Female future in focus at City of Sydney's start-up program


By Technology Decisions Staff
Monday, 06 November, 2017


Visiting entrepreneur vicki saunders

A Sydney ‘visiting entrepreneur’ start-up program will provide one-on-one mentoring for local start-up organisations.

The program, which is run by City of Sydney, will bring three influential international experts to the city to share their knowledge.

The first program, running on 20 November at Customs House, will feature the public speaking event ‘The Future is Female: why women entrepreneurs are changing the world’, headed by visiting entrepreneur Vicki Saunders, who has co-founded and staged ventures in Silicon Valley, Europe and Canada.

Saunders will be joined by a panel of entrepreneurial trailblazers, including Lucy Perry of Inspiring Rare Birds, Mikaela Jade of Indigital and Natalie Nguyen of Hyper Anna in conversation with MC Naomi Simson, from Shark Tank and the founding director of RedBalloon. The session will explore why supporting women entrepreneurs is good for business and the community.

Now based in Toronto, Saunders is an award-winning mentor and founder of SheEO, a model for investing in women-led enterprises. She says the Sydney program is ideal for connecting global innovators.

“Sharing our experiences and our unique approaches to economic development is critical to building more inclusive ecosystems,” Saunders said.

“In my experience, putting entrepreneurs and innovators in a room together and setting them free to connect and collaborate is the only path for changing the world. Sydney’s visiting entrepreneur program is a highly innovative model that I hope other communities will replicate.”

Joining Saunders as visiting entrepreneurs will be Jager McConnell, CEO of Crunchbase, a leading data search platform used by millions of entrepreneurs and investors, and Marcus Segal, general partner at Upshift Capital and former senior vice president of operations of global gaming platform Zynga.

Segal believes the City’s program will inspire many future start-up entrepreneurs.

“The women and men who go through this program will go on to start and lead exciting companies both in Australia and abroad,” Segal said.

“Each success story will inspire another 100 or more would-be entrepreneurs to chase their dreams.”

The program includes more than 35 events hosted by the City, leaders in the local start-up community and university innovation hubs. It will also provide free workshops, speaker events, forums, panel discussions and a networking lunch.

“This program will strengthen our culture of entrepreneurship and innovation by providing links with overseas ecosystems and mentoring for local entrepreneurs to help accelerate the growth of local start-ups,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“Our tech innovators will learn firsthand from experienced global business leaders how to launch and grow their businesses; they’ll get to participate in a wide range of events and connect with the people growing Sydney’s tech innovation hubs.

“Key to this program is our collaboration with Sydney’s tech start-up industry leaders, investors and universities that will further strengthen the local start-up network and connect it with the global industry.”

A second program of events featuring international entrepreneurs will be launched by the City in 2018.

Image caption: Visiting entrepreneur Vicki Saunders.

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