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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region.

Carbon disruptors calling Canberra home

Why MCi headquarter their carbon startup in the sustainability friendly ACT.

So much green technology is about reducing the greenhouse gases we produce: slowing the clock on the climate crisis. Imagine if there was a way of turning the clock backwards: actually pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

That’s exactly what the team from Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) have achieved: extracting carbon dioxide and turning it into building materials like cement and plaster board.

For Sophia Hamlin Wang, MCi COO, the goal is to disrupt industry thinking about carbon: showing that emissions can be a resource, just a waste product. Canberra is a perfect place to start those conversations and prove what’s possible.

“The technology is up and running and we’re making these materials every day. It’s been an amazing ride.”

Innovation capital

Canberra has a thriving innovation scene with world-leading companies calling the capital home.

“We enjoy a lot of support from the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN), and we play an active role in First Wednesday Connect sessions. Those sessions are invaluable — there’s always reps there from key science, technology and innovation projects,” she says.

“Canberra is small enough for genuine networking. You can usually find a way to connect with a person you want to meet in your industry.”

For Sophia, Canberra has a unique mix of lifestyle and knowledge to support innovation and business growth.

“The quality of life allows you to unlock so much creative potential, to access innovation through great universities, and to make the most of your day. Canberra definitely punches above its weight. The quality of startups coming out of Canberra is something to be proud of.”

Why Canberra?

MCi CEO and co-founder, Marcus Dawe, is a huge supporter of Canberra as a business destination.

“Being in Canberra means we’ve been able to do a lot of advocacy work for our technology, and communicate the potential to the right people,” says Sophia.

Canberra businesses have the advantage of being on the ground when the government needs industry access. When the Federal Government released a technology investment discussion paper, MCi was on hand to offer comment.

“Being in Canberra has amplified my voice. I never imagined I’d be sitting on the Q&A panel on ABC TV talking about technology investment,” Sophia says.

“And as an ANU graduate, it’s fantastic to have access to alumni events and networking. It really is another thing that makes my life great in Canberra.”

A sustainable setting

MCi is proud to be in the city that leads Australia’s renewable energy and sustainability targets — and delivers.

“The great thing about being a carbon venture in Canberra is that it’s one of the most progressive places in the world when it comes to emissions,” says Sophia.

“Government and industry have worked together to set and achieve a 100% low emissions electricity target — that’s world leading. Working in innovation in carbon and climate change technology in a place that is a sustainability power house? That’s unbelievably powerful.”

Under the walnut tree

Canberra isn’t just a great place to grow a business; it’s a great place to be. Living in a leafy inner-city suburb, Sophia says working from home for long periods is more relaxed thanks to Canberra’s green spaces and lifestyle.

“I live in a lovely house with a huge walnut tree in the backyard. And I love Canberra winters. There’s no such thing as being cold. It’s just being unprepared,” laughs Sophia.

“The best part of my day is sitting with a coffee under the walnut tree, morning sun on my face, and a cool breeze. That’s what I love about Canberra.”

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Interested in doing business in Canberra?

Contact the business team for information and advice.