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Fast track to Silicon Valley success

THE Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) has launched its annual search for the leaders of Australia’s hottest new technology to win a once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid week in the mecca of the high-tech world - Silicon Valley, USA.

The Silicon Valley High Tech Tour Competition - in its third year - offers winners an intensive week of meetings with US high-tech leaders, venture capitalists, visionaries and decision makers providing an enviable springboard into the world’s largest and most exciting technology market.

Winners will gain first hand knowledge of US high-tech industry trends, connections with senior business and technology figures and companies, an understanding of critical market success factors and access to a network of peer companies who have succeeded in the US.

One of last year’s competition winners, Bob Hall from Sandstone Technology likened the experience to “a condensed MBA for Technology Startups”.

Austrade Project Manager, Information and Communic-ations Technology Camilla Mahony said the relevance of the competition had become even stronger since the market ‘correction’ of 2000 which saw the “dot.com” bubble burst.

“Despite the slow-down in the market, last year saw an 80 per cent increase in venture capitalist investments in the US to a record breaking US$68.8 billion,” Ms Mahony said.

“There is still a lot of money out there but the fundamentals of sound business planning and strategic management have cut through the ‘hype’ as a prerequisite for success.

“The competition has always looked for Australian companies that not only have great technology to offer but more importantly a realistic long-term business plan, export strategy and a capable management team.”.

To be eligible applicants must:

o Work for or own an Australian small to medium sized business with a turnover under A$20 million – or have a maximum of 100 employees;

o Have technology or business that provides solutions in: enabling software platforms, network software or communications infrastructure (including 3G networking), hosted services/ASP, emerging technology (eg Nano-technology, etc.), or software development, hardware engineering services or Internet/intranet applications;

o Have some current international activity or globalisation plan in place and are ready to export;

o Be able to convince the judging panel, in a one-page application, as to why you should be selected to join the tour;

o Be available May 21-25 to attend all planned events in Silicon Valley, and on May 8 to attend the briefing activities.

Sponsored by United Airlines, Sun Microsystems, Nextec, William Buck, the National Office for the Information Economy and the Australian Stock Exchange, the applications for the Silicon Valley High Tech Tour Competition close on Monday, March 26.

Apply online, by visiting www.austrade.gov.au/SVTOUR or call Austrade on 13 28 78.

n Trevor de Carteret is Austrade’s Regional Trade Commissioner for Western Australia.

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