A Half-baked Idea is OK

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Invest Northern Rivers (INR) is calling on inventors in the Northern Rivers with new ideas, and existing businesses using new technologies or services, to enter the 2008 INR Technology and Innovation Awards.

If your business has developed an exciting new technology or approach, or, if you have created a new widget in your back shed, you should be involved.

Alison Campbell from Talent to Fly Consultancy, one of the judges of the 2006 awards, says that the awards are about recognising businesses that have gone the extra mile.

‘The Northern Rivers region is home to a lot of creative entrepreneurs, artists and business people,’ she says. ‘There are many successful innovators here. It’s a combination of the people in the region, the inspiring environment and the help people receive from all tiers of government to develop their business innovations. It all starts with the INR awards. If you have a product, technology or service with an edge it is really worthwhile to apply’.

Previous winners include Dennis Gravolin who invented ‘Trailer Vision’, a system which monitors your caravan or trailer lights from inside your vehicle, and the Ecocity Farm, which invented an energy, space and water efficient agricultural system.
Winning the 2005 award changed his business says ‘Trailer Vision’ inventor Dennis Gravolin, ‘It takes effort to enter the INR awards, but there are many benefits, even if you don’t win. Lots of business opportunities have opened up for us as a result of the awards.’

The awards are a vital step for anyone wanting to develop their idea or technology to a commercial level. The first prize for the 2008 award is $10,000 provided by Country Energy, to be used in further commercialisation of a new product or technology. Merit award winners receive $1,000 to address specific business needs. INR will also assist entrants to take advantage of state and federal government support and programs.

Potential entrants are invited to attend local workshops during March which will help them to enter the awards. INR will support early applicants to complete their entries by matching them with business student mentors from Southern Cross University.
While new technologies can be developed by creative inventors tinkering away in their sheds or laboratories, innovation also flourishes within existing businesses and they are looking for innovative processes and technologies developed within these as well, according to Katrina Luckie, executive director of the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board.

Entries close on 2 June 2008. For more information call 6622 4011 or email: lkirby@nrrdb.com.au.

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