With new businesses and start-ups moving into Lot Fourteen come new opportunities for employment, including work experience, mentoring and internships. Inovor Technologies, which offers specialist development services and satellite mission solutions, is just one company firmly investing in skills for the future.
Working across three of the South Australian Government’s priority growth sectors – space, defence and advanced technology – Inovor offers turnkey small satellite solutions, with everything fully designed and constructed here in SA.
“Usually people buy a whole lot of parts off the shelf and plug them together and make a satellite, but we do it an entirely different way, and there are a number of advantages to that,” Inovor CEO Dr Matt Tetlow says.
“We design and build our own subsystems and it’s the most modular system in the world – we can basically build different classes of spacecraft that range in size from a loaf of bread to a slab of beer, all with the same technology. We’ve decided the best way is to do it all yourself, to own it and understand how the systems work. If you develop it here in Australia you own the IP, you have complete control over the system and, most importantly, you use a local supply chain.”
That supply chain bolsters collaboration with other businesses based at Lot Fourteen, including Myriota, Neumann Space and SITAEL Australia. “We don’t stand on each other’s toes: we very much complement each other which makes it a great ecosystem and helps all of our businesses,” Dr Tetlow says.
As well as building relationships with local businesses, Inovor maintains close links with South Australian schools and universities to foster the next generation of talent. “Giving students opportunities is one of the main reasons we’re here,” Dr Tetlow says.
“We love being in SA and we want to grow that, and the only way you do that is by having an excellent team. Through the South Australian Space Industry Centre, we run a work experience program for schools, we run internship programs, and we have three second and third-year engineering students doing casual jobs. We’re fortunate we are in a very attractive sector so we have a lot of very smart people apply and we get the pick of the bunch. Kids in particular are very excited about space so there was a large number of applicants for the internship program.”
Former Adelaide University student Dan Schoell was one of four lucky applicants selected to do an internship with Inovor in late 2019; three months later, he was offered full-time employment and now works as a graduate mechanical and systems spacecraft engineer, spending his days designing and building satellites.
“The space sector is something I have always wanted to be a part of so the ability for me to get that within South Australia, so close to where I live and so soon after graduating, was a dream come true,” the 22-year-old says. “I do a bit of mechanical engineering as well as systems engineering and some project management roles, so I get a bit of spread within the company, which is a really great learning experience.”
SA businesses have been doing it tough, with Government lockdowns and social distancing restrictions forcing some to close their doors and others to operate at reduced capacity. But their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, which is why SA Health has announced the South Australian COVIDSafe Awards, designed to recognise SA businesses and defined public activities that have demonstrated innovation and compliance with COVID-19 directions.
There are seven award categories:
To apply, businesses should submit a 300- word summary of how they have adhered to five COVIDSafe principles in the workplace:
As well as safety, innovation is also being recognised in the way businesses have had to make significant adjustments to protect the health of the public. SA Health lists four ways in which businesses/ organisations may have shown innovation during this time:
or call 8226 6599
South Australia’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic and its relative safety compared with some of Australia’s other states has made it a tourist magnet, with SA primed to snag its fair share of the $65 billion Australians would typically spend on overseas travel.
South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex says SA’s tourist regions have seen a huge spike in visits and inquiry since COVID-19 shutdowns, with people from around the country desperate to see the very best the state has to offer.
“In the past two weeks alone we’ve seen 600,000 visitors to southaustralia.com, and 300,000 of those have been from interstate,” Harrex says. “That’s really encouraging and it shows South Australians are very passionate about getting out into the regions. Of the $8.1 billion spent here in our tourist regions, $2.7 billion of that comes from interstate visitors. The moment the borders are open, we are ready to run. People are getting out and about and I think that’s quite encouraging. Australians each year spend $65 billion going overseas. We see this as a massive opportunity for us to get our slice of this.
“The health system has managed this (crisis) very well ... and I think that has put a real level of confidence in consumers. When Australians get out and see what we have to offer here, they will be our ambassadors”.
Harrex says SA business operators had responded promptly to the COVID-19 downturn, with many changing their business strategy to attract sometimes even a new market altogether.
“Restauranteurs and cellar doors have done takeaway and they’ve brought together local providers to do hampers - the creativity is there and they’ve responded quickly,” Harrex says. “Operators that had been focused on the international market are now looking at their businesses and finding ways to change to service the domestic market.”
This entrepreneurial spirit - with businesses adapting and evolving to pandemic restrictions – has not taken place simply to attract customers and meet their needs, SA’s small business commissioner John Chapman says, but has been born out of a concerted effort to safeguard the prosperity of their local communities.
“There has been success where businesses talk to each other,” Chapman says. “It’s amazing where an ‘I can do this if you could do that’ discussion can lead. Often it becomes, ‘I was thinking of doing this, why don’t we actually join forces?’ - and off you go.”