Keith Jury admits that he was taught painful - but extraordinarily useful - lessons when he attended the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s Business Acceleration Program.
“I was shown that I was doing nearly everything wrong and, in effect, had to start again.”
Keith, who owns a solar installation and maintenance company called Darwin Solar, is the inventor of SolFlow, a solar-powered hybrid system that filters, chlorinates and heats swimming pools from as little as three solar panels.
But his biggest selling product is a hybrid hot water system.
He attended the first three-day Business Acceleration Program education seminar and was so impressed that he has signed up for the other two.
“I was made to realise that I had employed people who were totally unsuitable for the job, so I set about employing the right people."
“It’s made a huge improvement for the company. Staff and turnover have doubled. We haven’t felt the economic downturn in the Territory at all.”
Keith urges other business leaders to join the Business Acceleration Program.
“It teaches you how to do business properly,” he says.
“Many business people just aren’t aware of how much help they can get from the Territory Government, not just funding but marketing and mentoring.
“There are a lot of great resources out there.”
Keith developed SolFlow after recognising the need among Darwin households for an all-in-one system that controlled their swimming pools.
The invention won the Territory’s inaugural Croc Pitch at the Darwin Innovation Hub last year and collected a $50,000 grant from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade under the Business Innovation Support Initiatives, which enabled Darwin Solar to further develop and market SolFlow.
“It has created a new sector in the renewable energy industry that allows products to be run directly by solar panels, unlike solar systems that feed into the mains power.”
Keith encourages innovators to press ahead with their ideas.
He acknowledges that getting an invention to market is hard work, but the financial benefits and sense of achievement can be enormous.
The entrepreneur has now received a grant to establish intellectual property rights over another innovation - a new way of extracting energy from solar cells.
The Business Acceleration Program is an initiative of the NT Government, hosted by the Darwin Innovation Hub and delivered by the Australian Centre for Business Growth.
It is recognised as a high-value, world-class program that enables chief executive officers and managing directors to identify opportunities, overcome business challenges and drive competitive advantage.
To find out more about the Business Acceleration Program, go to the Australian Centre for Business Growth website.