Economic Development 101 (Start-ups)

(6.30pm, 6 March 2013, Barnett Long Room, Customs House)

Thank you, [MC]. Hello, everyone, welcome to Customs House. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.

A very warm welcome to you all, especially to our guest speakers this evening:

  • Peter Cooper, director of Cooper & Co
  • Riley Batchelor, director of General Assembly
  • Kim Heres, co-founder of Pushstart and
  • Melanie Perkins, founder and CEO of Canva.com

They are all part of the start-up eco-system that is developing in Sydney. This 101 session is designed to give everyone here a clearer picture of the people, companies, events and issues that are making our city Australia's digital hub.

It will also give you a chance to connect with like-minded people in the start-up community and as you can see, the set-up here tonight will enable you to talk to our participants after the formal part of the evening finishes.

As Australia's only global city, and its most creative city, Sydney is uniquely poised to benefit from the digital revolution.

Small to medium-sized businesses, especially in the creative industries, are an important, and growing, part of the city's economy.

Since 2006, there has been a big surge in the numbers of people employed in three key areas: in the creative industries; in information and communication technology; and in higher education and research.

Each of these industries increased at double the rate of the workforce as a whole, reinforcing our claims to be the clever city, the centre of innovation for the nation.

This has to be more than an ambitious aim: and the City is now working on an action plan to identify specific ways we can support creative enterprises, with a focus on new businesses based on digital technology and designed for fast growth - in other words a focus on start-ups.

As most of you probably know, we've already supported a number of start-ups by providing them with affordable accommodation in City-owned properties, at Oxford Street and again on William Street.

This evening's session is another step in our continuing efforts to foster the creative talents so abundant in Sydney. I hope you'll find it useful.

Thank you for your interest, for your ideas and enthusiasm. And once again, a big thank you to our guest speakers.

I now introduce Jo Kelly who will facilitate tonight's 101 session.

Have a great night, everyone.