MARKET PULSE: Peer-to-peer car sharing service Car Next Door and place experience measurement tool Placescore have been announced as two of Westpac’s Businesses of Tomorrow.

Westpac announced 200 successful businesses as part of its bicentennial celebrations this month, chosen from nearly 2000 applications nationally. Car Next Door was named in the top 20 high-potential businesses, while Placescore was one of a handful of built environment businesses.

The top 20 businesses will be matched with an eminent mentor such as Carla Zampatti, Ita Buttrose, John Eales, Tim Fung and Andrew Vesey. They will also receive a tailored $100,000 professional services package and a study tour to the US and China.

According to a report by Deloitte Access Economics, harnessing business leadership potential would create a $70 billion opportunity for Australia, translating into a four per cent increase in the nation’s GDP (PPP-adjusted).

The businesses this year are an impressive cohort, with a collective turnover of approximately $2 billion a year, supporting thousands of jobs. Technology businesses make up 40 per cent of the 200. The digital economy is estimated to grow by 10 per cent each year and be worth $139 billion by 2020.

Westpac Business Bank chief executive David Lindberg said the Businesses of Tomorrow program would help leaders in acquiring the skills they need today to empower them to succeed tomorrow.

“We had so many businesses with the potential to go global, and one of the things we hope to do is support that expansion,” he said.

Fitness camps building connections

Community fitness camps on housing estates is a growing trend among property developers with Frasers Property Australia, Stockland, Mirvac, Lendlease and Aqualand all partnering with private social initiative Live Life Get Active.

In 2016, 135 Live Life Get Active trainers led 19,100 sessions at 90 fitness camps across NSW, Queensland, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

The social sustainability concept is having a positive impact on health and connectedness at Frasers’ new housing estates. About 2300 residents have joined free Live Life Get Active fitness camps at 20 sites in the past year – and the numbers are growing every week.

The camps are most popular among the 35-40-year age bracket, with women accounting for about 80 per cent of all members. Almost half of all participants are identified as “at risk” due to their weight, waist circumference, activity and hours spent sitting each day.

Participants are reporting slimmer waistlines, however social benefits are one of the main reasons Frasers is rolling out the free camps.

Executive general manager residential Anthony Boyd said the company had already made a $400,000 investment in the program – $20,000 sponsorship for 20 sites.

“The return isn’t immediate or even measurable, and that’s fine,” he said. “We recognise the value of social infrastructure in building healthy communities and believe this investment is very worthwhile.”

Former Olympian and champion of Live Life Get Active Jane Flemming said the program’s real success was in helping to build communities and connecting people.

“The camps are proving a fantastic way for people to get to know each in a really healthy environment,” she said. “This social interaction brings with it important physical and mental health benefits with the added bonus that everyone encourages each other to turn up.”

The fitness camps are open to residents, families, friends and staff of Frasers’ communities. By the year’s end, Live Life Get Active anticipates that membership across Australia will reach 3000.

New Cities Reference Group

Planning Institute Australia national president Brendan Nelson has been invited to participate in a new national Cities Reference Group.

The Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the group “will be a valuable source of expertise and insight for the government” as it aims to ensure Australia’s cities maintain a high standard of productivity, accessibility and liveability in the face of 21st-century challenges.

As an urban planner, Mr Nelson said he was pleased to be involved in the group’s vital work.

“Urban planning is critical to protecting Australia’s future productivity and liveability,” he said.

“As the speed of change increases and the challenges facing our built environment become more numerous and complex, the public and private sectors are turning more and more to planners for their unique combination of skills and expertise in dealing with these challenges.”

The group’s agenda will be to position cities to be the best they can be in the future.

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