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Makerspace Adelaide Operations Manager Laura Gransbury Makerspace Adelaide Operations Manager Laura Gransbury Makerspace Adelaide, a volunteer-run organisation that equips people, from teens to retirees, to share and build old and new skills, will hold a fundraising auction this Friday, February 25, to fund its post-pandemic life.

At the auction, from 7pm, people will bid for volunteers to undertake projects using equipment at Makerspace Adelaide, ranging from laser cutters and sewing machines to 3D printers and traditional hand tools. One item for auction is access to a smoke ring machine, which normally rents to events such as parties for $500, while another is a Cosmic Ray Detector. Only 50 public tickets are available for the Save Our Makerspace auction. Click here for details.

After two years of planning, Makerspace Adelaide opened the doors of its 700-square-metre premises at 100 Franklin Street, Adelaide, in January 2020 - just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia. Despite lockdowns, social distancing and other COVID concerns, Makerspace Adelaide has attracted more than 1000 people to use its facilities in the two years since. 

This community fabrication workshop provides members with affordable access to a range of tools and equipment and volunteers who help members learn how to use them safely. A strong focus on sustainability includes a textile reuse program to transform old clothing into new items or turning old plastic into 3D filament. 

Makerspace Adelaide Operations Manager Laura Gransbury said the volunteer-run organisation had to leave its current premises because it could not afford to pay commercial rent. “Despite strong community support, we’ve been unable to thread that cashflow needle, so we need to move at the end of March,” she said.

Enphase microinverter-equipped solar panels on the CFS to provide energy for the rebuilt Stokes Bay Community HallEnphase microinverter-equipped solar panels on CFS harvest energy for the rebuilt Stokes Bay Community Hall

Eighteen Enphase microinverter-equipped REC solar panels will provide energy for the $1.3 million reconstructed Stokes Bay Community Hall, which was destroyed by catastrophic bushfires in 2020.

Located on the north coast of Kangaroo Island, Stokes Bay has a population of more than 200 people, for whom the 60-year-old hall is the heart of the community. In January 2020, a bushfire badly damaged the hall and destroyed a recently completed adjacent kitchen building, as well as 17 houses in the community. Across Australia, the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 caused 33 deaths, destroyed 3094 houses and burned more than 17 million hectares.

As part of the rebuilding project supported by the Prince’s Trust, Enphase Energy has provided 18 IQ7+ microinverters for 18 370-watt REC solar panels, which were installed on a nearby Country Fire Service (CFS) shed by Enphase partner Energy SA. 

The 6.66 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar system, with a retail value of about $12,000, will provide energy for the rebuilding project this year and for the entire hall when it’s completed in the second half. As Stokes Bay lacks fixed-line Internet access, Energy SA installed a 4G modem at the hall to enable remote monitoring of the system using the Enphase Enlighten web-based solar energy monitoring software. Enphase also donated five years worth of monitoring data for the system.

Stokes Bay Community Hall Committee Treasurer Michael Stanton said the hall was the heart of the small community. “We use it every week for everything from tennis club meetings and church services to sports tournaments and Christmas shows,” he said. 

CitrusAd cofounders Nick Paech (left) and Brad Moran

Australian retailers have a “12-month window” to deliver retail media platforms that respond to how the pandemic has fundamentally reshaped customer behaviour warns CitrusAd CEO Brad Moran.

The explosion of online ordering driven by COVID-19 has seen digital retail media spending soar. In the US, retail media advertising expenditure hit US$31.49 billion during 2021 – a 53.4 per cent increase on 2020 – with a trajectory to top US$50 billion during 2023.

Mr Moran said many Australian retailers were failing to capitalise on this marketing megatrend because they lack the in-house expertise and experience to build a retail media advertising platform that could compete with Amazon, Google and Facebook. “They have a 12-month window to recognise and respond to how the pandemic has flipped the script for brand advertising in retail media,” he said.

LIFELENZ founder and CEO Dr. Stephen KirkbyLIFELENZ founder and CEO Dr. Stephen Kirkby

Australia-born workforce management software provider LIFELENZ has completed a successful US$32 million Series B capital raise led by Sydney and New-York based venture capital fund Tidal Ventures and Australian local growth investor Ellerston Capital.

With participation from existing and new institutional investors, the funding round was managed by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Australia. LIFELENZ will use this capital to accelerate growth by supporting expansion among existing clients as well as extending into new geographies. 

As well as implementing new clients in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, and Asia, LIFELENZ will increase staff in its US locations, particularly Chicago and Washington DC, and its 80-strong software engineering team in Adelaide, South Australia. Tidal Ventures Managing Partner Grant McCarthy will join the LIFELENZ board of directors.

LIFELENZ was founded in 2017 by Dr Stephen Kirkby who, with the core LIFELENZ team, led Accenture Digital globally. His previous startups included website optimisation player Maxamine.