Export Awards a showcase of Australian innovation

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As the 56th Australian Export Awards season comes to an end, it’s a great time to reflect on Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the impact they are having globally.

The imagination age is here – a time where creativity and imagination will create economic value.

At the core of this is innovation.

To succeed in a changing business landscape Australian businesses are innovating on a global scale. 

One of the key challenges businesses face when trying to innovate and grow their business is having the cashflow needed to fund this change.

At Efic, we’ve helped a range of businesses with our finance solutions, supporting them to take on innovative ventures.

Calix, a NSW-based business and finalist in the Export Awards’ Environmental Solutions category, has developed carbon reduction and capture technology to help reduce carbon emissions in the lime and cement industries.

“Two things forced us to look at overseas markets when it came to our technology. Firstly, the lack of innovation in this space in Australia, and secondly, there is a stronger focus on CO2 emission reduction internationally,” said Darren Charles, Chief Financial Officer at Calix.

A breakthrough occurred when Calix successfully led the European Union (EU) Low Emissions Intensity Lime and Cement (LEILAC) research and innovation project to achieve €12 million in EU funding.

For a project of this size, Calix needed financial support to ensure it could maintain control of its intellectual property (IP). A loan from Efic helped. 

“Efic’s support was critical for us as a technology company. We are cashflow positive but we reinvest everything we do in research and development. You need a fair amount of working capital to fund a project of this size, but getting funding from typical banks can be difficult when you are a technology company,” said Darren.

Aspen Medical, winner of the Exporter of the Year award and a past client of Efic’s, is a provider of guaranteed and innovative healthcare solutions across a diverse range of sectors and clients including humanitarian, defence and government.

Around five years ago Aspen Medical was subcontracted to build a 900-bed hospital in Sri Lanka.

Efic’s €11.4 million reinsurance arrangement with Altradius, the Dutch export credit agency, was instrumental in the success of Aspen Medical’s bid to supply equipment and associated medical design and infrastructure for the hospital.

“Efic’s help was integral to us winning the important contract to provide much-needed healthcare services and equipment to a worthy project,” said Glenn Keys, Managing Director at Aspen Medical.

While these are only two examples of innovative businesses making global impact, the Export Awards continue to be a showcase of Australian SMEs that are prepared to enter the imagination age.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists of the 56th Australian Export Awards!

To see a full list of the winners, click here.

To read more about Innovation in Export, download Efic’s free special paper here.