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StartupWeek; Australia’s growing startup ecosystem

It was only two months ago that Sydney fell four places to 16th in the most recent Global Startup Ecosystem Report rankings. The recent StartupWeek Sydney festival hopefully helped to address some of the key issues that caused this fall, with its series of 50 events last week aiming to strengthen and celebrate Sydney’s startup ecosystem.

The festival, which ran from October 23rd to October 30th, consisted of a range of events including conferences, hackathons, workshops, pitch nights, panels, exhibitions and other bespoke events designed to celebrate the efforts of those in the startup ecosystem and encourage those new to the community to learn more. Particular emphasis was placed on exploring how women can play a greater role in tech and how more children could be involved in the sector.

StartupWeek was also responsible for facilitating a deeper level of engagement between startups, investors, all three levels of government and corporate organisations.

The festival attracted over 5,000 attendees to 22 venues, including NSW Parliament House, UNSW, UTS, Fishburners and the recently opened FinTech startup hub Stone & Chalk.

Michelle Williams, national manager of StartupWeek Australia, said the festival showcased a Sydney startup community “which has never seen this level of energy and momentum.”

“Global economic uncertainty is contributing to a new focus on innovation and entrepreneurialism here in Australia,” said Williams. “As whole industries face digital disruption, now is the time to catalyse existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to build and grow Australia’s innovation and growth opportunities.”

StartupWeek Sydney was supported by the NSW Department of Industry and the City of Sydney.

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, said, “We want the thriving talent and long-term benefits of a fertile tech culture for Sydney, with local startups that lead their fields. Our support for StartupWeek is part of a long term strategy to help build the skilled and connected community we need to make that happen.”

In addition to government support, the event was also supported by leading media company Fairfax. Via its mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review and BRW, it decided to support Australian innovation by partnering with StartupWeek for a year-long program of events across Australia.

Content and the key themes of these events will focus on keeping Australia’s entrepreneurial talent within the country, advocating for more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education initiatives, diversity in the startup ecosystem, FinTech, The Internet of Things and the startup journey of Australian founders.

StartupWeek will be looking to expand across Australia next year with this partnership, and also plans to hold some events in regional areas.

Author: 
Mat Beeche
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