Regional Startups 2 MIN READ

The schedule for the second annual Pivot Summit, running December 2 at The Arena in Geelong, has been announced. The event will look to help boost the city’s tech sector and encourage innovation within existing organisations by exploring four themes: digital inclusion, entrepreneurship and innovation, jobs of the future, and emerging technologies.

Speaking at the summit will be the likes of News Corp Australia chief technology officer, Alisa Bowen, speaking on emerging technology and jobs of the future; Australia Post’s chief innovation officer, Greg Sutherland; Kate Morris, founder and CEO of Adore Beauty; and Ian Aitken, chief technology officer at Samsung Australia.

Also running at the Summit this year is the inaugural Pivot Pitch competition, where three finalists will pitch their startup idea for the chance to win over $100,000 worth of cash, support, and prizes including a brand strategy package, mentoring, and MVP workshops with tech companies in Geelong.

The overall winner also qualifying to pitch to the selection panel of Runway Geelong, the incubator program which in August received $1.25 million in funding from the Victorian Government’s LaunchVic body.

Aamir Qutub, organiser of Pivot Pitch and founder of local tech startup Enterprise Monkey, said the competition welcomes applications from people with any idea, early stage project, or startup that incorporates technology as a major part of its solution.

Pivot Pitch ran in previous years as the $50,000 IT Invention Test, organised by ICT Geelong. Past winners include healthtech startup Care Monkey, Rome2rio, and CNSDose.

The establishment of the Summit has been supported through partnerships with Telstra and the City of Geelong.

Pivot is described as the sister event of the Telstra Australian Digital Summit, held in Sydney. The Pivot team approached Telstra with the idea that a similar event could be held in a regional city like Geelong.

Leighton Wells, president of Pivot Summit and chief operations officer of Runway Geelong, added that the City of Greater Geelong has shown ongoing commitment and belief in the importance of digital technology in the future of the city.

The City’s Digital Strategy states Geelong can transition to a “nationally recognised digital economy”, with this transition requiring not only a connected, digitally empowered community, but a digital champion, with this champion to be the City.

The City’s vision looks to shape not only the design and delivery of its own services, but also how Council engages with the community, how it supports the economic competitiveness of Geelong, accelerates innovation, and enables new opportunities for residents.

Among the other initiatives looking to push Geelong forward into the digital economy include the recently announced Future Fibres Hub, an Australian Research Council research and development centre to be based at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.

The $13.2 million centre, funded through the Federal Government’s Industrial Transformation Research Programme and the Australian Research Council, will be tasked with leading the development of future fibre-based materials, from short polymer fibres for the medical, textile, and industrial sectors, and carbon fibre composites for the automotive industry.

In partnership with Dimension Data, Deakin University also received $450,000 from LaunchVic to set up a cyber security incubator to help accelerate development of new cyber security solutions and intellectual property; the incubator will go hand in hand with a new cybersecurity degree set to launch at Deakin University next year.

Image: Pivot Summit 2015. Source: Pivot Summit.

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