How innovative is Australia?

South Australia’s annual innovation festival, _SOUTHSTART kicks off next week, with a host of events and speakers.

Established in 2018, the three day event offers discovery sessions/seminars, experts in residence, facilitated opportunities for founders to meet with investors, networking events, interactive town halls designed to workshop innovative solutions to difficult problems and a national pitch competition.

In the words of the _SOUTHSTART team, the event “has evolved into one of Australia’s most unique festival experiences for founders, funders & operators.”

Square Holes have partnered with _SOUTHSTART since 2018 to run annual attendee and stakeholder surveys that have assisted the organisation to hone their offering and secure long term financial support from the government.

In a case study interview in 2022 with Danielle Seymour, Director at _SOUTHSTART says that the benefit in hosting an event like _SOUTHSTART in Adelaide is to shine a light on the aspects of the city that make it a fertile ground for innovation.

“There’s a real benefit in mobilising our interstate networks and bringing in a refreshed lens on all the fantastic aspects of our city, as it reminds us of what we have right at our doorstep, and can often take for granted” says Seymour.

“There’s something really beneficial about bringing that positivity into our state, rather than it needing to be fuelled outwards.”

It’s also a sentiment echoed by attendees with one stating, “_SOUTHSTART is a lighthouse… it’s that beam of light that goes around and shines on all these various stories that we have in the community, and whether these stories come from interstate or are being told or created here, whether it’s startup success, or a specific founder story, doesn’t really matter. The point is that the lighthouse shines the beam on all this by going around in a 360 degree assessment of that.”

In recent years there has been a boon of events with innovation at their core in Australia, with the famous South by SouthWest (SXSW) making its way to Sydney’s shores in October 2023.

SXSW originally began as a music showcase to platform new and emerging talent in 1987 in Austin, Texas, but soon evolved into an event that also celebrates Tech & Innovation, Film and Gaming. Sydney was selected as the host city as it was positioned as the “gateway to the Asia Pacific”.

So why was Australia selected as the location for the southern hemisphere’s SXSW? According to Innovation in Australia we are the ideal environment for innovation because:

  • Australia is home to world-leading experts in emerging technologies and research – with The 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities placing six Australian universities in the top 100, and Australia ranks 11th globally for publishing high-quality scientific research.
  • Access to innovation infrastructure – with The Economist Intelligence Unit ranking Australia as equal 1st most attractive place in the world for companies to invest when considering how well prepared countries are for technological change. This is based on our internet access, digital economy infrastructure and openness to innovation.
  • Australia has proved to be a ripe environment for out of the box innovators, with Google Maps, bionic ears, Wi-Fi and pacemakers all discovered or designed by Australians.
  • Australia has more than 100 innovation precincts and industry clusters, holding the title of equal 9th highest number of science and technology innovation clusters in the global top 100. This includes Lot Fourteen and the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide.

So if you want to be a part of Australia’s tradition of innovation, book your ticket to _SOUTHSTART here for March 5 – 7, and start brewing the next big idea.

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