October 12-23: We Are Agents of Change

Celebrating Diversity at SparkFest

Spark Festival celebrates the fact that innovation and entrepreneurship is happening everywhere. We welcome people to the startup community no matter what their background. Anyone who shares our dream of creating and growing exciting new economy businesses will find their spark at Spark.

The segments below are part of Spark Festival, Australia's largest event for startups, innovators and entrepreneurs. Running from Oct 12 - 23, check out the full two week program here.

Save My Spot!

12 October,
6:30pm — 6:50pm AEDT

Disability Entrepreneurship: A Solution to the Unemployment Crisis

Self-employment and entrepreneurship provide viable alternative models for people with disability to obtain purpose, agency and financial independence. A 2020 UTS report showed that people with disability have higher rates of self-employment and entrepreneurship than people without disability. However, the report also showed that people with disability encounter more barriers to establishing their own initiatives.
Mathew Townsend will cast light on this important topic by sharing his own journey of entrepreneurship as a person living with disability. With a Master of Environmental Management degree and a strong passion for the environment, Mathew experienced multiple barriers to gaining employment within mainstream organisations. This experience lead him to form his own start-up. Today, that start-up is a successful social enterprise with an annual program providing people with disability access to the natural environment.
The talk will be highly relevant to the business, government and community sectors to gain an understanding of the value of self-employment and entrepreneurship employment models for people with disability; the benefit this brings at the individual, societal and economic level; and how to facilitate and access this important resource.
The practical insights afforded by the talk will also be very pertinent to people living with disability who are interested in exploring self-employment or entrepreneurship models.

12 October,
7:00pm — 8:00pm AEDT

The Great Australian Reset: Shaping Aboriginal Innovation in Education

The onset of COVID-19 has exacerbated the disparities of Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, which proves to be at greater levels than other developed countries around the world. The challenges of Indigenous Australian youth participating in a western-designed education system that does not holistically support them was recently captured in the critically-acclaimed documentary “In My Blood It Runs”. The issue showcases how imperative it is for Indigenous people to gain more agency and foster traditional methods of learning and child-rearing.

Join this panel discussion moderated by Worimi woman, entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper Remy Crick, to discuss how a Great Reset within the mainstream education system can incorporate traditional Aboriginal methods of learning that have been in place for over 65,000 years, with the aim of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Aboriginal communities. Remy will be joined by an esteemed panel which will include Jane Vadiveloo, CEO of Children's Ground, the partner organisation of the recently acclaimed “In My Blood It Runs” documentary; Gunditjmara man Professor Mark Rose Academic Director and Expert Facilitator for Reconciliation Australia and AGSM’s Emerging Indigenous Executive Leaders Program (EIELP); and Gumbaynggirr and Wakka Wakka man Liam Ridgeway, from IndigiGig, Indigitek and NGNY.

This event is the first of a three-part “The Great Australian Reset’ webinar series by the Global Shapers Sydney, a community of the World Economic Forum to convene multi-disciplinary leaders in Australia to discuss and take action on how to enable better outcomes in the areas of Climate Change and the Environment, Diversity and Inclusion, and Employment and Education.

13 October,
4:40pm — 5:30pm AEDT

Catalysr: Building a Nation of Migrapreneurs

Catalysr Co-Founder & CEO, Usman Iftikhar, tells how Catalysr was started to help migrants and refugees in Australia to build tech startups. Joined by Migrapreneur alumni, they'll discuss their startup journey as migrants in Australia.

14 October,
4:10pm — 5:00pm AEDT

The Great Un-expectation – how female entrepreneurs have embraced change in 2020

Are you aware the NSW Government offers a wide range of services and programs to support and empower female entrepreneurs and small business owners?
Hear from our expert panel of successful business women who have embraced change during a challenging time.
The panel will talk about the their experience participating in Government funded initiatives such as Sour Dough Pathways, and the MVP grant.
On the panel will be a Government representative form Business Connect who can explore what is available to assist and support you on your entrepreneurial journey.

16 October,
9:00am — 9:45am AEDT

Achieving Scale: Breaking Through Barriers for Female Founders

Since 1991, Female founded businesses have increased by 80%. Women do not lack ability or ambition, however the number of female founders that are significantly scaling their businesses remains low. To capitalise on the investments made to encourage women in business and significantly advance the economic participation and opportunity for women, we need to uncover and understand the barriers to scale for female founders. The Advisory Board Centre, with the support of Australian Government's Landing Pads (AusTrade) and Advance Queensland, has released the Achieving Scale : Breaking Through Barriers for Female Founders research report. Report co-Author and Advisory Board Centre COO, Jan Easton, will lead the session, including a panel discussion featuring successful and aspiring female founders to explore the barriers and ideate strategies to significantly change the trajectory for female led businesses.

20 October,
10:40am — 11:10am AEDT

The Art of Feminine Leadership

The Art of Feminine Leadership is not about gender. It is a new way of leading and has nothing to do with power, authority or being No.1. During this talk we will look at the traits of successful female leaders and the role of meditation and mindfulness in the work place. If the way you are running your business is not working, this may be exactly what you need.

21 October,
5:10pm — 6:00pm AEDT

LAUNCH: 5 female founders share why they chose this year to launch a startup

Global early-stage VC, Antler is maximising female founders' opportunity to succeed in the Australian tech startup ecosystem. From financial support from day one to building relationships as long-term strategic investors and leveraging the world’s largest early-stage platform for support and scaling, Antler helps exceptional and talented women from diverse career paths to turn their skills and ideas into a business. In this panel, five female founders who have built businesses with Antler, will share why they chose 2020 to launch their startup.

21 October,
6:10pm — 7:00pm AEDT

Remarkable Australians

2020 has challenged our economy, our health and our resolve, and shown that the world is not as inclusive as we’d hoped. But there are startups who are creating a world where inclusion is experienced by all, with a focus on solving problems for the one in five people globally with a disability.
Now is the time to acknowledge, recognise and celebrate those achieving remarkableness across the nation in harnessing the power of technological innovation to drive the inclusion of people with disability.
Join Remarkable, Australia's only accelerator which is on a mission to harness technology to build physical, social and economic inclusion of people with disability, for a showcase of these Remarkable Australians.

22 October,
9:00am — 9:45am AEDT

Building a startup ecosystem that is not not racist but actively anti-racist

Culturally and racially diverse teams produce 30% better financial results (BCG). Despite being a data-driven and commercially minded community, we aren't measuring ourselves or performing against this critical metric. This comes at a cost to the ecosystem and raises a number of questions.
What needs to be changed? Who gets a say in that process? Who do you listen to? How do we do it in a way that is respectful, inclusive and meaningful? What do we do when we get it wrong?
These are questions that come up time and time again as the startup ecosystem leans in to try to resolve a problem that has deepened over hundreds of years. What is it going to take to get any closer to answering those questions?

22 October,
9:55am — 10:30am AEDT

Impacting Diversity Through Tangible and Impactful Programs

Show don't tell.
Startmate's focus, impactful community efforts and programming seeks to impact gender parity.
56% of Startmate's latest cohort have at least one woman co-founder. They are currently running their Fellowship program with 100 women (helping 300 women land jobs in startups by the end of 2021).
Tune into this session to learn what you can do to genuinely impact diversity in your organisation.

22 October,
10:40am — 11:10am AEDT

Kick-starting Women Founders

What we've learned from two years of programs dedicated to supporting women founders in cleantech.
EnergyLab is Australia's largest cleantech startup accelerator and network dedicated to the clean energy transition. In 2019 EnergyLab launched our very first Women in Clean Energy Fellowship - a program designed to inspire, educate and support more women to start clean energy and cleantech startups. In 2 years of the program, we've supported 42 women across Australia to take the first steps into entrepreneurship.
This presentation shares why we started the program, what we've learned from 2 years working with early-stage women founders, advice for pre-MVP women founders and insights on how the ecosystem can better support women founders.

Melissa Chan, Family Office