Woman in Innovation: Simone Annis
"Without innovation, we die!"

Each Wednesday we interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

What are you working on?
I’m currently working on specifying a new electric bike model using a recently released very light motor that I saw when I was recently in China.

Why is innovation important to you?
Innovation is important to me because it keeps the business fresh and relevant! Without innovation, we die! We’ve been around since 2008 and being a small business trying to compete in an industry dominated by large international companies is tricky. But on the up side, one of the major advantages of being small is that we are close to our customers and suppliers and we know what our customers are looking for. In response, we can introduce new products and make adaptions to existing products much more quickly than the big bike brands.

What drives you to make a difference?
I’m passionate about what I’m doing! The bike industry in Australia is dominated by men, mostly from a sporting background. But when I was traveling in Asia around 2005, I saw people getting around on electric bikes and I wondered why we weren’t seeing them much in Canberra. I did my research and discovered that the needs of bike commuters, particularly women, weren’t being met. This, combined with having always ridden a bike for transport myself, and an environmental working background and wanting to get more people out of their cars more often, made me see the potential opportunities for e-bikes in a place like Canberra. I’m also passionate about getting people, particularly women, moving and keeping people moving. For example: Nothing makes me happier than seeing the joy of an 80 year old (who has always ridden and had to stop for health reasons) get back on their bike!

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
It’s hard for women at various times in life to find the right balance between roles such as caring and professional success. The great thing about being your own boss is that (sometimes) you have more flexibility. Find a niche that works for you and continue to adapt and grow the business in the way you need to grow it. Sometimes, we can get hung up on notions of progress and success, but in my experience, the entrepreneurial journey is less linear than you might expect and having had experience at adapting to different roles and knowing that things will always change really helps.

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