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La Trobe Business School

Tag: Industry

Our industry connections make you career ready

What you do at university is important to us.

However, it’s what you do after university that interests us the most. We know that studying is a significant investment, so we’re committed to making sure you graduate ready for work.

With the employment landscape evolving constantly, the best way to make sure we’re teaching the right skills is to go straight to the source. That’s why we work closely with industry to find out what they want in graduates – both right now and in the future.

Developing the degrees industry needs

We’re constantly reinvigorating our courses to prepare you for roles in emerging fields of employment. We work directly with industry to identify skill gaps and develop degrees to address them.

For example, our industry partner Cisco has identified that there are currently a million cybersecurity jobs opening globally, with demand projected to rise in the coming years.

In response to this demand, we’ve developed our new suite of cybersecurity degrees with input from Cisco, Optus, Australia Post, Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Symantec, Atlassian and Cloudera.

Simone Bachmann, Head of Information, Security, Innovation and Culture and Australia Post, says, ‘we need people with problem solving skills, we need innovators, we need people with legal and regulatory skills, we need communicators and educators to help people understand the problem.’ These degrees address the growing need for cybersecurity professionals with interdisciplinary skills.

Our Master of Sport Analytics (developed with leading sports clubs and technology companies), Master of Business Analytics (with 20 per cent of the curriculum taught by industry experts) and Master of Data Science (addressing a data analytics skills shortage) are other examples of our industry relationships preparing students for the future of work.

Future-facing industry partnerships

We’ve established relationships with major organisations to make sure we stay at the forefront of industry developments.

Our partnership with Optus, which focuses on cybersecurity, will result in scholarships and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for our students, as well as employment pathways for graduates.

We work closely with a number of sporting clubs, including Melbourne City Football Club, Carlton Football Club, AFL Player’s Association, Bendigo Spirit and IPL Kings XI Punjab to give our students access to work placements as well as research and internship opportunities.

We’re also the only university to offer an accredited art subject at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). As learning partner for the NGV’s summer exhibition, we’ve offered the subject Summer at the NGV for the past four years – in 2017, students were able to study the work of British icon David Hockney.

Preparing you for success with industry insights

Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, which means that many of today’s roles won’t even exist in the future.

It’s our job to prepare you for the roles of the future. We do this by helping you develop the flexibility and transferable skills you need to adapt to the changing market.

We’ve spoken to a number of employers, including PwC, Commonwealth Bank, Alfred Health, Thoughtworks, Pfizer, CSIRO, Melbourne Football Club, Telstra, Bureau of Meteorology, Deloitte, Certified Practicing Accountants and more to identify the core skills and attributes that employers value most highly.

We’ve used these insights to develop Career Ready, a program that supports you to build the attributes employers want. The program includes an app, a dedicated support team, an on-campus recruitment agency, and a range of activities you can participate in to build your skills.

First-hand industry experience

We’re also making sure our students come into contact with industry while they’re still studying.

With our Professors of Practice program, we’re championing a shift in how industry can contribute to education. Our Professors of Practice are industry professionals employed by the university to advise on curriculum, and, in some cases, teach.

Mark Morris, a Professor of Practice in the Department of Accounting, says, ‘I try to provide insights as to what they will find in the workplace wherever I can, because this is exactly the kind of knowledge that can give them an edge to stand out from the crowd.’

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities place students in organisations, giving them the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in a real industry environment. After graduation, many of our students are employed by their WIL employer.

This post was originally published on the NEST blog.

National innovation forum: Innovate or Perish?

In a world that is more connected than ever, how can we create sustainable bonds between universities, business and not for profits? All with a view towards creating a more mature innovation culture and ecosystem.

The missing ingredient to growth is the ability to think outside the box – to innovate. For many businesses’ it’s safer inside the box. But when you’re constricted by the four walls of a box you can’t truly grow.

The demands of day to day operations of many SMEs and not-for-profits exclude them from maximising the benefits of innovative. Most are doing everything they can to maximise profits or fundraising, and minimise costs.

Universities, on the other hand, exist outside the normal parameters that can inhibit business growth. As such Universities have the potential to break the walls of the box, let in the light and build the links to create innovative businesses.

This is why, as a nation, Australia must get better at creating meaningful collaboration between universities and business. Such is the need for stronger connections the Federal Government flagged innovation in Australia as a major policy focus with its $1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda in November 2015.

The core principle of the government’s agenda is to make a substantial difference in the numbers of university-industry collaborations. The reason is simple; such alliances have become a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, dealing with the speed of transformation, and economic and technological disruption.

These partnerships allow a business to break free of the confines of everyday operation, and to work with universities to translate ideas into commercial realities.

While Australia lags behind the world in translating research into commercial outcomes university-industry partnerships internationally are being exploited to great effect.

While Australian universities are among the world’s best, when it comes to innovation it’s important to make sure that research, innovation and business are connected. If research is irrelevant to startups, SMEs and not-for-profits it becomes a purely academic exercise.

At the forum international and national business and academic speakers will present case studies of successful university-industry collaboration including examples of business innovation, incubators and accelerators.

Attendees will not only learn what has worked but they will also discover what can be done to improve university-industry interactions and engagement, particularly for startups and SMEs in the Australian context.

A multitude of speakers with wide ranging backgrounds and experience will speak at the conference.

Major themes

  • The role of incubators, accelerators and TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) in engaging startups and SMEs while at the same time connecting those start up and SMEs with university-industry innovation.
  • Global forces shaping opportunities for business (including startups and SMEs) over the coming decade
  • Business perspectives on the opportunities and barriers to university-industry collaboration.
  • Developing environments where innovation can thrive.
  • Regulation and legal framework (patent law, licensing, federal and state jurisdictions and university policies).
  • The economic, political and societal framework in which business and/or universities operate (incentives, competitiveness, regulation, competition policy, innovation and technology policy).

Sessions include

  • Conference evening event with a key note speaker and networking opportunities.
  • International and national academic speakers and case studies on successful approaches to university –industry collaboration with a focus on startups and SMEs. Questions answered will include; what has worked and why? What can be learned from mistakes? What needs to change?
  • Australian business leaders’ perspectives on global challenges and opportunities for innovation and improving industry-university collaboration.
  • The state of Australia’s national innovation system – Australian government perspective, frameworks, opportunities, incentives and challenges.
  • Master Classes on frugal innovation; design thinking and lean start-up principles; and, data analytics and business transformation.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday 27 (afternoon) and all-day Thursday 28 September 2017

Where: La Trobe Business School, located at the Donald Whitehead Building, La Trobe Melbourne Campus, Bundoora Victoria

Register: Please register via this link.

Geraldine Kennett on Australian Leadership: “Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage”

By Joseph Ghaly

Geraldine Kennett talks to Joseph Ghaly about Australian Leadership. Dr Geraldine Kennett is Professor of Practice in Management and Director of External Engagement at the La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the unique qualities and features of Australian Leadership?
Geraldine Kennett: A sense of openness. We are a little bit more relaxed and laid back. I think it’s a part of the Australian culture so our leadership emulates that.

I don’t believe we always draw on international leadership practices because we tend to be more parochial and domestically focussed, particularly our corporate leadership.

The other thing I notice about Australian Leadership is that it is heavily masculine. We still don’t have many women at the most senior leadership levels. This can put a hard edge on the way we lead our organisations and put emphasis on short-term results, from a political, corporate and even not-for-profit perspective. Those organisations led largely by males at the executive level tend to focus on operations, fiscal results and business outcomes.

So even though I suggest we are relaxed and open, the dichotomy is that we are very much driven by achieving outcomes for the organisation. My hypothesis would be that with increased female leadership we would be more focused on the long-term health of the organisation, the health of the economy and the health of society in general. And some of our outcomes would be more sustainable and environmentally driven.

I get a sense that the direction we have taken in our country is very short term outcomes focused.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are Australians seeking from our leaders?

Geraldine Kennett: Good question because Australia is in a fairly complex environment. Most of the issues that could be resolved for our society have been resolved. We know we have some social and economic issues as well as rapidly changing technology and several industry structural changes that are developing rapidly.

So, what Australians are looking for is leadership where we move from hero to host.

Australians have constantly looked for people who could be the hero and solve our problems. What we are looking for now is someone that is more of a host. That means having a more shared approach to leadership – the community gets involved, individuals wish to be involved. People want to be involved in decision making and that leads to a more collaborative society to what we have been experiencing in the past.

At the same time, Australians show a desire for integrity and authenticity. I bundle the two together because the public wants to leadership with genuine integrity. We expect our leaders to be authentic and walk the talk. We are educated so treat us with respect.

People are expecting to be led by leaders who can influence us to come along. Communities are wanting to be empowered and involved in the decisions of leaders. This means a strong envisaging leader.

The 4 ‘E’s as I refer to leadership here at the Latrobe Business School. Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage.

Simple principles which if we lead by these principles the community and all its stakeholders will be engaged and willing to contribute to the vision or venture. The ‘how’ within these simple principles of leadership are more complex. The how or the way we lead is with authenticity, integrity, ethics and sustainability. The data from our under 36-year-old demographics show what they are expecting from our leaders includes; values, ethics and sustainability.

Overall, Australians are seeking strong collaboration, integrity, authenticity, sustainability, and ethics in the way in which we lead.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the finest examples of Australian Leadership you have observed or delivered?

Geraldine Kennett: Thank you. I’m going to refer you locally to Professor John Dewar, the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University. Professor Dewar has had to make some tough decisions to ensure that the university is at the forefront of higher education for the future. He has had to be very mindful of doing this with limited resources. At the same time, John is not afraid to invest in opportunities that provide long-term benefits for the future. For instance, a new community access sports centre and new courses in cybersecurity and business analytics.

I have been fortunate to work alongside Professor John Dewar on a charity, The Australian Futures Project (AFP), that he supports out of his office. He has done this because he genuinely believes that the university has a leadership role in supporting start-up ideas that have a broader agenda for society. The AFP purpose is to create better decision making for a better Australian society. It leads forums for politicians, public servants and the community at large. It addresses how leaders beyond one’s own organisation make contributions to society.

Another example is from my former time with the Institute of Public Administration Australia. The Former CEO, Dr Kathy Laster,  would consistently act on decisions with three key criteria in mind:

  1. Did I do that with integrity;
  2. Is it a sustainable decision; and,
  3. What will be the impact on the people I’m leading, and people in the community beyond my organisation?

Reflecting on the broader impact is sustainable and ethical leadership in my view.

Finally, I work with and support Indigenous issues, in particular, the economic development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a leader I admire – Paul Briggs, a well-respected Yorta Yorta man. He has the tenacity and an enormous capacity to think strategically and gets people at the highest level engaged in his initiatives.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are our major challenges?

Geraldine Kennett: I think a major priority for Australia is to give our first nation’s people, economic independence and as a whole community support them in their development.

We need our leaders to enable and empower those communities and bring the rest of the country along in supporting them; that means all citizens and employers in the private, public and non-government sectors.

The other challenge is to move forward in driving our digital and experience-based economy rather than the former economy based on consumption. We need people to be really thinking about this agenda otherwise, the threat is high unemployment and a polarisation of society from displaced industries. We need to consider the jobs of the future and our education emphasis for future generations.

A sustainable planet is, of course, critical and should fair in our thinking beyond the challenges pertaining our own generation. I believe it our responsibility to develop leaders who lead responsibly and make long-term decisions that sustain future generations.

This post was originally published in the online Australian Leadership magazine.

Professors of Practice Profiles – Janet Russell: “The mix of experience in our Professor of Practice team is outstanding and complementary to the LBS faculty, in total providing an invaluable resource to our students.”

Janet Russell

When La Trobe Business School introduced the Professors of Practice concept early last year, Janet Russell was one of the first Professors of Practice to be appointed.

As one of the first Business Schools in Australia to pioneer this concept, LBS intends that Professors of Practice will provide students with invaluable insights into the industry, while also  strengthening links between LBS and industry.

With experience spanning from being a CEO and Managing Director to running her own executive coaching service for successful entrepreneurs, tech specialists, lawyers and accountants, Janet Russell has an impressive breadth of experience to bring to La Trobe Business School. ”As an executive coach, I aim to help clients identify the thoughts and behaviours that can hold them back in their careers or leadership roles so they can grow conscious of these and develop new ways of thinking and behaving that serve them and their organisations much better,” she says. “The key in my work as an executive coach is to ask the right questions to unlock what the real or underlying issue is for an individual. For example, I’ll often deal with clients who have been promoted on the basis of research they conducted, but they feel unequipped for their new position because they are insecure about their managerial or people skills. By asking the right questions, you can support an individual to deal with the often irrational fears that hold them back from realising their own potential.”

Currently, Janet Russell teaches on La Trobe Business School’s MBA programme, where she delivers subjects on Responsible Leadership, HR and Management. “I really enjoy teaching especially as my professional experience and knowledge are well aligned with La Trobe Business School’s values and goals, like creating work-ready graduates and fostering global citizens.” Janet says. “I was also very pleased to see that our Business School was named one of the only PRME champions in Australia recently. A strong focus on sustainability and developing responsible leaders is crucial for organisations globally.”

In November last year, Janet travelled to Hanoi, Vietnam, where she taught an intensive course on responsible leadership to twenty MBA students. “It was a wonderful experience to compare and contrast the learning environment of our Hanoi based students with our Australian based students.

When asked what she thinks a Professor of Practice should bring to a course, Janet Russell is clear: “Relevant experience and practical application of how what’s studied in a business subject translates into the real world of work and organisational environments, which I think all Professors of Practice have in abundance. The mix of experience in our Professor of Practice team is outstanding and complementary to the LBS faculty, in total providing an invaluable resource to our students.”

LBS’s Dr Tarek Rana recently appointed as a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) executive committee!

Dr Tarek Rana

Dr Tarek Rana was recently appointed as an executive committee member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), Albury-Wodonga branch.  CAANZ was created though the amalgamation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA) and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and has a membership of 115,000 professionals.

For an accountant, being named a member means receiving the Chartered Accountant title. This title is an internationally recognised professional designation that reflects the highest standards of ethical, professional and technical expertise. To qualify as a Chartered Accountant of CAANZ, members have to gain and maintain one of the toughest professional accountancy and finance qualifications in the world.

“Being on the AW regional committee of CAANZ provides La Trobe Business School with an opportunity to engage more with one of the largest accounting professional bodies in the world and within the regional business community,” Dr Tarek Rana said. “I am keen to build on this relationship, not only to foster growth within La Trobe Business School, but also to increase students’ employability.”

Dr Tarek Rana is La Trobe Business School’s Campus Coordinator for the Albury-Wodonga campus and a Lecturer in Accounting. Prior to becoming an academic, Tarek was a Principal and senior manager of professional accounting firms in Sydney and Canberra. He has over ten years public practice experience in business services, taxation, auditing, and financial planning as well as consulting services including financial management, cash flow management, and performance management.

When it comes to engaging with diverse stakeholders including academic colleagues, students, staff, business organisations, and the public service, Dr Tarek Rana demonstrates a consistently proactive approach. With CAANZ, Tarek maintains the same positive and proactive approach: “This relationship can be very meaningful to the broader Albury-Wodonga region in the sense that it can make important contributions to businesses and the professional community in this area.”

As an example of these contributions, in collaboration with the CAANZ Albury-Wodonga committee, Tarek is planning to develop projects with regional significance, including costing public services associated with an ageing population and regional community development.

LBS Professor of Practice Profiles – Mark Morris: “I always wanted to teach.”

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of Practice
From early 2015, La Trobe Business School has introduced a team of Professors of Practice, staff with extensive industry experience. As one of the first Business Schools in Australia to pioneer this concept, LBS’s goal is that the Professors of Practice will provide their students with professional and practical insights into the business world, and that they will form a connection between industry and LBS students, contributing to the students’ business knowledge and employability.

Appointed as one of the Department of Accounting’s Professors of Practice, Mark Morris’s extensive tax experience in industry is a considerable resource to LBS and to the university. “I think I have a very unusual career,” he says, “in that I have been exposed to most facets of tax in virtually all market segments since I joined the profession over 30 years ago.”

Starting out in the big four accounting firms, Mark moved on to be the Tax Manager for Foster’s Brewing Group Ltd. After this, he spent eight years as the Tax Counsel at Mobil Oil Australia Ltd and then worked as the Group Tax manager at GM Holden Ltd. Thereafter he was a Tax Principal with two mid-market chartered accounting firms before ending up as the Senior Tax Counsel at CPA Australia for more than nine years.

At CPA Australia, Mark’s role involved consulting with Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office on the design, interpretation and administration of all Federal taxation laws, including liaison with a diverse range of members over a wide array of issues. Mark was also heavily involved in providing media comment on pressing issues, through both traditional and new media, either as a direct commentator or by presenting the organisation’s views on tax developments.

Mark has also presented at numerous professional forums about contemporary issues impacting the tax profession and the broader community “I am fortunate that I have garnered a wide range of experience and knowledge across various environments which I can bring to the table to the La Trobe Business School,” Mark comments, “And I always wanted to teach. So, this seemed like a great opportunity to share my insights with students who I hope benefit from some of my professional experiences.”

Having worked with a number of LBS students, Mark recognises that students need an adaptive skillset in today’s job market more than ever. According to him, being able to bring practical examples of what happens in the real world into the classroom is one of the main tasks of a Professor of Practice. Mark comments: “I try to provide insights as to what they will find in the workplace wherever I can, because this is exactly the kind of knowledge that can give them an edge to stand out from the crowd. With the rise of Big Data, new technologies, outsourcing and a competitive market, graduates need to have a clear strategy when it comes to their skillset, their personal branding, and their industry connections.”

In Mark’s opinion, having the Professors of Practice in place adds further value to LBS and helps to build bridges between industry, students, and the broader community. “We create plenty of meaningful research at La Trobe Business School. If we can combine this intellectual resource with engaging teaching methods we can hopefully infuse our students with a greater commercial skill set as well as a strong theoretical foundation, which can make an enormous difference for graduates and future employers.” Mark says. “In that sense, being a Professor of Practice is a terrific role, because not only do we get to be very creative in our teaching, but we can also actively add value through our industry experience and connections. And when we create and reinforce strong relationships with several professional organisations – as La Trobe Business School has done – students will be able to get relevant work experience, while employers benefit from a pair of extra hands on deck. In this type of situation, everybody wins.”

 

Innovation and shared value critical for regional development, says LBS Professor of Practice

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

By Mark Cloney

Could a new approach to regional development policy premised on creating shared value and utilising existing institutional networks be a key catalyst to the implementation the Turnbull government’s national innovation agenda?

The upcoming Federal Budget should outline more details of the government’s national innovation agenda. One way to ensure the successful implementation of the agenda could be to utilise established institutional arrangements and networks that foster regional economic development across Australia’s regions – and not duplicate or marginalise their efforts.

In December 2015 the Turnbull government announced an Innovation Statement that committed $1.1 billion dollars over the next four years to support business based research, development and innovation. A key focus of the Innovation Statement is a desire to strengthen the ties between business, universities and scientific institutions.

Many leading theorists have written on the importance of innovation and regional development to the international competiveness of firms and nations. For example, Harvard business gurus Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011) argue for the importance of creating shared value, which focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress including enabling industry clusters. Much of what they say is consistent with the Innovation Statement objectives.

According to Porter and Kramer (2011), policies, collaboration and operation practice that enhances competiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which they operate will be the power behind next wave of global growth. They cite firms such as Google, IBM, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Nestle, Unilever and Wal-Mart as examples of companies that have embarked on shared value initiatives within the communities where they operate. According to Porter, in particular, the success of every business is affected by the supporting companies and soft and hard infrastructure around it and the networks within which they operate (i.e. the microeconomic foundations). Therefore stronger local capabilities in areas such as education and training, R&D, transport services and logistics, supplier collaboration, distribution channels and infrastructure are key to increased competitiveness and innovation. To support industry cluster development, business needs to identify gaps and deficiencies in these areas and enter into closer collaboration with like businesses, peak industry groups, government and universities to collectively address local deficiencies.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a national network of 55 committees (including metropolitan RDA’s) made up of local leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support economic and social development of their regions. This initiative is funded by the Australian Government and supported by state, territory and local governments in all jurisdictions. Most RDAs have at least one university in their catchment area and are at various stages of maturity in their engagement with them. For example, La Trobe University is a board member of both the North Melbourne (NM) RDA and North Link, two regional development bodies who between them cover seven local government areas in Melbourne’s northern suburbs (incorporating La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus).  La Trobe has been supporting these organisations for a number of years and provides facilities for North Link at its R&D Technology Enterprise Centre. The established networks of NMRDA and North Link are all about facilitating R&D research connections with business, industry and the tertiary sector in the northern region with an objective to help local business grow and innovate.

Perhaps options to consider delivering the innovation agenda through policies focused on creating shared value and directing new resources to the existing institutional arrangements and networks of the RDAs would provide an efficient mechanism and real impetus to delivering the government’s innovation vision.

Dr Mark Cloney is a Professor of Practice Economics at La Trobe Business School.

Mark has had 20 years’ experience in the federal government in corporate areas including program design, implementation, evaluation and compliance. He was a member of the Senior Executive Service in the department of Agriculture and completed a PhD with the University of Sydney in 2003 on regional development policy and economic theory.

Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer (2011) The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value, Rethinking Capitalism, Harvard Business Review, Jan- Feb – https://hbr.org/2011/01/the-big-idea-creating-shared-value/ar/pr

North Melbourne RDA – Regional Development Australia web site: https://rda.gov.au/

North Link website: http://melbournesnorth.com.au/

“Near Enough is Good Enough”

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of Practice
By Mark Morris

It’s not often that I intuitively align the laborious machinations of industry policy deliberations in Canberra with the wise intonations of the Rolling Stones but that is exactly how I responded after I digested the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda report issued on Monday 7 December 2015.

As Mick and Keith once sagely wrote ‘You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometime you find you get what you need.’ This pretty much sums up the overall impact of the myriad of changes announced which collectively makes Australia a far more attractive place in which to invest in innovative businesses. This is the case even if the report falls short of the cutting edge vision of economies like the United Kingdom.

On the plus side it is clear that the Federal Government has commendably adopted a multi-disciplinary approach to improving research and development (R&D) and related commercialisation. It has done this by proposing measures that enhance access to venture capital, drive closer collaboration between universities and industry, improve educational outcomes in science, technology, engineering and maths, ensure digital by default delivery of government services and capitalises on the growth of big data and the need to leverage it for the benefit of the economy through advanced data analytics.

As such the Federal Government is seeking to apply a more holistic view on innovation policy along the lines championed by the Cutler Review of the National Innovation System way back in 2008. This was before the Global Financial Crisis derailed the process to the point where we did not need a Minister for Science as if that distracted us from the fixation of repairing the Budget Deficit.

Crucially the tax settings of the new innovation regime are also a considerable improvement over the status quo. Tax incentives are not only available for companies undertaking R&D but also for investors who provide the venture capital to fund the commercialisation of any resulting R&D.

Accordingly, the Federal Government has finally recognised that tax breaks need to be provided over the life cycle of a business to encourage entrepreneurs to conduct and invest in risky projects which may ultimately not be viable especially in the new rapidly dynamic and volatile digital economy.

As a case study to the Report highlights the retention of the existing refundable R&D tax offset allows start-up companies to leverage tax credits to help finance eligible research and development. This is so, even if it appears that the offset will be retrospectively cut from 45% to 43.5% from 1 July 2015).

This has been augmented by new tax breaks which allow individual investors a 20% non-refundable tax offset for investments in certain start-ups, and a capital gains tax exemption where investments held in such companies are held for more than three years but less than 10 years. In addition, partners in early stage venture capital limited partnerships (ESVCLP) will get a 10% non-refundable tax offset on capital invested in the partnership which can now raise funds of up to $200 million in early stage development of eligible activities.

Taken collectively there is therefore much to be praised in the new package.

So where does it fall down?

Firstly, the Report flags that there will be yet another review of the efficacy of the R&D incentive by the newly created Innovation and Science Australia Board. This concession has been around in various forms since 1985 and has had almost as many reboots or variants as the James Bond franchise. The last thing that an innovative entrepreneur wants to see is uncertainty as to whether it will still be around to help finance their initial R&D so let’s hope it is enhanced and not diminished.

Secondly, the take up in ESVCLP has tended to be relatively low as high wealth investors with surplus cash want some control over their venture capital investment. This is not the case with this investment vehicle where your investment is generally capped to a maximum 30% interest. I do not see that radically changing because of the prospect of a 10% non-refundable tax offset. And the proposed rules on other investors are typically over-restrictive.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the Report does not address our internationally uncompetitive corporate tax rates of 28.5% and 30%. Additionally, the demarcation between those tax rate regimes can itself be a practical nightmare to navigate.

How does this compare to the United Kingdom’s 18% corporate tax rate to apply from 1 July 2020, and particularly to royalties and capital gains arising from intellectual property subject to their patent box regime which will likely be subject to further concessional tax treatment?

I would suggest not that well even if it is not an apple to apple comparison.

It’s true that businesses don’t do things solely because of a tax break but a whopping differential in tax rates could be a deciding factor in a mobile digital world as to where you want to invest your capital in innovative products and processes.

However, even if the proposed changes fall short of addressing all facets of our international competitiveness they do signal that our Federal Government is finally serious about instilling an innovation mentality and culture in our businesses, universities and the broader community.

Which leads us back to Mick and Keith.

Maybe the announced changes are not what we ideally want in becoming an international trendsetter on innovation but maybe it’s what we need to allow us to nationally lift our head and embrace being part of the new innovative digital economy.

And given where we have been perhaps that is enough at this point.

 

UniSuper’s WIL invaluable for financial planning students

UniSuper La Trobe Business School
One of the key strengths of the Financial Planning program offered by La Trobe Business School is the range of work integrated learning (WIL) experiences that students can participate in.

La Trobe’s Financial Planning program, led by Senior Lecturer Marc Olynyk, has developed strong relationships with the profession and leading industry practitioners. As well as teaching the theoretical knowledge required of a financial planning professional, students are also taught to apply this theory to real-life work issues.

Over the past four years, the annual UniSuper Financial Planning seminar has grown to become a key feature of La Trobe Business School’s Financial Planning program. UniSuper – one of Australia’s leading superannuation funds – hosted this year’s seminar on 25 September at their offices in Melbourne’s CBD.

Led by Mr Graham Eggins, Regional Manager Southern at UniSuper, and supported by various team members, the seminar provides students with the opportunity to experience financial planning in a real-life work environment. It also aims to develop their skills in communication and strategy development.

“UniSuper has been a great supporter of the financial planning program at La Trobe University over a number of years and has a strong commitment towards promoting the education experiences of our students,” said Mr Olynyk.

La Trobe Business School is one of the market leaders in financial planning education in Australia. The Financial Planning program places considerable emphasis on a range of work-based learning experiences, as well as providing work-ready skills to prepare students for entry into the rapidly expanding profession. The Financial Planning Major can be undertaken from within a number of undergraduate business courses on offer from La Trobe Business School.

Interested in enrolling in a Business Degree? See our Business courses page for more information. 

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