Entrepreneurship in Southern Sydney

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Roundtable

On 13 February 2020, Georges River Council hosted a half-day Innovation and Entrepreneurship Roundtable in partnership with ANSTO and RDA Sydney. An excellent morning of discussion with 40 participants from 5 council areas in southern Sydney (including Wollongong; Campbelltown Council also attended to observe the process), business networks, universities, innovation networks, NSW Government and others.

The background to this roundtable is that it was one of the recommendations from a UTS student intern project hosted by RDA Sydney in mid-2019. Justin Catsaros was a student in the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation degree and was tasked with resolving the question: “Is coworking the solution to activating suburban precincts – the case of Georges River Council area?”

The roundtable was opened by the General Manager of Georges River Council, Gail Connolly. RDA Sydney helped to pull the program together including speakers focusing on the existing ecosystem, entrepreneurship and what councils can do to identify and support it, a startup story and entrepreneurship education. Councils then presented what they are doing to support innovation and entrepreneurship, followed by a brain-storming about how to support innovation and entrepreneurship.

At the end there was a “call to arms” to form a core group of individuals/organisations to progress the idea of an entrepreneur alliance for southern Sydney. A number of councils and others stepped forward.

Next steps in this process include exploring a possible joint project to scope the ecosystem, identify opportunities and measures that can be undertaken to grasp these opportunities.

The vision of Georges River Council to initially take on the student intern and then use the results as leverage to explore a broader regional initiative is to be applauded. While there is still a long way to go to generate meaningful impact from this work, it is this type of local leadership that will be the key to success.

For more information contact: Mark Wigley mark.wigley@rdasydney.org.au