Sydney startup program a world changer


Global leaders in tech innovation have been invited to Sydney to help grow local businesses, boost the economy and strengthen global connections.

The City of Sydney’s two-week ‘visiting entrepreneur program’ will see three influential international experts share their knowledge and provide one-on-one mentoring for local startups.

The launch program – from 20 to 30 November – includes more than 35 events hosted by the City, leaders in the local startup community and university innovation hubs. The program includes free workshops, speaker events, forums, panel discussions and a networking lunch.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the program co-sponsored by the NSW Government would increase the global standing of Sydney’s flourishing tech startup sector.

“This program will strengthen our culture of entrepreneurship and innovation by providing links with overseas ecosystems and mentoring for local entrepreneurs to help accelerate the growth of local startups,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our tech innovators will learn firsthand from experienced global business leaders how to launch and grow their businesses, they’ll get to participate in a wide range of events and connect with the people growing Sydney’s tech innovation hubs.

“Key to this program is our collaboration with Sydney’s tech startup industry leaders, investors and universities that will further strengthen the local startup network and connect it with the global industry.”

A second program of events featuring international entrepreneurs will be launched by the City in 2018.

The first program, on Monday 20 November at Customs House, will feature the public speaking event ‘The Future is Female: why women entrepreneurs are changing the world’ headed by visiting entrepreneur Vicki Saunders, who has co-founded and staged ventures in Silicon Valley, Europe and Canada.

Ms Saunders will be joined by a panel of entrepreneurial trailblazers, including, Lucy Perry of Inspiring Rare Birds, Mikaela Jade of Indigital and Natalie Nguyen of Hyper Anna in conversation with MC Naomi Simson, from Shark Tank and the founding director of RedBalloon. The session will explore why supporting women entrepreneurs is good for business and the community.

Now based in Toronto, Ms Saunders is an award-winning mentor and founder of SheEO, a model for investing in women-led enterprises. She says the Sydney program is ideal for connecting global innovators.

“Sharing our experiences and our unique approaches to economic development is critical to building more inclusive ecosystems,” Ms Saunders said.

“In my experience, putting entrepreneurs and innovators in a room together and setting them free to connect and collaborate is the only path for changing the world. Sydney’s visiting entrepreneur program is a highly innovative model that I hope other communities will replicate.”

Joining Ms Saunders as visiting entrepreneurs will be Jager McConnell, CEO of Crunchbase, a leading data search platform used by millions of entrepreneurs and investors, and Marcus Segal, general partner at Upshift Capital and former senior vice president of operations of global gaming platform, Zynga.

Mr Segal believes the City’s program will inspire many future startup entrepreneurs.

“The women and men who go through this program will go on to start and lead exciting companies both in Australia and abroad,” Mr Segal said.

“Each success story will inspire another 100 or more would-be entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.”

As part of the program, the City of Sydney and members of the startup community, will host the following public events. Spaces are limited and bookings are essential.

The Future is Female, Monday 20 November, 6.30pm to 8pm, at Customs House, Circular Quay, Sydney
Visiting entrepreneur Vicki Saunders will present a talk, followed by panel discussion led by Naomi Simson of RedBalloon and Shark Tank. This is a free event

An Evening of Radical Generosity, Tuesday 21 November, 5.30pm to 7.30pm, at muru’D, Liverpool Street, Sydney
Meet Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO, and learn how she is changing the landscape for female entrepreneurs through her concept of radical generosity. This is a free event

Global Series: The Future is Female – the economic and social impact 24 Nov, 12-2pm, New Space, University of Newcastle
The Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and University of Newcastle host Vicki Saunders for a keynote on the importance of women in leadership roles. This is a free event

How to Grow Your Startup workshop Monday 27 Nov, 9am to 11am, at Fishburners, York Street, Sydney
Marcus Segal shares his experience from over 17 years in Silicon Valley in a two hour workshop with Sydney startups focusing on growth and scaling. This is a free event

An Evening with Marcus Segal & Jager McConnell, Tuesday 28 Nov, 6pm to 8:30pm, hosted by TechSydney at Canva, Lacey Street, Surry Hills
A conversation with Marcus Segal and Jager McConnell to hear lessons on scaling from their previous roles at Zynga & Salesforce. Plus insights on investing and startups from their roles at Crunchbase & Y Combinator. Tickets $5.

Networking Lunch with Global Entrepreneurs Wednesday 29 November, 12pm to 2pm, International Towers, Tower Two at Barangaroo.
Join more than 20 visiting international speakers participating in City of Sydney’s ‘visiting entrepreneur program’ in conjunction with International Towers and StartCon in an industry-wide networking lunch.
This is a free event