THE NORTH’s most outstanding innovative businesses and service providers have been put under the spotlight with the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation Awards.
They were announced in Tenterfield on Friday night and winners from five categories as well as the top innovator of the year accolade were announced.
It’s the fifth time the awards have been presented, with this year’s top gong going to an Armidale based educational software developer, EdAlive, for its ZooWhiz online children’s learning environment.
It also took out the research and education award.
The horticulture and associated services category award went to SaferGate of Inverell, the tourism/leisure award went to four New England councils’ Experience the Highs marketing initiative, professional and retail services went to to Hutchison Software of Armidale and the manufacturng/engineering award went Deepwater’s StarLogixs Electronics.
Regional Development Australia Northern Inland chair Mal Peters said EdAlive, the 2012 winner, was a classic example of innovation in practice.
“EdAlive shows how a business can expand national and international markets from a regional setting, through innovation,” Mr Peters said.
The developer created new revenue streams with innovative approaches by bringing older software products to new markets through the internet.
“(It encourages) businesses to think about what sets them apart,” Mr Peters said.
EdAlive also won in the research and education category.
EdAlive is one of Australia’s oldest publishers of educational software for children, aged five to 15.
Its industry leading online children’s learning environment, ‘ZooWhiz’, has also been adapted for tablets and smart phones and is expected to have 200,000 free user accounts in more than 80 countries by the end of the year.
SaferGate, of Inverell, Ed Evans’ invention and commercialisation of a revolutionary gate design that reduces injury risk to cattle workers was a winner too.
The Experience the Highs marketing project was an initiative of Armidale Dumaresq, Walcha, Uralla and Guyra councils and promoted the New England High Country to younger city-based markets using a brochure, website, mobile device apps and social media.
The Experience the Highs iPad app previously won the Travel Guides category in the 2012 Australian Mobile Awards in Sydney.
Hutchison Software, of Armidale, developed Gardenate, involving a website, mobile apps and an email planting reminder service for home gardeners.
StarLogixs Electronics, of Deepwater, a high-tech business, designed, developed and manufactured cutting-edge electronic devices such as control systems for the autobaler and voltage indicator livetesters for domestic and export markets.