Fibre optics start-up wins Exporter of the Year

Start-up business Future Fibre Technologies has been crowned Australian Exporter of the Year at the Federal Government’s Australian Export Awards.


Co-presented by the Australian Trade Commission and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the awards program recognises exporters who have achieved sustainable export growth through innovation.


At the 48th awards ceremony, FFT was picked out personally by the Prime Minister from the winners of the 12 national award categories. As well as winning the overall prize, FFT secured the Small to Medium Manufacturer Award.


Established in Melbourne in 1994, FFT is a market leader in the manufacturing of fibre optic intrusion detection and location systems, which protect the perimeters of venues worldwide including industrial, military, petrochemical and government sites.


Earlier systems were only able to identify that an intrusion had occurred, not the location. FFT developed core technology with the objective of pinpointing the location of intrusions over many kilometres of deployed optical fibre.


The company’s patented artificial intelligence technology can distinguish real events from nuisance alarms. With offices in the US, the UK, Europe and the Middle East, 90% of the business is export-based.


FFT chief executive Rob Broomfield says the company has worked hard to establish itself as a top tier supplier to major international companies and governments.


“This award recognises our focus on innovation and the quality of our product in the market,” he says.


According to a government spokesperson, judging panels are drawn from the private and public sectors, and each one has international business experience in the relevant areas.


Areas of focus include:

  • The degree of innovation in the marketing strategy.
  • Export growth achieved and the ability to sustain that growth.
  • Evidence of sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Value and contribution of exporting to business expansion.
  • The overall company commitment to international business.

“Special emphasis should be made on the contribution of innovation – for example, marketing strategies, new technologies, etc. – in achieving export success,” the spokesperson says.


“Companies are not evaluated purely on their export dollar values. Judges are looking for evidence that a company has a sound financial basis, the degree to which international business is integrated in the company, and the level of innovation the company uses in both product or service marketing and delivery.”


“Judges also want to read about the company’s journey to export – how it got where it is today, what its marketing strategies are, and how it maintains a competitive advantage.”


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