News Pulse for October 24, 2016

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Qld govt out to prove it can do business with start-ups

SMEs say they want exposure more than money.The Queensland government has sunk $25,000 into a local start-up aiming to co-opt staff and citizen mobile phones into a state-wide gauge of cellular network health.

The Queensland government has sunk $25,000 into a local start-up aiming to co-opt staff and citizen mobile phones into a state-wide gauge of cellular network health.

The tool is one of four solutions the government is backing as part of its testing within government (TWiG) innovation program.

Aussie SMBs Can Benefit From China’s Growing Online Shopper Population, Says Sinorbis CEO

With over 710 million Internet users and 448 million online shoppers, China has the world’s largest Internet population and also the largest eCommerce market. Moreover, the country’s affluent middle class is growing, as is disposable income, and consumers are looking abroad for premium goods and services. With a presence in Beijing and Sydney, Aussie tech start-up Sinorbis is attuned to the massive opportunity these numbers represent for Australian SMBs.

Co-founded by Nicolas Chu, the company’s Sydney-based CEO, and Allen Qu, the Beijing-based digital marketing expert who founded Netconcepts China, Sinorbis connects local businesses to the burgeoning population of digital consumers in China through a range of digital marketing services.

Only 53% Of Australian Small Businesses Offer Flexible Working Conditions

Flexible working arrangements would make employees happier but only 53% of small businesses allow workers to be unchained from their desks, according to a new survey.

Office supplies retailer Officeworks conducted a survey on 1000 employees across Australia and found that 49% were offered flexible working arrangements, including working remotely and hot desking. Out of those who do get the privilege of flexible working, 44% reported that they experienced less stress, 42% felt they were more productive and 40% said they were happier.

Seven top Xero add-ons

Get more from the cloud accounting system by integrating with POS, timesheet, reporting and other online applications.

One of Xero’s distinguishing characteristics is that right from the start the company realised the potential for linking a cloud accounting system to other online business applications.

According to Xero head of accounting James Solomons, the following are among the more popular add-ons for Xero:

MYOB migrates to Australian Azure infrastructure

Accounting software company MYOB has migrated its AccountRight Live cloud service to Microsoft’s Australia-based Azure infrastructure with zero client downtime.

The company moved its 120,000 customer databases from a data centre in Singapore to Microsoft’s facilities in Sydney and Melbourne over 21 nights, establishing 312 Elastic Pools on the Azure cloud.

Airbnb: What NSW councils need to know

A new report into the regulation of short-term holiday rentals through online platforms like Airbnb says local councils need greater certainty about how to regulate the rapidly growing sharing economy.

The report Short-Term Holiday Letting , by the Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday this week after an 18-month inquiry.

It recommends easing restrictions on short-term renting so that home owners can rent out a room – or their entire house – without being fined by local councils for failing to lodge a development application for change of use.

FoodbyUs Co-founder Ben Lipschitz On Feeding The Shareconomy, Creating New Ways To Earn

The rise of the sharing economy has led to an evolution in consumer behaviour and the disruption of legacy industries. For some, it’s a threat. For others, it’s an opportunity to provide new solutions to old problems and thrive.

A new ‘shareconomy’ player with substantial pedigree is online marketplace FoodByUs. Launched in Sydney last month – with Melbourne set to follow shortly – the tech start-up was conceived by Ben Lipschitz, founder of footwear brand Flipsters, together with Tim Chandler, Menulog’s lead developer, and Menulog founder Gary Munitz.

Aussies Browse In Clicks But Shop In Mortar

The Australian shopping experience has evolved dramatically over the last decade. Emerging global high street outlets vie for space among newly expanded independent retailers as each offer unique products and services to towns and cities. At the same time, online retail has experienced a boom; widely adopted by business owners and shoppers alike.

Despite the emergence of online shopping, research has found out that nearly all Australians (94%) still think of themselves as in-store shoppers, and 71% say that they shop in-store the same or more than they did three years ago. Demonstrating how ‘clicks and mortar’ work together in a consumer sense, almost half of the people we surveyed admit to taking a reverse showroom approach to shopping: searching online to survey goods before purchasing them in store.

Melbourne and Sydney rivalry heats up over start-up scene

The rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney is heating up again, this time in the battle for supremacy in Australia’s start-up ecosystem.

A recent report by Oddup has thrown another spanner in the works, claiming that Sydney is streets ahead in investor support but Melbourne continues to produce the start-up talent.

Address to the Advance Global Australian Summit | Ministers for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Today, I am honoured to be sharing this room with Australians of remarkable talent, vision and ambition. People who are advancing Australia on the world stage through business, technology, science, the arts and the community sector.

I am proud that my portfolio, Industry, Innovation and Science, supports events like this, where we get to honour our trailblazers.

How Dr Catriona Wallace turned software startup Flamingo into a $24 million fintech firm about to hit the ASX

After raising $3 million in a round led by Otsana Capital, Dr Catriona Wallace sits in wait as her fintech startup approaches its next frontier: the Australian Securities Exchange.

Flamingo will list in a merger with existing ASX-company Cre8Tek and trade under the ticker CR8, making it one of the first fintech startups led, founded and chaired by women to list on the ASX.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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