Vibewire Innovation Lab Launch

(7pm, Thursday 2 May 2013, 525 Harris Street, Ultimo)

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

I also acknowledge Alex Greenwich, the Independent Member for Sydney, and tonight's two speakers from the Youth Food Initiative, Alexandra and Joanne. And of course, Vibewire founder, Tom Dawkins, and president, Gavin Heaton.

The City has supported Vibewire since it launched in 2006, and last year I was pleased to take part as a speaker in the fabulous fastBREAK series.

And tonight, I'm very pleased to launch this Vibewire Innovation Lab.

If we look at the major challenges facing our society - massive disruptions to the climate, population growth, health, transport - it's clear we need people coming up with new ideas and putting them into practice. That's what cities have traditionally done - they're places where people meet, share knowledge, find like-minded people, and start new projects.

Here in Sydney, we see that urban connectivity, sped up by the web, inspiring new creative and business opportunities, stronger community networks and engaging a far broader range of voices in debates, discussion and ultimately decision making.

There are so many people in this room and in our city's ecosystem of creative, technically talented and entrepreneurial people that are creating this tremendous sense of momentum.

We want to encourage people to start up those community, country and even world changing projects.

Opening up properties on Oxford Street and William Street as affordable space for start-ups - including the co-working spaces Home/Work, Fishburners and soon Hub Sydney - has helped us foster some of this activity.

But long before those spaces opened, Vibewire was hosting an incredibly fertile space for Sydney's young change-makers.

More than 100 social and creative projects have been launched under its auspices since 2006, including Australia's first crowd-funding platform, FundBreak - now renamed Pozible - the world-wide film initiative, the 11Eleven Project, and the live music charity, Major Raiser.

These are the sort of networks and partnerships envisaged in our long term Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, the kind of collaborative efforts that will find innovative solutions to problems and harness the creativity and energy of young people to build a city that is equitable, involved and alive.

To borrow a phrase from Vibewire's own lexicon, "Young people should create the future, not inherit it."

Vibewire Innovation Lab will help them to do just that. I am proud to launch it here tonight.