JUST ONE YEAR after Recon Solutions’ 50 percent acquisition by People Infrastructure (PI), the recruitment company is increasingly dominating in the ICT recruitment sector – and since the purchase, PI shares have more than doubled, from $1 to $2.30.

Leading up to the acquisition, Recon Solutions consistently achieved 200 percent year-on-year growth over its six-year history. Recon was also recognised as the 12th fastest growing company by BRW magazine in 2016 and was awarded Growth Company of the Year at the annual Recruitment International Awards in 2017.

In recent years, the Recon brand has become renowned for its support of worthy sporting and community causes.

Director and CEO, Steve Scanlan, attributed Recon’s achievements to the company’s hunger to keep improving, as well as its robust culture.

“We’re driven by relationships, not transactions, and our focus is on openness and honesty in business,” Mr Scanlan said. “This is relevant more than ever now that we’re accountable to shareholders in addition to our clients.”

Recon Solutions is also making a name for itself as a good corporate citizen, supporting and sponsoring numerous worthy causes.

Perhaps most notably, Recon is now the major sponsor of Tonga National Rugby League. The investment has helped propel the national team, Mate Ma’a Tonga, to new heights and a level of professionalism which sees them ranked fourth in the world, and set to play Tier One nations in 2019.

It was further announced this week that Mate Ma’a Tonga is top seeded alongside England, Australia and New Zealand in the revamped 2021 World Cup. 

Also noteworthy is Recon Solutions’ early support of Brisbane-local and boxing champion, Jeff Horn. Five years ago, Recon’s sponsorship allowed Horn to train full time and ultimately go on to become a world champion.

Recon Solutions was there when Jeff Horn took on reigning world champion Manny Pacquiao and was also there 18 months later when he defeated Anthony Mundine on November 30 at Suncorp Stadium.

Recon Solutions further supports a wide variety of organisations including the Queensland Ballet, West Fiji Dolphins Club, Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Petero Civoniceva Foundation, and Rochedale State School, among others.

This past spring, Recon raised over $50,000 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, of which Mr Scanlan sits on the state advisory board.

Most recently, Recon Solutions signed Irish-born and 2018 WBO Intercontinental Champion Dennis ‘Hurricane’ Hogan for a platinum sponsorship.

“He’s quickly becoming boxing’s rising star, and our team believes he’s on his way to a world title win,” Mr Scanlan said.

www.reconsolutions.com.au

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DATA security and compliance specialist Semafone is opening an Australian office to support its global contact centre customers.

The company’s third global customer support hub is in Canberra and Semafone CEO Tim Critchley said it would enable more efficient around-the-clock customer service and support while driving the company’s continued international growth.

“Opening our third office location is a testament to Semafone’s growth into a truly global organisation,” Mr Critchley said. 

“Our new Canberra office gives us the opportunity to provide around-the-clock customer service and support and to make critical updates to clients’ systems without any business disruption or inconvenience.”

Semafone is a leading provider of data security and compliance solutions specifically for contact centres. The Canberra office will serve as a customer support hub to customers based in Australia and Asia while assisting Semafone’s global customer base.

Mr Critchley said the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires merchants to regularly carry out updates and upgrades to payment software, such as Semafone’s Cardprotect solution.

However, in most instances, these updates need be completed at night to avoid workday interruptions and allow customers to continue business as usual. The Australian office would enable Semafone to perform time-critical security patches when it is most convenient for customers around the globe.

With Australia’s growing focus on data security standards, exemplified by the recent enactment of its Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) Scheme, Mr Critchley said Semafone was broadening its footprint in this region at the perfect time.

He said the Canberra office’s primary focus would be on customer support, but the its close proximity to partner SecureCo, a key player in Australia’s secure payments market, would provide additional in-region expertise and partner support.

“Semafone’s new Australian office will not only help strengthen our partnership but will also ensure our customers receive the best possible in-region support and expertise,” SecureCo chief operating officer, Peter McCormick said.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Semafone as we work together to simplify PCI DSS compliance, keep data secure and uphold brand reputations.”

The new Semafone office at Braddon, ACT, has come just two years after opening Semafone’s North American headquarters in Boston.

Semafone was founded in 2009 and now supports customers in over 25 countries on five continents. Semafone’s extensive customer base includes companies such as AO, AXA, The British Heart Foundation, Rogers Communications, RNIB, Santander, Sky, TalkTalk and parts of the Virgin Group. 

Major investors of Semafone include Octopus Ventures and Business Growth Fund (BGF).

www.semafone.com

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BRISBANE’S CBD has been augmented by one of Australia’s most exclusive ‘co-working spaces’ with the launch of Christie Spaces’ $4.5m Common Ground facility.

Aimed at businesses requiring immediate access to a fully-equipped CBD base that can help drive innovation as much as introductions, Common Ground in Adelaide St acts as a centre for collaboration. 

The design and layout provides a hub for new technology and innovation, according to Christie Spaces national brand manager Fusun Batey, and will bring together "thinkers and doers" from all sectors under one roof, ”unlike anything Brisbane currently has to offer”.

Mrs Batey said Common Ground offered so much more thana stylish hi-tech office, with elite services and resources, digital platforms, space flexibility, networking opportunities, “and most importantly, a sense of community”.

“Collaboration and community have emerged as popular reasons that businesses seek out co-working spaces, and recent studies have also revealed that employees in a co-working environment are happier and more productive,” Mrs Batey said. 

She said co-working spaces had moved beyond the realm of just offering access to fast internet and good coffee and were now a global phenomenon, giving workers an advantage in a knowledge-based economy that was fuelled by an increasing need for information and connectivity.

COLLABORATION STATION

Common Ground was designed to be collaborative, Mrs Batey said, with spacious shared amenities such as bathrooms, kitchens, lounge areas and meeting rooms, as well as being contemporary in design with curved steel finishes, high ceilings, and luxe lighting throughout its 1750sqm..

“Sustainability is also a big factor in the decision-making processes with businesses not only able to cut costs on items like energy, data, printing and more, but also reduce their environmental footprint as a result,” Mrs Batey said.

“Another key factor in the rise of co-working is rapid advances in technology. Co-working facilities allow businesses to operate with up-to-the-minute digital trends they may not otherwise be able to afford. 

“With a spend of $250,000 on IT infrastructure alone, Common Ground provides an unparalleled tech offering, as well as ongoing support.”

Coworking spaces are also no longer just the domain of freelancers, startups and small businesses seeking to share costs and establish networking opportunities, with big corporations increasingly jumping on the trend, according to research by Christie Spaces.

“Large companies, particularly those geared towards the millennial generation of worker, see co-working as both a cost cutting measure as well as an opportunity to attract and retain talent by providing an environment that cultivates networking and idea generation,” Mrs Batey said,

“Common Ground is home to large project spaces ideal for collaboration, not to mention mod-cons such as a podcast room, a photo wall for video content creation, and even a wellness and relaxation area.

“With studies showing that co-working results in a significant increase in employee productivity and happiness, and with the flexibility and cost-cutting it offers businesses, the allure of co-working spaces shows no sign of slowing down.”

Common Ground will open in October at Christie Spaces – 320 Adelaide St – close to Central Station, with bicycle racks and end-of-trip facilities on the premises.

https://christiespaces.com.au/commonground

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AUSTRALIA POST is really pushing the envelope when it comes to the environmental sustainability of its business – and that includes cutting carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

In fact, Australia Post reckons it can save about $10 million every year through its new sustainability programs.

That is quite a statement from a company that still runs the country’s largest delivery network, spanning 11.7 million addresses and more than 16,000 vehicles.

“That saving of $10 million every year enables Australia Post to invest more in improving and creating services our customers want to use,” Australia Post chief financial officer Janelle Hopkins said. 

“Since 2000 we have reduced our carbon emissions by 20 percent, which is significant given domestic parcel volumes are continuing to grow, and more than two million parcels were delivered in a single day during Christmas last year.

“In the last eight years we have been working to aggressively reduce our carbon footprint, even going beyond our own sites to account for our third-party supply chain.

“Our first ever Environmental Action Plan is a step towards continuing to reduce carbon emissions and achieve our target of a 25 percent reduction by 2020.” 

Australia Post installed the country’s largest single-roof solar panel system in late 2017 at the Sydney Parcels Facility. Ms Hopkins said this solar array alone saved $800,000 every year within Australia Post’s extensive 48-site solar energy program.

“We are seeing immediate returns as we unlock renewable energy at some of our busiest sites, which helps to insulate the business against rising energy prices,” Ms Hopkins said.

“But we're also looking at how we can leverage our existing network to support communities. Our partnerships with groups like TerraCycle, Planet Ark and Mobile Muster has seen us remove 26,000 tonnes of material from landfill. We also helped develop the world-first Nespresso recycling satchel to send used coffee pods to a purpose-built recycling centre, and our own satchel packaging is now completely recyclable.

“We're excited to see Australia Post make an even greater commitment towards delivering better commercial and environmental outcomes for the Australian community,” Ms Hopkins said.

www.austpost.com.au

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DI BELLA is set to become the second largest roast and ground coffee enterprise in Australia as it brings three related coffee brands from the Retail Food Group portfolio into the fold: Roasting Australia, Di Bella USA and Evolution Roasters

Di Bella Coffee, created in 2002 by Australian coffee trailblazer Philip Di Bella, has developed into the country’s largest speciality coffee roaster and is renowned for its ‘crop to cup’ program of ethical sourcing of specialty coffee beans.

According to Di Bella CEO, Darren Dench, the company decided to restructure and consolidate so that it was better positioned to continue its growth trajectory. He said the new model allowed Di Bella to scale up for new markets, opportunities and partnerships without losing their core focus on craft roasting. 

A combined Di Bella, he said, would be able to continue offering clients their bespoke customised blending services and micro-roasting capabilities across the company’s key channels: independent food service, office market and in-home market.

“Di Bella has always been a coffee-of-choice for discerning coffee drinkers,” Mr Dench said. “As a brand, our unique selling proposition has been both our Crop to Cup philosophy and our bespoke roasting capabilities.

“Bringing these together into one larger entity means we can leverage larger roasting capabilities from our different plants, as well as ensuring that the product and service, the true star of our brand, is more widely available as we expand into new markets and new market segments,” Mr Dench said.

Phil Di Bella, founder of Di Bella Coffee in 2002, supported Mr Dench’s announcement, re-iterating that it would boost the brand he fostered.

“I am excited about the new possibilities that this merger offers and I believe that the integrity of the bean and the authenticity of the Di Bella coffee range will create exceptional opportunities for this new unified and integrated coffee company to grow, expand and diversify,” Mr Di Bella said.

Mr Dench said the company continues to work hand-in-hand with a number of communities sourcing the pure green beans from leading growers around the world that deliver beans farmed under ethical and sustainable conditions.

“We know that coffee is similar to wine in that individual characteristics work together to create blends with different notes and tones. Without skilled roasting, the coffee bean doesn’t shine and flavour complexities collapse or disintegrate,” Mr Dench said.

“For us at Di Bella, our focus is on bringing these different blends to the discerning consumer whether at home, at work, or when out dining at restaurants and cafes.”

Di Bella currently produces 3,480 tonnes of coffee a year which equates to about 150 million cups of coffee served.

https://dibellacoffee.com/

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WINTERGARDEN, in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall has taken the innovative  step of introducing 3D printing to its retail store range, establishing its own pop-up 3D Print Studio.

Wintergarden’s owning company, ISPT, wanted to see how 3D printing might work to attract attention to the centre and trail new levels of product customization. It is also becoming quite an educational experience for Wintergarden customers. 

“Technology is revolutionising the shopping journey – so we’ve embraced this and capitalised on the latest innovations to deliver our customers a leading personalisation experience,” Wintergarden senior centre manager Scott O’Donoghue said.

He said the 3D printers could create a number of jewellery pieces, from rings to bracelets, each customised by colour, design, thickness and size. Depending on the style chosen, the pieces can take from 15 minutes through to one hour to print, with the printers reaching temperatures of more than 200C during the process.

“We know that our customers engage more with a customisable product and we were drawn to incorporating the latest printing technologies to make this happen,” Mr O’Donoghue said. “Customers spend time with our studio team creating their design and remain in-centre while it is being printed.”

Available at the Wintergarden until August this year, Wintergarden offers shoppers a bespoke experience in personalisation through 3D printing technology, allowing them the opportunity to create their own personalised jewellery onsite. 

The free activation of the print service allows customers to choose between a ring, signet ring and bracelet, modify the design to suit including colour choice, add initials, print and wear – all within minutes.

Each of the four 3D printers owned by the centre have a microscopic camera installed so that the printing process can be viewed either on the central monitor within the studio or by passers-by via the television screen in the window. 

Driving positive customer engagement and brand talkability, Mr O’Donoghue said the activation strongly supports Wintergarden’s commitment to customer service and an unrivalled in-centre experience for their customers.

Wintergarden’s 3D Print Studio runs through August and is open six days a week from Monday to Saturday from 11am until 2pm.

www.wgarden.com.au

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FROSTY BOY Australia is now conquering the giant market considered the ‘holy grail’ for global food and beverage manufacturers: India.

Gold Coast-based Frosty Boy has successfully penetrated the India market, after a four-year project to build relationships throughout the sub-continent.

According to Frosty Boy managing director, Dirk Pretorius, cracking the market should mean a significant boost for the company, ensuring it continues its record of 20 percent year-on-year growth.

The solution to navigating the challenging market – which includes coping with import duties of up to 50 percent – was Frosty Boy deciding to complete manufacturing processes locally in India, while maintaining control of product quality and intellectual property. 

Frosty Boy products manufactured through this method are gaining traction across India, Mr Pretorius said.  A recent major win was with one of India’s largest coffee chains, Café Coffee Day, now serving milk shakes using Frosty Boy’s formulated milk shake blend.

As one of the fastest growing food industry markets in the world, valued at US $50 billion according to Technopak’s 2017 research publication, Indian Food Service Industry, India was the perfect target for Frosty Boy according to Mr Pretorius.

In India, ice cream has also been forecast to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent until 2021, according to Tech Sci Research’s 2016 and 2018 reports.

“Since Frosty Boy began exporting in 2001, there’s never been a country more difficult to crack than India,” Mr Pretorius said.

“The main challenges have been import duties, which can be up to 50 percent, a very different business culture to us, plus they are understandably very protective of their own industry.”

Mr Pretorius said the decision to complete manufacturing locally came after intensive knowledge building to ensure the decision would make importing into India viable for Frosty Boy.

“This included our leadership team spending quality time in India to build knowledge of the local QSR industry and how our products could best be implemented, and we have full-time personnel on the ground to support this ongoing,” Mr Pretorius said.

He said Frosty Boy’s passion for innovation in its existing and new markets will only encourage its sustainable growth, as the company continues to seek opportunities to add value to clients through solutions-driven dessert and beverage base offerings. 

Established in 1976 in Queensland, Frosty Boy Australia produces versatile dessert and beverage powder base solutions for local and international markets. In many cases it can be the innovations developed by Frosty Boy that power successful new food and beverage products created by brands including Hungry Jack’s, KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut, along with boutique coffee shops and restaurants.

Frosty Boy is already one of Australia’s great success stories in food manufacturing and exporting, with its soft serve ice cream blends, frozen yoghurts, slushies and flavoured syrups popular across many South East Asian countries.

www.frostyboy.com.au

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