66 Meet-ups Launch

(6pm 6 June 2012, Madison's Café Burton Street Darlinghurst)

Thank you, Martin Orliac, MC. Hello, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of the 200 nationalities who live in our city.

I'd also like to acknowledge this evening's speaker, Peter Davison, co-founder of Fishburners.

What a fantastic turn-out here tonight. Congratulations to Martin, Mike Dovey and Sandy Taylor whose bright idea this networking group was. It is exactly the sort of outcome the City was hoping for when we set up 66 Oxford Street as an affordable centre for start-ups and young creatives.

We know that start-ups need a supportive environment that allows for experimentation and yes, for failure as well.

Today we have an inspiring success story from one of Sydney's successful start-ups. Shoes of Prey have secured a mutli-million dollar investment to grow their business.

Attracting serious funding is a crucial step and I congratulate Shoes of Prey on their success. They have shown that Sydney's creative and innovative businesses are worthy of serious investment.

As you know, we are supporting start-ups that could become the next Shoes of Prey with affordable work spaces. We want you to be able to take risks on something new. We decided to use Council-owned properties in Oxford Street - traditionally an innovative and creative part of town - to support these "at-risk" communities. And we have further spaces in William Street that will soon be coming on-line. We've also provided temporary space in Redfern Street and worked with Fraser's Property on the old brewery site at Broadway to provide temporary spaces for young creatives. I also want to look at how the City of Sydney could broker relationships between start-ups and investors.

On the micro-scale, these are practical steps we can take to support a lively and innovative start-up culture. On the macro-scale, we can also make sure that Sydney is an engaging, well-functioning city that provides all the amenity expected of a global city by the mobile businesses and workforces of today. A city that has a plan to meet the challenges of climate change; a city with beautiful open spaces and amenities such as libraries and swimming pools; a city that encourages good design; that supports efficient transport - including cycling networks! A city that has a variety of strong, local communities, each with its unique identity; a city that provides for the elderly and for families, and that listens to its young people - who are its future. That is what our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy is all about - a vision for the future and the practical steps that will get us there to make our city a place whose extraordinary setting is matched with the energy and creativity of its people.

We have laid out that vision, and it makes me very optimistic for its future to see all of you here tonight, working together to grow Sydney as a really smart city of the 21st century.

Thank you all!