Victoria launches innovation taskforce

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday February 14, 2020

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The Victorian government has formed a taskforce aimed at fostering local innovation and building global connections.

The group will unite startups, universities, businesses and the investment community, and will help roll out the state’s innovation agenda, according to the Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula.

Members include Startup Victoria chief executive Judy Anderson, Girls in Tech managing director Jessica Box, and Robert Bosch president Gavin Smith.

The group and the state government will collaborate on programs which will develop local tech talent, help local entrepreneurs and startups grow, and will advance emerging industry sectors.

It will also help promote Victorian innovation globally.

Pakula said the group would further benefit the state’s “thriving start-up ecosystem”, which was acknowledged last year when Melbourne was named Australia’s most innovative city.

“This taskforce of industry leaders will strengthen our innovation ecosystem, provide guidance on how to create new and better jobs, strengthen our economy and build strong international connections,” he said.

Melbourne will host a major global innovation conference in November in a bid to boost Australia’s global competitiveness.

Announced earlier this week, the annual Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils will bring together delegates from more than 30 countries across the government, business, industry, and academic sectors.

The event will focus on various issues including the transformative platforms of stem cell research and genomics, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.

“The summit will allow Australia to create new partnership opportunities and work with other global leaders to develop innovative health solutions to current and future problems,” he said.

“Health and innovation are key priorities for our government, including the recent commitment of $5 billion through the Medical Research Future Fund to support breakthrough medical research into new frontiers of science.

“The summit agenda will address Australia’s future competitiveness with discussions on navigating the Australian context and opportunities for collaboration between countries.”

Read more: Victorian public servants to go on blind coffee dates for innovation

See the full list of taskforce members below:

Kerri Lee Sinclair, chief investment officer of technology and innovation at Kin Group
Lusia Guthrie, chair of BioMelbourne Network
Gavin Smith, president of Robert Bosch Australia
Rachel Yang, investment manager of Giant Leap Fund, Impact Investment Group
Jefferson Harcourt, founder and director of Grey Innovation Group
Rick Wingfield, global chief technology officer at Catapult Group International
Amy Foo, managing director of Australia/NZ Zendesk
Kee Wong, founder and managing director at eCentric Innovations
Jessica Box, marketing director of Finch, and managing director of Girls in Tech Australia
Didier Elzinga, founder and chief executive, Culture Amp
Dr Andrea Douglas, senior vice-president of organisational transformation and external affairs, CSL Limited
Dr Ben Spincer, executive director of research, commercial and innovation at Deakin University in Geelong
Judy Anderson, chief executive of Startup Victoria

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