150 events allow bright sparks to showcase creative talents
 

Source: Lillian Saleh, The Sunday Telegraph

INTERNATIONALLY renowned venture capitalist Edith Yeung knows a good investment when she hears it — so much so her company has invested in more than 2000 start-ups.

Now the woman dubbed one of the “Silicon Valley investors you must know” is heading to Bathurst and Sydney as part of the upcoming Spark Festival.

The Festival — which starts today — is made up of more than 150 events across the state and brings together entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups to showcase their ideas and inventions.

“This amazing festival will provide learning opportunities for everyone from start-ups to companies going global as well as entrepreneurs, investors, inventors and students,” Deputy Premier and Skills Minister John Barilaro told The Sunday Telegraph.

“Exciting events will be held all over NSW and Jobs for NSW will host a ‘Local Innovation Network Pitchfest’ at the Sydney Startup Hub involving seven start-ups from Armidale, Bathurst, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, the Hunter and Illawarra.

“This will showcase start-up talent being developed in our regions, which are full of remarkable and innovative entrepreneurs,” he said.

 Nayab Bookwala

Nayab Bookwala

But it’s not just Aussies who will be pitching for investor dollars, with some of India’s brightest female entrepreneurs winning the chance to travel to Sydney to pitch their ideas thanks to the Virangana Project.

Named after a famous Indian warrior woman, the project is aimed at breaking down barriers faced by Indian women.

“These brilliant women, most with multiple degrees, including PhDs, come from a culture where they still find it difficult to raise investment capital, despite the fact that Indian women entrepreneurs have been responsible for a number of $100 million-plus success stories,” the Virangana Project’s Australian organiser Tony McAuslan said.

“Despite India’s booming start-up economy, there is still little light shone on the economic gains Indian women are making, and our project aims to change that.”

Among them will be Nayab Bookwala who works for food-tech platform the Indian Food Network, which is working to reduce child hunger through its Meal For a Meal campaign.

David Rowland and Ian and Kieran Holmes are the Australian distributors of Blue Robotics marine parts and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) kits.

Through their company undersearov.com they are hoping to expand their business to schools and the educational sector in the hope of making maths, science, robotics and engineering fun.

They see plenty of potential in the “blue economy” as more and more countries focus on their coastlines, and the protection and management of marine life and resources.

David Rowland and Ian and Kieran Holmes are the Australian distributors of Blue Robotics marine parts and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) kits.

Through their company undersearov.com they are hoping to expand their business to schools and the educational sector in the hope of making maths, science, robotics and engineering fun.

They see plenty of potential in the “blue economy” as more and more countries focus on their coastlines, and the protection and management of marine life and resources.

While underwater ROVs could cost as much as $3000, the trio is working on a “student version” at a more affordable $300.

“We are using all the technology of drones controlled on land and putting it in the marine space,” Mr Holmes said.

“This is an educational carrot that we hope will encourage students to learn more about science, technology, and their local marine habitats.”

The trio will be showcasing the BlueROV2 at the Spark Festival’s STEAM pop-up sessions at the Powerhouse Museum on Tuesday, October 23.

Regional Australia will also be the focus of a special “hackathon” organised by personal data sharing platform digi.me, ID Exchange and Alibaba Cloud — drawing together 50 of the “brightest developers and innovators” to “help make regional Australia flourish”.

“Regional Australia doesn’t have the big bucks of the city but the people of regional Australia deserve the same services,” ID Exchange’s chief operating officer Denis Mamo said.

digi.me founder Julian Ranger will be on the judging panel, with those taking part given two days to develop a working app.

“We believe that data privacy, protection and empowerment must coexist within consumer centric Apps. Our aim is to deliver technology platforms for regional operators and communities to confront, innovate and participate in digital transformation in order to realise countless benefits,” ID Exchange founder Joanne Cooper told The Sunday Telegraph.

For information on the Spark Festival and the full program of events: http://sparkfestival.co

 
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