Some of South Australia’s brightest entrepreneurs have come together to share ideas and help establish Adelaide as a globally recognised startup ecosystem.
The 2016 Adelaide Ecosystem Forum aims to build a stronger entrepreneurial community by promoting the importance of the entrepreneurial behaviours, providing structure for the future and encouraging collaboration.
The August 4 forum at the University of South Australia’s Hawke Centre also included presentations and observations by author and venture capitalist Brad Feld from Boulder, Colorado and ANZ Chair in Business Growth Jana Matthews.
Feld said budding entrepreneurs needed to think on a multi-geographical scale and highlighted key features of a successful ecosystem that he identified as the “Boulder Thesis”.
“First, a startup community needs to be led by entrepreneurs,” he said.
“Second, those leaders must have a long-term view. If you think you’re going to get success in three years you’re fantasising.
“You need diversity of thought, a diverse frame of reference, diverse experience and diverse talent – being inclusive of anyone who wants to engage at any level.
“And fourth, you need continuous activities that engage people in the act of entrepreneurship.”
Feld said the startup community should avoid comparisons to different cities and the local ecosystem should look to Sydney and Melbourne as potential entrepreneurial partners rather than competitors.
The forum, sponsored by Adelaide City Council and the University of South Australia’s Centre for Business Growth, builds on the work that emerged from the original “Towards a City of Entrepreneurs Forum” in 2013.
Convenor of the Adelaide Entrepreneurship Forum, Paul Daly created the Adelaide Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Map, which tracks programs and opportunities for emerging businesses.
The map began with about 40 different programs and startup resources in 2013 – it has now grown to 122.
Daly said that the South Australian economy was in transition from a dependence on traditional manufacturing to one that is driven by innovation. The role of entrepreneurs in navigating this transition will be critical.
The growth in support for entrepreneurs over the last 3 years and the growing level of coordination have been the major reason that
Adelaide won the inaugural Innovative Regions Award at the Australian Technologies Competition in 2015.
“Adelaide has always been known as an incredibly networked city – but we need to make sure that our networks are open and welcoming to newcomers,” he said.
“It’s very exciting to see the growth we have had in the last three years. There is a great opportunity to build a future for Adelaide fuelled by our dynamic entrepreneurial community.”
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