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Optus selects finalists for innovation challenge Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five finalists have been selected from among 85 applications for the Optus inaugural innovation challenge, with the telco praising the high volume of quality start-ups which participated in the program.

The five finalists pitched a diverse range of solutions that can help SMBs to grow digitally:

  • Metigy, an AI-driven social media management, strategy and support solution for small businesses.
  • Threat Intelligence, a new approach to cyber security using cloud-based, location-agnostic security automation.
  • StreamVue from IoTStream, a product which helps SMBs access IOT solutions in a cost effective and scalable way.
  • Alpha7 Solutions, a digital dashboard that combines marketing, sales, operations, finance and HR data in one central place — and in real time — to help business owners make informed decisions.
  • Polibase, which uses AI and behavioural economics to make regulatory compliance easy.

Optus judged 18 live pitches for the challenge which is being delivered with the support of the Macquarie University Incubator, and will now take the five start-ups through a six-week program.

Matt Ball, the vice-president of Small and Medium Business, said: "We were incredibly excited by the high volume of quality start-ups wanting to be involved in our first Innovation Challenge. In choosing who to take through the program, we looked for solutions that stood out from the competition and addressed real challenges faced by the small to medium business segment.”

Throughout the program, support will be offered from Optus' IT Innovation, Digital and SMB Go-To-Market teams, as well as independent start-up advisers and mentors engaged by Optus and the Macquarie University Incubator.

And small business owners will be brought in throughout the challenge to provide the start-ups with valuable feedback on how their solutions will solve the problems that SMBs face day-to-day.

Optus says that at the completion of the course, the participants would have learned key success capabilities, including:

  • Validation in the context of SMB customers;
  • Technical ability to scale; and
  • Developing and verifying a go-to-market strategy for scaling

"The Innovation Challenge is a structured approach to engaging the startup ecosystem which fosters thought leadership and creative applications of emerging technologies,” Ball said.

“The finalists joining our program will have the opportunity to validate for scale, so together we can make a meaningful, value-adding impact for our customers and the small business community in Australia.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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