I moved to Adelaide in my twenties to study, at a time when South Australia was seeing the decline of our manufacturing and automotive industries, and the Global Financial Crisis was about to bite. It was, and continues to be, a wonderful place to study and get involved in our community. Yet back then, innovation wasn’t a word I ever remember hearing, and after my studies, I went the way of many graduates towards our eastern states to explore more fulfilling work pathways. Oh, how times have changed!
From afar in Melbourne and Sydney, I had been watching a change in Adelaide take place, which prompted my return here in 2021. This state is now blessed with emerging innovation districts which provide exciting career directions for our state’s young people, as well as new opportunities for legacy for our experienced professionals, and new impact communities where anyone can be supported to solve problems that matter to them. It’s in the centre of one of these districts that my work is now based as the Director of Ecosystems for South Australia at Stone & Chalk.
Like many, I am sensing that we are in a pivotal time for our city and state, and that is an opportunity for us all to be inspired to roll up our sleeves and seize this moment. We have an exciting new entrepreneurial mindset and spirit taking hold here, not only in our startup hubs and innovation communities, but in our schools and universities, our family businesses, our corporate and government institutions, and our social service sectors.
But there is still work to be done to get through our “tall poppy syndrome”, and embed a new innovation culture that encourages entrepreneurship as a legitimate career pathway for people of all backgrounds, vocations and industries. Successful innovators draw on their own unique context and life, to discover paths-less-travelled which can seed exciting new directions for local impact and global application, and we need to better embrace and celebrate our successful entrepreneurs proudly in South Australia, and share their stories.
We need to continue to create spaces for real conversations that matter to all generations, to explore new directions, to encourage cross-pollination of ideas, and increase participation in shared solutions. We need more modern-day “town halls” where citizens rally, build new relationships, and go into their day-to-day lives energised and ready to act on what they discuss together.
We’ve always been known for punching above our weight, and we should all celebrate the progress of South Australia towards embracing innovation and entrepreneurship, and as we gather together through new places, programs and initiatives to help us all to lean boldly and courageously into solving our most pressing challenges in creative ways.
All South Australians have a role to play to encourage and support our fellow citizens, young and old alike, to shape our world and make our difference from right here in our wonderful, ever-changing city and state.