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Australian Silicon Valley? Innovation Week aims to build a tech sector in the Bega Valley that boasts 1,000 jobs by 2030


Australia’s first Regional Innovation Week in the Bega Valley is grabbing hold of the future – seeding jobs, businesses and lives for the years to come.

A number of key events between April 27 and May 3 will build a case and highlight what’s possible from a community of motivated professionals supporting each other to build this region’s capacity and infrastructure. From a base of innovation that started with the Bega Valley’s traditional industries of agriculture and tourism, comes a new dynamic that takes in informational technology, engineering and science.

Liam O’Duibhir is the co-founder of 2pi Software and Into IT Sapphire Coast and made the region his base in 2009. Eight staff and six contractors are now part of his innovation business with a goal of 100 staff in five years.

“We are part of the cultural change here, firing aspirations that centre on this place, not a big city,” he says.

What is the vision behind Regional Innovation Week?

Regional Innovation Week builds on an idea that has been burning over the last five years, drawing the pieces together, allowing people with skills to realise the change of life they yearn for, teased by a prized environment.

“It’s also about allowing the children of now to have ambitions here, living side by side with the community and landscape they grew up a part of,” Mr O’Duibhir says.

“Regional Innovation Week is the first step in building a tech sector in the Bega Valley that boasts 1,000 jobs by 2030,” he says.

Spots on the Innovation Riders Bus from Sydney are filling up with big thinking graduates and students keen to see what’s possible on the road less travelled.

The Regional Technology Decision Makers Forum is another of the week’s key events. Featuring Jane Cay – CEO of Birdsnest, Max Kaye – creator of the Flux software solution to democratise politics, Dr Sarah Pearson – Head of Canberra Innovation Network, Aidan Coleman – CEO of Bega Cheese, Alison De Kleuver – Executive Director Programs and Operations Ernst & Young and Brendan Yell of IBMs SoftLayer, to name a few.

The Sea Change Start Up Camp on April 30 promises to be a real engine room for the week. Teams brainstorm to come up with a great idea and work intensively under Start Up Camp guidance to make their business concept a sure-fire success.

From the same drive that saw a bunch of Bega Valley farmers create the best known and most trusted name in the dairy industry comes Regional Innovation Week, April 27 to May 3 in and around Bega and Merimbula on the stunning Sapphire Coast.