you have joined is doing. This has been easy for us to do with Canberra Business Chamber as it has a great team who are always ready to help. We have taken advantage of available training courses and networking events. This has expanded our own networks and knowledge in many ways.

“Having a single voice for business in the ACT is good for business. We don’t have to agree with every position the Chamber takes on every issue, but we know they are always focused on doing what’s good for business and moving the sector forward.”

Anton’s final piece of advice is for anyone who believes in owning quality Australian made products: “Go home and turn your water bottles upside down. If they aren’t made by BoA throw them out and get one that is.”