The 2013 Lord Mayor’s Entrepreneurs Grant

Jake Phillpot

14 February 2014    |   

Last September, Tanda co-founder Alex Ghiculescu was one of the recipients of the inaugural Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Entrepreneurs Grant. Through this grant, he was awarded $1000 to support his professional development and Tanda’s ongoing growth. Alex wrote a summary of his experiences, which we’ve included below. I used my grant to attend the YOW Development Conference, an annual nation-wide software development conference. Being knee deep in building and maintaining a high tech product, you want to take as much advantage of powerful technology as possible. Sometimes, this means sticking to what you know as it keeps you more efficient. But there’s always a risk in not broadening your horizons and trying out new technologies and ideas, and YOW was a great place to do so. My favourite presentation was the keynote – Jeff Hawkins on machine intelligence. The research he’s doing on computing the way the brain does is fascinating and I’m always thinking of ways to apply it to something less exciting, like efficient rostering. I also really enjoyed Scott Hanselman’s presentation on the future of the cloud, and the programming languages that will take us there. We’re hoping to ride this wave of amazing technological evolution to make our cloud time clocks even more powerful for businesses everywhere. So that was where my grant – but that was only part of the story. Getting involved in this program meant meeting a stack of interesting and innovative people doing cool stuff in Brisbane – the other grant recipients! They’re a very smart bunch. I remember we all met up for breakfast one morning at city hall, along with the Lord Mayor and some other Brisbane business people, and all briefly talked about what our business was doing and why it was cool. Afterwards, I openly admitted that Tanda was by far the least exciting business there (unless you’re really keen on award interpretation and payroll integration – OK I admit, I am). For anyone considering getting involved in this grant in 2014, I say do it. Everyone involved is really helpful and keen to see your business succeed and it’s awesome to see the cool stuff being done right on our doorstep. PS. If you’re still not convinced – we also got featured on the Lord Mayor’s Facebook page and all our friends liked it, so that was pretty cool.

Last September, Tanda co-founder Alex Ghiculescu was one of the recipients of the inaugural Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Entrepreneurs Grant. Through this grant, he was awarded $1000 to support his professional development and Tanda’s ongoing growth. Alex wrote a summary of his experiences, which we’ve included below.

I used my grant to attend the YOW Development Conference, an annual nation-wide software development conference. Being knee deep in building and maintaining a high tech product, you want to take as much advantage of powerful technology as possible. Sometimes, this means sticking to what you know as it keeps you more efficient. But there’s always a risk in not broadening your horizons and trying out new technologies and ideas, and YOW was a great place to do so.

My favourite presentation was the keynote – Jeff Hawkins on machine intelligence. The research he’s doing on computing the way the brain does is fascinating and I’m always thinking of ways to apply it to something less exciting, like efficient rostering. I also really enjoyed Scott Hanselman’s presentation on the future of the cloud, and the programming languages that will take us there. We’re hoping to ride this wave of amazing technological evolution to make our cloud time clocks even more powerful for businesses everywhere.

So that was where my grant – but that was only part of the story. Getting involved in this program meant meeting a stack of interesting and innovative people doing cool stuff in Brisbane – the other grant recipients! They’re a very smart bunch. I remember we all met up for breakfast one morning at city hall, along with the Lord Mayor and some other Brisbane business people, and all briefly talked about what our business was doing and why it was cool. Afterwards, I openly admitted that Tanda was by far the least exciting business there (unless you’re really keen on award interpretation and payroll integration – OK I admit, I am).

For anyone considering getting involved in this grant in 2014, I say do it. Everyone involved is really helpful and keen to see your business succeed and it’s awesome to see the cool stuff being done right on our doorstep.

PS. If you’re still not convinced – we also got featured on the Lord Mayor’s Facebook page and all our friends liked it, so that was pretty cool.

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Why Brisbane is Australia’s best city for start-ups

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: 1. Cost of living This is by far the biggest benefit of being in Brisbane; housing and office space are so much more within the price range of a business that’s just starting. This has allowed us to bootstrap to a considerable size without using external funding. 2. Transport This may sound like a small thing. The best advice we got when we were starting our business was “it takes a lot of shoe leather”, meaning we’d spend a lot of time on our feet talking to anyone who’ll meet with us. Driving around Brisbane is so much better than other capital cities. It’s affordable enough, and nothing is too far away. Despite what philosopher Alain de Botton might say about the Riverside Expressway, it’s one of my favourite features of the city. Because Brisbane’s not that big, we can justify having an office outside of the inner city where rent is a bit cheaper, without feeling like we are out of the loop. 3. BCC Brisbane City Council is making a very concerted effort for the future of the city to be digital. I was lucky enough to receive the Lord Mayor’s budding entrepreneur grant and have heard Cr Quirk talk about the city’s plan for the future and I’m excited about growing a business here. 4. Business community There are a number of great communities around start-ups really getting some traction in Brisbane such as River City Labs and iLab. But the other great thing about the city is how many innovative business people are willing to talk to you and lend a hand – which is particularly good for a B2B business! 5. Talent Brisbane has two great technology courses at QUT and UQ, which makes it much easier to attract and retain young talent to help build and grow our business. It’s a much tougher market for employers in other capital cities, especially those with only one technology-focused university. I’d recommend Brisbane as a great place to start a business for anyone considering starting out. The team at Brisbane Marketing & Digital Brisbane have a lot of support available to you on top of the many other benefits.

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Tanda Open Data Hackathon this weekend – 17th & 18th April

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Bright Ideas Paying Dividends for Budding Entrepreneurs

Four housemates, a bright idea and a client list that’s pushing towards triple figures six months after launch. Technology entrepreneurship is alive and well in Brisbane and software developer PayAus (Now, Tanda) is among the latest wave of shoe-stringers to find an untapped market niche. PayAus’s cloud-based rostering, sign-on and reporting program promises a low-cost means for small businesses to automate what’s still a paper process for many. PayAus’s founder is 21-year-old technology graduate Alex Ghiculescu. He and his three partners, all of whom are the offspring of small business families, have progressively given up paid employment as demand for their product has grown since its February release. Advertisement “It’s getting to the point where we’re making a living out of it,” Ghiculescu said. Word of mouth and advertising through Google AdWords have seen PayAus acquire a clutch of grown-up customers across Australia including clubs and hotels and the Brisbane logistics company Interport Cargo. PayAus has also former a partnership with major accounting software vendors Xero and MYOB. The firm is among 12 start-ups that last week received a share of $25,000 in grant funding from the Brisbane City Council, via the Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs program. The initiative is part of a Digital Brisbane strategy launched in July 2012 after the appointment of chief digital officer Kieran O’Hea. His remit includes encouraging local businesses to become more digitally savvy and fostering a start-up culture in the city. While the southern capitals are the epicentre of Australia’s start-up scene, Brisbane has spawned global success stories including the smash-hit game Fruit Ninja, and We Are Hunted, an online music tracker acquired by Twitter in April. Long established software and services vendors including TechnologyOne and Data 3 also began in Brisbane. Ghiculescu will spend his cut of the grant attending the Yow! developer conference this year. Fellow grant recipient Zachary Fitz-Walter, 27, says his cheque will afford his joining fee at River City Labs, a Brisbane incubator run by Pipe Networks founder and high-tech investor Steve Baxter. Since inception in March 2012, the facility has been used by 116 start-ups and currently has 55 companies in residence. Fitz-Walter is a PhD student completing a thesis on gamification at QUT’s Mobile Innovation Lab. His big idea is Monster Link, a video game which incorporates real life elements, such as location and weather. Gamification refers to the incorporation of video game features and techniques into everyday activities, to make them more engaging. “We want to show what we can do, then look for potential investors,” Fitz-Walter said. His team of four includes two PhD students and an artist. Apple technology had removed barriers to entry and made it easy for those with a bright idea to develop it quickly, Fitz-Walter said. Miriam Hochwald, the founder of Geek Girl Coffees, an international networking and support group for women working in science and technology, took a share of the cash for her sideline project, Little Geeklet. The app helps users to publish online stories. “I am aiming to assist people to tick off their bucket list item of writing a children’s book,” Hochwald said. “It doesn’t have to be a world hit, a great story or even good art work … I think creative expression is important for people’s wellbeing at any age – not just restricted to kids or so-called artists.” The council will offer a second round of grants early next year. The inaugural round attracted 96 applications. Source: Originally posted on SMH.

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About the author

Jake Phillpot

Director: Jake manages Tanda's end-to-end customer journey and market growth.

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Why Brisbane is Australia’s best city for start-ups

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: […]

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Tanda Open Data Hackathon this weekend – 17th & 18th April

This article is about the 2015 event. Go to hack.tanda.co for 2016’s event details! The Tanda Open Data Hackathon is upon us! Programmers, designers and developers are flocking to Brisbane for Tanda’s first Open Data Hackathon. In a digital era where everything is reachable from the click of a button, it’s no surprise there are now […]

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Bright Ideas Paying Dividends for Budding Entrepreneurs

Four housemates, a bright idea and a client list that’s pushing towards triple figures six months after launch. Technology entrepreneurship is alive and well in Brisbane and software developer PayAus (Now, Tanda) is among the latest wave of shoe-stringers to find an untapped market niche. PayAus’s cloud-based rostering, sign-on and reporting program promises a low-cost […]

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