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Westpac announces $10 million investment in search for Businesses of Tomorrow


Westpac Group today announced its next major initiative to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2017, 200 Businesses of Tomorrow, a program to support the businesses with the drive and imagination to shape Australia's new economy.


Key facts:


  • Businesses of Tomorrow program to identify 200 businesses per year with the potential to lead Australia's transition to a knowledge and services based economy.
  • Businesses may benefit from a variety of knowledge-based experiences: global study tours, including to Silicon Valley and China, dedicated business mentors  from a panel of high-profile Australians, as well as professional advice funded by Westpac.
  • Open to all Australian businesses that display the qualities needed to help the nation reach its potential.
  • Follows establishment of the $100 million Westpac Bicentennial Foundation and the selection of its first 100 scholars.


Westpac today committed to supporting Australia's transition to a knowledge and ideas economy, with the launch of its $10 million investment in the 200 Businesses of Tomorrow Program in Sydney.


Chief Executive Officer, Mr Brian Hartzer, said Businesses of Tomorrow was another way Westpac was backing Australia in the lead up to its 200th anniversary.


Launching the program at a lunch attended by the Prime Minister, The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Hartzer said the program was designed to give businesses access to knowledge, networks and insights to thrive in the new economy.


"Australia needs to continue to adapt as we transition from a mining to a services economy. We have great potential, but research  shows Australian businesses have one of the lowest levels of investment in innovation at six per cent compared to the OECD average of 18 percent.


"As Australia's first bank we feel we have a responsibility to back those businesses that can make a difference to the country by giving them what they have told us they need:  knowledge and access.


"While other companies take their Executives to Silicon Valley, we're going to take the best and brightest businesses there.


Mr Hartzer said the program will be shaped by an advisory panel of ten business leaders with collective experience spanning over 250 years in creating, innovating, and sustaining successful businesses across Australia.


The 200 businesses will be chosen based on qualities such as their capacity to transform, disrupt and create, their demonstration of service leadership, an ambition to develop new markets overseas, or a focus on social change.


The 200 'Businesses of Tomorrow' will be announced at Westpac's Bicentennial Celebrations in April 2017. The top businesses will receive a range of knowledge-based experiences funded by Westpac, including a global study tour to Silicon Valley or China, a mentor from a pool of senior Australian business people, and dedicated professional advice to grow their businesses.


The launch comes as Westpac also today celebrated its first 100 Bicentennial Foundation scholars. The $100 million Foundation was launched in 2014, supporting 100 scholars a year, forever.


"We are very proud of this program. We have partnered with many of Australia's leading academic institutions and have been impressed by the calibre of applicants and their potential to shape the Australia of tomorrow.


"The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation's first scholars include Dr Antonio Tricoli, who is working on melanoma prevention through wearable technology, and Dr Elizabeth New, who is developing hand-held devices that detect toxins. 


"When we started the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation we wanted to support Australians from all walks of life who have the potential to shape Australia's future. We have been so inspired by its success we are pleased to be able to do the same for Australian businesses.  Working together will help strengthen links between universities and the business community," Mr Hartzer said.


Biographies: Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow Advisory Panel


Kerry Stokes AC, Executive Chairman of Seven Group Holdings Limited
Kerry Stokes is Executive Chairman of Seven Group Holdings, a diversified operating and investment group with market-leading businesses and investments in industrial services, oil and gas, and media. He is also Chairman of Seven West Media, one of Australia's best-performing integrated media companies across television, online and publishing.  Mr Stokes is Chairman of the Australian War Memorial.


Carla Zampatti AC, Executive Chairman of Carla Zampatti
Carla Zampatti is one of Australia's most influential fashion designers and an iconic businesswomen. 


Alison Deans, Westpac Board Member
Alison Deans has more than 20 years' experience in senior management and strategy consulting roles focused on e-commerce, media and financial services in Australia.


Rick Holliday-Smith, Chairman of the Board, Cochlear Limited
Rick Holliday-Smith's career in the banking and financial services industry spans over 35 years in Australia and overseas. He is currently Chairman of Cochlear Limited who develop the latest and most innovative hearing implant devices available today. He is also Chairman of ASX Limited and is a Non-Executive Director of Servcorp Limited.


Pip Marlow, Managing Director Microsoft
Pip Marlow began her 21-year career with Microsoft in 1995.  After a succession of senior roles across the business, Ms. Marlow is now responsible for running the Microsoft business in Australia.


Justin Hemmes, Merivale Chief Executive Officer
Justin Hemmes is the driving force behind Merivale, a hospitality and development group with a portfolio of more than 60 restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels and event spaces in Sydney.


Noel Gordon, Co-founder Google Maps
Noel Gordon, an Australian software engineer, was one of the four people who founded the Sydney-based digital mapping start-up, Where 2 Technologies, which created the technology that later became the basis for Google Maps.


Andrew and Jocie Bate, founders of SwarmFarm
Andrew and Jocie Bate started SwarmFarm Robotics, which develops robotic farming technology. This technology will increase farm yields, use inputs such as pesticides and fertilizer more efficiently, and create new, sustainable farming techniques  for the future.


Simon Cant, Co-Founder and Managing Director Reinventure Group
Simon Cant has dedicated his career to innovation as a VC investor, advisor to corporates facing disruption, and as a disruptor. Mr Cant is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Reinventure Group, a venture capital fund that combines the best of independent VC and corporate venture partnering.


[1] The program will be shaped by an advisory panel of ten business leaders including; Kerry Stokes (Executive Chairman of Seven Group Holdings Limited), Carla Zampatti (Executive Chairman of Carla Zampatti), Alison Deans (Westpac Board Member), Rick Holliday-Smith (Chairman Cochlear), Pip Marlow (Managing Director Microsoft), Justin Hemmes, (Merivale Chief Executive Officer), Noel Gordon (Co-founder Google Maps), Andrew and Jocie Bate (founders of SwarmFarm), Simon Cant (Co-Founder and Managing Director Reinventure Group)
[2]  Australian Government, National Innovation and Science Agenda