Promoting entrepreneurship is crucial for South Australia’s economic future, the chair of the New Venture Institute’s Advisory Council told guests at a function hosted by the Governor of South Australia at Government House this week.
Mr Nick Begakis said that South Australia had too many times given money to large companies to come to the state, only to see them take the money and leave anyway.
He said that no one cared about South Australia except South Australians, and that it was the businesses which had started in the state that stayed here.
For that reason, he said it was vital for all South Australians to think locally and to work to create more entrepreneurs by supporting the work of organisations like the NVI, Flinders University’s centre for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Mr Begakis said that, to date, the NVI had created 56 micro businesses or start-ups, providing $5million in equity valuations for those businesses through investments.
“It is through the creation of entrepreneurs who create new businesses in SA, that over time, we will be part of the solution in repairing the economy of this state,” he said.
Mr Begakis also highlighted the work being done at Flinders University’s new $120m Tonsley site, which includes an ‘Envision’ start-up incubator for NVI program graduates.
At the ceremony, Mr Begakis announced two inaugural NVI Fellows, Leila Henderson and John van Ruth.
He said Ms Henderson and Mr van Ruth had received their Fellowships because of their significant contributions to the NVI.
Both had freely given their time and opened up their extensive networks to participants in NVI programs to help them take the next step on the path to success, he said.
Finally, Mr Begakis took the opportunity to thank Flinders University’s outgoing Vice-Chancellor, and architect of the NVI, Professor Michael Barber.
“Without Michael’s vision and appetite for innovation, the New Venture Institute would not have been possible, and would not exist today,” he said.
In recognition of Professor Barber’s work, Mr Begakis announced a new Professor Michael Barber Disruptive Innovator Award, which he said would be presented annually to a student with the same trademark “disruptive innovator” characteristics.
“The ability to demonstrate a potential to create value from new service and technology innovations will be a hallmark of those students we envisage applying for this new award,” he said.