Exciting times for small business

31 May 2017

Written by: Natasha Tzikos

Embracing Life Global, bringing new innovation to life.

Have you ever thought about working for yourself and being your own boss? You might come up with a great idea, see a gap in the market or want to work your own hours.

While the reason for starting a business may differ from person to person, small businesses are indispensable to Victoria’s economy as providers of employment across all industry supply chains.

Bruno Condello is the CEO of Embracing Life™ Global, a small business established to bring innovation to life.

“Our first initiative is the Embracing Life™ harness, which is a safe and secure alternative to securing Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) feeding tubes for patients,” Condello tells upstart.

An Australian invention, the Embracing Life™ harness was inspired by a mechanical engineer diagnosed with throat cancer, who needed to be fed via a PEG feeding tube because radiation treatment meant that he could not eat, drink or swallow.

Source: Bruno Condello

“The harness is made from elastic and fits snuggly around a patient’s chest. It does away with securing feeding tubes with medical adhesive tape, which can be painful due to skin sensitivity.”

“The PEG can also be messy as it can move around or dislodge, which is distressing for patients and extra work for their carers,” Condello says.

Starting up a business can be tough and for every successful business there are just as many that fail.

Barbara Cullen is the Director of Small Business Victoria, which helps small business owners and operators to plan, start and grow their business.

“In Victoria alone there are more than 556,619 small businesses, making up over 97 per cent of the state’s businesses, with small business generating 45 per cent or almost half of the private sector jobs in Victoria,” Cullen tells upstart.

Small Business Victoria has online checklists that look at the personal skills and planning required to start and run a small business. There is also a focus on the development of better business practices through presentations, webinars and information sessions.

“There was a lot we didn’t know starting out. It takes significant time, effort and money, which is difficult when you are doing it alongside your everyday full-time job,” Condello says.

Starting up a small business can be expensive and require investment. It’s important to have access to funds when you need them. Small Business Victoria provides information about State and Federal Government Grants that may be available.

Source: Bruno Condello

“Establishing Australian and international patents for the Embracing Life™ harness has been financially challenging. We are now looking at Government grants to help with cash flow,” Condello says.

The Victorian Government has put in place policies and resources to help small businesses survive, grow and be successful, including the annual Small Business Festival which features hundreds of events for anyone looking to start or grow a business.

“Small business matters to Victoria – for every 100 businesses in Victoria, almost 98 have fewer than 20 staff and almost 30 will be in regional and rural Victoria,” Cullen says.

The Government has recently introduced the Victorian Fair Payment Code, which is a voluntary code for all businesses to pay their small and medium business suppliers within 30 days of receipt of invoice. This will reduce the impact of late payments on small business cash flow and the need to chase payments.

“We are now marketing the benefits of the Embracing Life™ harness to health professionals, patient support groups and carers as a viable alternative to improve the quality of life for patients. It will be a great help to be paid on time by our customers,” Condello says.

In starting a new business, you must have a solid business and marketing plan, know your strengths and weaknesses, and seek support to do what you don’t have time for or aren’t skilled in.

Condello also says you need to believe in the business.

“Motivation and belief in your product or idea is key. If you don’t believe in the benefits of what you’re doing then it’s easy to lose your motivation.”

“We are very excited about the potential of the Embracing Life™ harness and the difference it can make for the lives of patients with PEG or other feeding tubes.”

If you’re thinking of starting a small business, head to Business Victoria for advice and resources including details about the upcoming Small Business Festival.


Natasha Tzikos is completing a Master of Communication (Public Relations) at La Trobe University. You can follow her here: @NatashaTzikos