Raise your glass to a good cause

Being located along South Australia’s Limestone Coast, the vineyards of winemaker The Hidden Sea were once covered by a vast ocean and home to a thriving marine ecosystem. “Ancient mineralised relics, including an extraordinary 26 million-year-old whale fossil, and an extensive museum of marine life, now lay buried beneath the alluvial soils of this World Heritage wine region,” the venture’s co-founder, Justin Moran, says.

This marine heritage is one of the key factors that drove Justin and fellow co-founder Richie Vandenberg to launch The Hidden Sea with a very specific mission – to remove plastic from the oceans.

Richie and I are not only good friends, but we also share very similar values and the drive that our business should have a higher purpose,” Justin says. “So, yes, The Hidden Sea is a commercial business, and we need to make a profit, but a profit from work that benefits humanity.”

Although best known for a ten-year career in the AFL with Hawthorn – he captained the club from 2005 to 2007 – Richie grew up amongst the vineyards and has over 12 years’ experience as a grower, and more than 25 years’ association with the wine industry through his family enterprise. Serial entrepreneur Justin has successfully built and sold businesses in the retail, restaurant, nightclub, FMCG, entertainment and technology sectors. “Our wines are soft and round, approachable and true to variety,” Richie enthuses. “We make wines for people that care, so when someone buys our wine, they’re not just satisfying their own immediate needs but also contributing to something much larger than themselves, and our wines must therefore reflect this trust.” The origin of the ‘terroir’ on which the wines age grown is celebrated through the depiction of the ancient fossil on the labels of the Hidden Sea range.

“Of the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced since its invention in the 1930s, only nine per cent has ever been recycled.”

The pair believe that consumers are looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves. “We enable them to achieve this through the simple purchase of wine,” Richie explains. “For every bottle sold, we remove 10 plastic bottles from our oceans and recycle them through our partner, ReSea Project.” Every collection the business makes is audited and traced through an on-bottle QR code system. The ReSea project supports coastal communities, with local fishermen supplementing their income by removing plastic from rivers and the ocean, and in so doing improving their earning potential from their primary role by helping marine life flourish in a plastic-free environment.

“Since the 1 July 2020, we have removed and recycled over 1.2 million single-use plastic bottles from our world’s oceans,” Justin says, adding that that figure equates to 21,000 kilograms of plastic being removed. “What we are proud of at The Hidden Sea is that this result is not a percentage, or case sales, or profit – it’s a tangible impact on our ocean that is quantifiable.”

Justin and Richie have a specific long-term goal for the business. By 2030 they aim – with the help of their customers, market partners and retailers – to remove a billion plastic bottles from the oceans and recycle them.

Ultimately, Justin says that industry around the world needs to build a circular economy for plastics, so that plastic bottles and packaging is constantly recycled and reused, rather than being discarded and going to landfill. “Of the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced since its invention in the 1930s, only nine per cent has ever been recycled,” Justin laments. “This alarming statistic means that every human now consumes enough plastic each week to make a credit card through their normal diet, according to research by the WWF.”

This story first appeared in issue 32 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine

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Q&A: Very good snacks for the whole family

Sally Breden is a mum of three who spent 20 years working in product development and marketing for large Australian health and wellness brands. Determined to meet the needs of allergy sufferers across the country and provide parents with tasty school lunchbox safe alternatives, Sally has started her own business, VGood, and last month secured distribution for the brand in Ritchies and Drakes IGA stores.

ISB: What inspired you to consider developing spreads without nuts or allergy-triggering ingredients?

SB: As a working mum with young children, I experienced first-hand the demand for time saving, no-fuss lunchbox solutions, and the lack of good tasting, healthy and affordable sandwich spread options that are suitable for nut-free school environments. I saw what a huge opportunity there is to offer not just allergy-suffering families, but all families, with something that provides parents with healthy options that also capture the imagination (and taste preferences) of their children. My goal with VGood is to make healthy options accessible to more people, regardless of their dietary needs or choices, or their family budget.

ISB: How do you make sure that the taste remains as good without those ingredients?

SB: We partnered with an amazing R&D facility to better understand the science behind recipe development, ingredients and flavours. Chickpeas have a naturally nutty flavour when roasted so they were an excellent starting point for a nut-free peanut butter alternative. We started with many, many kitchen-sized batches, engaging family, friends and neighbours to test different flavour profiles, optimising the balance of sweet and salt, and the most favourable “peanut” flavour.

ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting VGood off the ground, and how did you overcome it?

SB: Scaling from kitchen-sized batches to commercial large-scale production was a huge challenge. We experienced some massive failures that delayed our launch, but these resulted in some of our most important lessons around cooking our recipe.  Finding solutions always requires a team of people and we now have a fantastic team who understands intimately how the recipe is “put together”.

ISB: And, conversely, how has your experience in product development and marketing for health and wellness brands helped you with this business?

SB: There are many people with great ideas out there, but executing the ideas can be the hardest part. I’ve worked on quite a few product launches in the health products space so I understand what it is you need to do to get started and most importantly, what people and experience to engage with to make things happen. Project management and managing a timeline and a budget are critical skills to launch a product, but most importantly I’ve learnt that success is going to come with passion, commitment, determination and willingness to make mistakes and get your hands dirty.

ISB: What is your vision for the development of the business in the next couple of years?

SB: The priority for now is to focus on the massive job we have in building our brand and showing consumers what we are all about so they feel confident about buying our products. At the moment, we are focussed on the Australian and New Zealand markets and building the distribution of our three spreads and the Twist snack range as broadly as possible across grocery, health and speciality food stores so VGood is accessible to more people.

New markets are a huge opportunity and that is a focus for the medium term, we have interest from a large USA retailer and a few European retailers. On top of that, the VGood team has a long list of new product ideas and I’m busting to get these up and running!

ISB: And, finally, what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on your journey you’d share with others looking to start their own business?

SB: Be prepared to make lots and lots of decisions, and accept that some of them may be the wrong ones that you have to take in your stride and learn from. If you don’t make the decisions yourself, then who will? The business won’t move forward.

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Mars and Microsoft work together to accelerate Mars’ digital transformation and reimagine business operations

Relationship fuels Mars’ transformation into digital-first company, propelling rapid innovation and growth and empowering Associates to focus on what they do best

Chocolates in factory

MCLEAN, Va., and REDMOND, Wash. – May 13, 2021 – Mars and Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced that the companies are expanding their long-term relationship with a new agreement to accelerate Mars’ digital transformation by leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform to optimize its operational speed and intelligent manufacturing supply chains. Together, the companies are working to integrate transparent and responsible data, AI and digital technologies into Mars’ global portfolio of confectionery, petcare, pet services and food businesses. This work positions Mars to further embrace market-leading digital technologies and capabilities, intelligent manufacturing and personalized customer engagement, and improved digital skills training for Associates.

Working with Accenture as a partner to Microsoft, the companies are further expanding a unified cloud and data foundation across all Mars businesses on Microsoft Azure, helping Mars achieve its “cloud-first” strategy and significantly fast-tracking its cloud journey as well as the realization of business growth. This digital infrastructure is providing Mars with the business insights needed to accelerate growth, profitability, speed, resiliency, sustainability and, most importantly, build and develop trust with customers and consumers by offering more responsible, transparent and compelling experiences. For example, as one of the world’s largest petcare companies, Mars is driven to make a better world for pets. The company has leveraged the Azure platform to create AI-powered applications and services to support its business.

“Our relationship with Microsoft is helping transform how data and technology are used to continue ensuring compliant customer solutions and build trusted brand and consumer experiences. It will change the relationship between our brands and consumers, deliver hyper-relevant consumer experiences that include content and media, and fulfill needs and expectations across every touchpoint in the consumer’s journey,” said Sandeep Dadlani, chief digital officer, Mars. “After evaluating all the platforms on the market, we chose Microsoft as our primary Mars platform because of its rich portfolio of features, engineering partner ecosystem, talent availability, focus on data privacy, and security and similar cultural values and principles.”

Microsoft Azure’s AI and IoT solutions provide Mars with the tools and capabilities to digitize its supply chain at scale – including manufacturing – while enhancing the collective digital skills of Mars Associates globally. Mars has already made progress to enable this digitization, working with digital manufacturing and operations experts from Accenture’s Industry X group to deploy the Azure Digital Twins IoT platform in its manufacturing facilities. Using Digital Twins to optimize production will help Mars improve margins and reduce waste, and empower on-site associates to make real-time decisions. Based on this use case, Mars will be able to quickly scale to use similar IoT technologies for optimizing manufacturing across its business segments, including food and petcare, providing process control, consistency and uniformity across product lines and helping to give the company a competitive advantage by increasing speed and capacity, and reducing operational costs. In the future, Mars plans to use digital technologies to introduce even more intelligence into the end-to-end supply-chain processes, including identifying the optimal way to create products through digital simulations that take into account climate and other situational considerations, as well as creating greater transparency and visibility into its supply chain from the point of origin all the way to the consumer.

“Through our expanded relationship, we’re harnessing the expertise and insights Mars has gained from more than a century of producing some of the world’s most loved brands to create a layer of intelligence that will drive reimagined experiences for Associates and consumers,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business. “Together, we will create a foundation for cloud, data and AI that will allow Mars to grow faster and transform how work gets done.”

Mars, Accenture and Microsoft share similar ambitions around sustainability, which was a key decision-making factor for Mars choosing Azure. As Mars continues to migrate key infrastructure and workloads to Azure, Microsoft’s commitment to 100% renewable energy in its datacenters by 2025 will help Mars reach its own goal to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 67% by 2050. The relationship is also helping Mars make progress toward its other sustainability goals around environmental impact by implementing technology solutions for reducing the waste of energy, raw materials and water across its production facilities around the world.

The new future of work

Mars has always been considered a forward-looking and modern workplace, ranked fifth in the 2020 Fortune’s Global Best Places to Work List. Mars plans to continue incorporating digital technologies to evolve and transform its workplaces, focusing on increasing Associates’ digital skills. To accomplish this, Mars, Accenture and Microsoft will work together to establish an Innovation Lab to collaborate on the use of advanced technologies, to expedite time to market for new transformative use cases, direct-to-consumer initiatives, sustainability efforts and digitized product innovation. Through the Innovation Lab, Mars will focus on the future of work and how technology from Microsoft can help drive greater efficiency and effectiveness in the modern Mars work environment.

Additionally, Mars is empowering its workforce with modern workplace tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva, to drive tighter integration between its businesses and increase productivity and collaboration for its Associates.

About Mars, Incorporated

For more than a century, Mars, Incorporated has been driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. This idea is at the center of who we have always been as a global, family-owned business. Today, Mars is transforming, innovating and evolving in ways that affirm our commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us.

Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of confectionery, food, and Petcare products and services, we employ 133,000 dedicated Associates who are all moving in the same direction: forward. With $40 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world’s best-loved brands including DOVE®, EXTRA®, M&M’s®, MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, ORBIT®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, SKITTLES®, BEN’S ORIGINAL
™; and take care of half of the world’s pets through our nutrition, health and services businesses, including AniCura, Banfield Pet Hospitals
™, BluePearl®, Linnaeus, and VCA

We know we can only be truly successful if our suppliers and the communities in which we operate prosper as well. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire our Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people and pets can thrive.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

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Breaking down the plastic problem

In 2010, Dr Ross Headifen sold a company and he and his wife went to volunteer in Tanzania installing water wells. They saw at first hand the devastating effect plastic was having on a society that was not set up to handle mass single-use plastic waste and, at the end of that volunteering term, Ross researched how plastic could be made biodegradable and made to really go away rather than just go into landfill.

He came across a technology in the USA that added a small amount of organic additive to a plastic that in turn allows the microbes in a landfill to digest the plastic, albeit over many years. The couple moved to Florida to develop a landfill-biodegradable product. There they became involved in daily beach clean ups of all the plastic waste that washed in with every tide change. Upon returning to Australia the couple joined a local beach cleaning group that they grew over the next 10 years to cover 40 post codes. Ross joined forces with former work colleague John Mancarella to set up Biogone, the first manufacturer of landfill-biodegradable plastics in Australia. The technology Biogone uses incorporates a small amount of organic additive in the plastic that is a food source for naturally occurring microbes – as the microbes consume the food, the enzymes they secrete break the polymer chains down to shorter lengths so they can be consumed, too. This process differs to existing ones that involve adding a degradable additive plastic, a process that causes a chemical reaction that fragments plastic into tiny pieces but does not render it biodegradable.

“Landfill-biodegradable plastics do not pose any issues for recycling as they do not contaminate recyclate with tiny shards of plastic that result from using just a degradable additive,” Ross explains. “And when plastic biodegrades deep in a landfill, it produces methane – modern landfills can capture this gas and use it to generate green electricity, reducing the need to burn more coal to generate that electricity.”

“The true cost of a plastic item needs to be charged to the user.”

Biogone also provides products with Home Compost AS5810 Australian certification, recognition that those plant-based plastics can biodegrade in ambient temperatures rather than the high temperatures required for commercial compost conditions.

And the pair’s dedication to sustainability and caring for the environment does not end with the manufacturing process. “It is not simply a matter of manufacturing a niche product and selling it,” Ross stresses. “At Biogone we looks at the many facets of our operations and make improvements where we can.” To that end, the factory is powered by solar, the factory and office lights have been replaced with LED lights, and all shipments are boxed in pre-used carboard boxes and wrapped with packing materials that all biodegrade away once disposed of by the receiver. “We put notices on the shipments to let the receivers know their shipment is wrapped in biodegradable products,” Ross says.

Although Biogone offers a large-scale idea to reduce the accumulation of plastic waste, Ross says that it is not the perfect solution. “The best and most sustainable solution is to not use the plastic in the first place,” he says. “Our society has grown accustomed to using a lot of plastic – this needs to be reversed, the cost to the environment is too high.” He believes that if the cost structure of using plastic in Australia were to change to make it more expensive, as in the UK with the introduction of a plastics tax, then industry would seek out alternate material solutions.

“The true cost of a plastic item needs to be charged to the user,” Ross concludes. “The concept of a free plastic bag, plastic straw or plastic coffee cup (with a plastic lid) needs to be changed, and all these items charged for – this would quickly diminish the usage rate of these items.”.

This story first appeared in issue 32 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine

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Navigating the uncertainty of the “non-permanent” worker

As the pandemic conditioned small businesses to become flexible and responsive to rapid external change, it is expected that there will be increasing engagement in temporary and contract labour to remain nimble.

At the same time, the continued uncertainty around “non-permanent” worker engagement, driven out of recent Court decisions and legislative change, shows that misinterpretation of worker contracts can snowball into unpredictable outcomes. This can put small businesses at greater risk of non-compliance with workplace laws. This also has wider implications for the general gig economy, as it begs the question of what it means to employ, contract or engage a worker in 2021.

Permanent employee vs. independent contractor

Businesses that operate on a more flexible model and have a greater mix of labour must pay close attention to the difference between a permanent employee and a contractor. The former will have access to entitlements such as annual leave and public holidays. These, however, do not strictly apply to an independent contractor, who is an agent by nature and is offering a type of service to a company, rather than being ‘employed’ to perform a job.

There is also a common misbelief that different types of rights are interchangeable. In the case of WorkPac vs Rossato, WorkPac paid Rossato a 25 per cent casual loading during his employment on the basis that he was a casual worker. However, the Court ruled that Rossato’s actual work patterns deemed him to be a permanent employee, notwithstanding the contract in place, affording him access to permanent entitlements that, in the Court’s view, could not be offset by the casual loading already paid.

Are employment laws keeping up with the gig economy?

The perplexity around worker rights is again highlighted in a number of cases involving food delivery companies as to whether their drivers are considered “contractors” or not. The contradicting nature of the decisions on these cases underlines the complexity of this issue, particularly given the rise of technology and “platform-based” service providers. The nature of this type of business model muddles the conventional benchmarks against which worker rights are measured, including non-monetary benefits, ability to subcontract work and the exclusivity of work.

New legislation to provide some clarity on casual employment

The silver lining is that legislation has recently been introduced to address such concerns. Last month, as part of the Omnibus Bill, the Morrison Government made changes to sections of the Fair Work Act. This includes enshrining a detailed definition of casual employment and the introduction of a Casual Employment Information Statement. It should be noted that it’s important for businesses to treat each worker engagement on its merits by carefully navigating the regulations set out each by the Fair Work Act and Independent Contractors Act.

Communication helps to build flexibility and legal compliance

As a natural outcome of increasing workplace flexibility in Australia, casual employment and contract engagement are on the rise. Businesses looking to top into this area have a lot to consider. From worker contracts and rights to legislation and Modern Awards, these are important factors for small businesses looking to build relationships outside the traditional permanent employment archetype.

Striking a balance between workplace flexibility and legal compliance is not easy. Employers are encouraged to invest in communication with their own workers, HR and payroll professionals and government bodies, to ensure they’re on the right track to building a compliant and flexible workplace.

contractor, employee

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Israeli Fintech Startup Stampli Founded by Two Brothers, Raises $50 Million – Jewish Business News

Israeli Fintech Startup Stampli Founded by Two Brothers, Raises $50 Million

Stampli is a complete AP automation platform.

Stampli co-founders, brothers Eyal Feldman, CEO (Right) and Ofer Feldman, CTO (Left) (Photo Business Wire)

Stampli is an Israeli startup which utilizes artificial intelligence for fintech. The company, which was founded by two brothers, just raised $50 million in Series C funding for their platform, which helps CFOs and controllers close the disconnect between accounts payables and the broader organization. Stampli’s total funding to date is over $87 million.

Founded in 2014 by brother Eyal Feldman (CEO) and Ofer Feldman (CTO), Stampli is a complete AP automation platform that brings together accounts payable communications, documentation, and payments in one place. The company states that by centering communications on top of the invoice itself, AP departments collaborate and communicate better with approvers, vendors, and anyone involved with purchases, allowing approvals to happen 5x faster.

Stampli’s AI is called Billy the Bot. It learns an organization’s unique patterns to simplify GL and costing-related coding, automate approval and verification flows, identify duplicate invoices, and reduce time spent on manual data entry. Stampli boasts that its “flexible platform fits seamlessly into any existing processes and integrates with financial systems, including NetSuite, Sage Intacct, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, and more.”

Stampli processes over $20 billion invoices annually and was recently named a Top 50 Most Promising Startup in Israel. In the last year, Stampli was named a leader in G2 Grid for AP Automation seven times; awarded The Best AP Solution from Fintech Breakthrough for 2021; named The Best AP Automation Company in the USA from New World Report, and Eyal Feldman was named to The Software Report’s Top 50 CEOs of 2020.

“In 2021, building a digital-first, modern finance organization is the top priority for CFOs and controllers. As CFOs take on more strategic responsibilities for the organization, the importance of digital transformation and collaboration across business processes, such as AP, has been raised to new levels,” said Eyal Feldman. “Finance executives know that to keep business moving forward, automating paper-based and manual accounts payable processes is essential in the modern, global business environment.”

“Frictionless and automated business processes are a foundational requirement in today’s increasingly Digital Economy. We believe that Eyal and the Stampli team have built a unique Accounts Payable platform bringing together a collaborative user-first approach with insights from machine learning algorithms and automation. Insight is thrilled to be part of the Stampli journey towards delivering a SaaS platform that combines end-to-end process automation with financial services to disrupt the way businesses manage their AP, financial, and supplier relationships,” said Praveen Akkiraju, Managing Director at Insight Partners. As part of this funding round, Akkiraju will join the Stampli Board of Directors.

Read more about: fintech, Stampli

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Business leaders in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin urge court to keep Line 5 operating

Political “brinksmanship” in Michigan risks allowing Enbridge Inc. to abandon plans for a $500-million tunnel that would protect an ecologically sensitive Great Lakes waterway from the controversial Line 5 pipeline, business leaders warned Wednesday.

The Canadian and U.S. chambers of commerce joined forces with their counterparts in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin by filing a joint brief in court to argue against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s bid to shut down the cross-border pipeline.

Wednesday marked Whitmer’s original deadline for Enbridge to shut down Line 5, which she maintains poses an unacceptable environmental risk along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron with Lake Michigan.

“The tunnel solution essentially eliminates the risk of an oil spill at the Straits of Mackinac,” the chambers argue in their filing, known in legal parlance as an amicus brief.

The existing tunnel agreement with Michigan gives Enbridge the right to cancel the project entirely if the pipeline is forced to cease operations, even temporarily, they argue.

“Under the termination clause of two agreements … if defendants comply with the state of Michigan order and involuntarily shut down the pipeline, then defendants can choose to terminate their obligations to construct such a tunnel.”

The brief anticipates a scenario in which Enbridge is forced to temporarily shut down the line, cancels the tunnel project and then later receives a ruling that allows the line to start back up.

“The chambers urge the parties not to create avoidable short-term crises or put at risk the long-term solution (the tunnel) that they agree is superior to the status quo.”

The so-called “chambers brief” followed a similar filing Tuesday by the federal Liberal government, a rare international foray into U.S. legal proceedings, that urged the court to keep the pipeline running and the two sides to reach a settlement.

Wednesday’s deadline was expected to pass without incident; talks with a court-appointed mediator are scheduled to continue past May 18 and Enbridge has said it has no plans to accede to Michigan’s order.

That didn’t discourage those opposed to Whitmer’s efforts to speak their minds.

“This brinksmanship is political theatre,” said Christopher Guith, senior vice-president, policy, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

“Unfortunately, millions of Americans and Canadians are likely to pay the price for it.”

Richard Studley, the head of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, didn’t mince words, either.

“Every Michigan governor I have worked with, until today, has treated our Canadian friends and neighbours with courtesy and respect,” Studley told a news conference.

Enbridge, he said, has gone to great lengths to assuage the state’s concerns, including with the tunnel, promises of around-the-clock monitoring, an emergency buoy system and keeping response teams on standby — “only to be demonized for political purposes.”

“It’s really very troubling to the entire business community, to see a governor and attorney general abuse their power like this,” Studley said. “The question it raises in the general business community is, ‘Who’s next?”‘

In their brief, the chambers spell out in detail a cascade of likely “severe, nationwide and international” consequences if the line is shut down — everything from fuel price spikes and supply shortages to an increase in traffic fatalities and greenhouse gas emissions as a result of more tanker trucks on the roads.

Oil transported by rail is nearly five times as likely to spill than oil carried by pipeline, and the risk of a spill involving a tanker truck is 10 times as high, said Aaron Henry, the Canadian chamber’s senior director of natural resources and sustainable growth.

There’s also a risk of interstate energy emergencies, the brief notes — a phenomenon already on display in several East Coast states as a result of the ongoing shutdown of the Colonial pipeline, a key energy artery that was targeted by a foreign cyberattack.

“I think the most important lesson to be learned from the shutdown of the Colonial pipeline is that actions have consequences,” Studley said.

“Regardless of the motivation, shutting down a second regional, multi-state and international pipeline is virtually certain to have the same economic impact, which is negative: higher prices, lost jobs and a disruption of the daily lives of both individuals and employees and employers.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021.

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Confidentiality agreements – do they work?

When we wish to engage with others in relation to our innovations, naturally, we are keen to protect our ideas and have confidence our interests are not betrayed, either accidentally or deliberately by the other party.
There are generally two ways we can try to do this. The first is by some sort of IP Registration such as Patents, in the case of tangibles, or perhaps a Trademark or Design Registration. Interestingly, copyright can be claimed by the simple insertion of this symbol © (Ctrl-Alt C) at the end of your text with the date and ideally the name of the creator. To validate the date, one simple way is to send yourself a Registered Letter with the written work inside and leave it unopened until there is a need to prove the date claimed.
The alternative way to try and protect your interests is with a Non-Disclosure Agreement. In the past, we have found these to be somewhat problematic. Indeed apart from attempts at restraint of trade or restrictions of trade secrets in the case of departing employees, we have found most NDA’s to be next to useless and almost impossible to enforce.

The common problem

In general all NDA’s have a clause that in effect voids the agreement if the information disclosed:

  • was in the public domain, or in the Recipient’s possession prior to the date of this agreement
  • comes into the public domain after the date of this agreement
  • is supplied to the Recipient by another party who is under no obligation of confidence to the Disclosing Party.

The problem with this clause is that, apart from entirely new IP, of which there is little, most inventions are usually a combination of already known components. On this basis, an argument can be made, though perhaps somewhat tenuous, that the disclosed information was already in the Public Domain.

The new clause

In order to overcome the possibility of an argument that a disclosure was valid as the information was already available, we have added a vital new clause. This clause is simple and straight to the point and makes it a strict betrayal of confidence if any disclosure is made by the receiving party.
The clause: The recipient may be aware that some or all of the technology(s) required to implement the innovation/invention disclosed herein may already be in the public domain, however, in signing this document the Recipient agrees not to disclose or discuss with another party in any manner the innovation/invention that is the subject of this agreement.

The outcome

Clearly, the outcome of the addition of this one simple clause means that any disclosure by the recipient is a betrayal of confidence, there can be no argument. To this end, we suggest you adopt this or a similar clause in your NDA.


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Why and how small businesses need to diversify their marketing strategy

The recently mooted Google and Facebook legislation has created a cloud of uncertainty for business, with many investing heavily in Google AdWords and Facebook social ads.

This, in my view, has brought to light the lack of diversity in many business’ marketing strategies. In order to safeguard and build their business, I advise organisations to adopt hybrid marketing strategies moving forward.

This means spreading marketing spend across SEO, Google Ads, and social media advertising, rather than pouring it all into, say, Google Ads or Facebook advertising.

Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky in any venture. When it comes to marketing you need to diversify and adopt a hybrid strategy that protects your business while ensuring growth.

Tech really is changing faster than regulators can keep up with and a string of recent events has forced us to confront a truth we already knew: tech giants, the Zuckerbergs of this world, truly do call the shots when it comes to digital. Not our marketing teams, not our IT specialists and not the government.

It’s a clash of the titans and Australian businesses could be caught in the crossfire if they don’t take appropriate action to protect themselves. The recent and historic banning of news on Australian Facebook pages has left businesses small and large scrambling to deal with the sudden and unprecedented removal of content.

The event took place in the shadows of Google threatening to remove its search engine services from Australia and shortly followed by Apple now providing iOS 14 users with the option to essentially opt out of tech that removes the capabilities of targeted marketing on the iOS Facebook platform.

To take back control, businesses need to ensure their practice is based on a broad and sturdy foundation by adopting hybrid marketing strategies.

Hybrid marketing allows businesses to diversify and spread their investment across multiple channels in a way that best suits their objectives and needs. It’s not always just about return on investment.

Digital marketing agencies should be helping organisations understand what works for their business and there’s always somewhere to go after Facebook ads.

By investing time and finance into deciding which channels work best for their business, they can insure themselves against future snap crises like the Facebook one, which will keep happening. I figure one wouldn’t buy a house or car without insurance, so why run a business without it?

One of my clients Dean Elabbas, owner of 24 Hour Melbourne Plumbers, saw his leads increase by 413 per cent in three months after approaching me for hybrid marketing during COVID. Their marketing tactics just weren’t working – they were advertising on Facebook, spending money on print media and that was about it.

By designing a tailored, hybrid approach for customers like Dean, it meets the needs of their business and provides security in the event that one of those platforms or channels changes their rules, as we’re seeing pretty frequently lately.

The benefits of hybrid marketing are evident in the huge uptick of revenue. I would recommend, for any business spending money on marketing, researching new platforms to explore what they can do for your business.

Sometimes trying new strategies is the best way to know whether or not it will work for your business.

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ANZ India Business Chamber looks forward to working with TN

With a new government under the leadership of MK Stalin as Chief Minister taking over, there is so much expectation and optimism from the business community as well as from the general public, says P Santhosh, MD & CEO of ANZ India Business Chamber.

The Chamber looks forward to working closely with the State government in supporting its vision to be the most business and investment friendly State and the best liveable State in the country, he said in a press release.

Deepening relationship

Tamil Nadu’s relations with Australia have been steadily deepening and broadening in the last two decades. The Peter Varghese Report by the Australian Government, “An India Economic Strategy upto 2035”, records Tamil Nadu as one of the lead States in India with which Australia should have a strong economic partnership.

The report states that the Australia-Tamil Nadu relations stand on two pillars of education and digital technology. There are 83 active MOUs between Australian Universities and education institutions based in the State.

IT landscape

The State’s IT landscape is vast and vibrant and Chennai is emerging as a major hub for India’s software exports, entrepreneurship and technology start-ups. Chennai is also Australia’s gateway to the over 300 million strong market spread across five southern States in India.

We hope you enjoyed reading this news release regarding Indian news published as “ANZ India Business Chamber looks forward to working with TN”. This article is posted by MyLocalPages as part of our national news services.

#ANZ #India #Business #Chamber #working

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