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Victorian Government launches first inaugural Digital Innovation Festival as LaunchVic names new CEO

Victoria’s first Digital Innovation Festival got underway this week, with the state’s startup community aiming to secure its place as one of the top startup destinations not only in Australia but throughout the Asia Pacific.

The focus of the government and community on Victoria’s digital industry is no surprise, with the industry bringing $34 billion into the Victorian economy each year, a figure estimated to increase to around $50 billion by the year 2020. As a result, events like the Digital Innovation Festival are growing in number in the hopes of encouraging more interest in the space.

Running until the 9th of September, the festival will host more than 50 events on a range of topics including digital innovation, technology leadership, cyber security, data governance, international partnerships, regional tech precincts, digital workforce skills and diversity.

Among the events set to take place is a University of Melbourne panel on Digital Changemakers on the 5th of September. The panel of digital innovators, social entrepreneurs and hacktivists will look to discuss the social impact of technology and how to tackle social challenges.

Meanwhile, a Digital Learning Showcase will look to inspire and educate around the area of digital technologies. The showcase will be demonstrating not only to students but educators too the variety of pathways into a career in digital technologies and innovation.

The festival also managed to organise an evening with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak earlier this week that provided attendees with a number of insights into the importance of innovation, digital rights and invention.

The Digital Innovation Festival is just one way Victoria is looking to position itself as a national leader in digital innovation, with the Government in particular committed to building a strong startup ecosystem that creates jobs as well as new industries from which the entire state can benefit.   

The festival, the first of its kind, is one of a number of initiatives organised through a collaboration with the startup community that aim to increase digital innovation and the improve the startup ecosystem.

Earlier this week the Victorian Government’s independent startup body LaunchVic unveiled its first funding round, in which 18 projects and companies will receive a share of $6.5 million in funding.

Some of these projects and initiatives include BrightSparks, a leadership program run by RMIT University for female entrepreneurs in Victoria that offers a network of international mentors and Runway, a large startup initiative in Geelong that will increase access to mentoring, networks, training and venture capital in the hopes of establishing the city as a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Looking to push LaunchVic further will be newly appointed CEO Dr Kate Cornick, managing director of software company Rision and former director of industry engagement and innovation at the University of Melbourne.

Announced today, Dr Cornick will be taking over from Dr Pradeep Philip, who had been with LaunchVic since its inception last year.

Ahmed Fahour, LaunchVic chairman and Australia Post CEO, said, “With LaunchVic now firmly established, the time is right for a CEO who comes from within the startup sector to lead the entity into its next phase.”

You can learn more about the Digital Innovation Festival here.

Image: Mike Burgess of Telstra, Tammy Moskites of Venafi, Minister Philip Dalidakis, and Andrew Johnson of the ACS at a Festival event. Source: Twitter.





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