Icebreaker brings Tonsley to life


More than 1,000 innovators converged on Adelaide’s Tonsley Innovation Precinct this week (19 October) for a Guinness Book of Records attempt on speed networking.

The largest gathering of networkers in the Southern Hemisphere was inspired by high-profile international entrepreneurs like Kevin Koym, CEO of TechRanch in Austin, Texas – and Sid Amster from Angel Investor and the Fox School of Business with more than 30 years’ experience in supporting tech and other startups.

The overseas experts joined hundreds of business leaders and business builders, researchers and students from Flinders and others for rapid-fire meetings.

The highly successful evening meant each participant was matched with at least 20 others for a three-minute conversation over 90 minutes. These conversations will play an important part in the State economy’s future, says Flinders New Venture Institute director Matt Salier.

“It was the greatest convergence of entrepreneurial intelligence, ever in one place, in the Southern Hemisphere – and we’re looking to do it again next year,” he says.

“While we narrowly missed meeting the stringent requirements to break the Guinness World Record (set in Belgium in 2014), we already are seeing the ripple effects of this big event.

“For example, two of our Flinders researchers secured support from Zen Energy and Microsoft and we’re confident many more opportunities will emerge from the exercise.

“The follow-on effects of this convergence of minds is already being felt and will only increase in coming weeks and months, with the rich benefits of these person-to-person and B2B meetings likely to shape the SA economy for years to come.”

Mr Salier thanked all participants, sponsors, vendors and supporters of the event – pointing to plans to stage another world record attempt next year at Icebreaker17.

The Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Mr Kyam Maher, said Icebreaker16 is an “outstanding concept”.

“The South Australian Government shares the excitement of Flinders University and sponsor Renewal SA in gathering more than 1000 innovators in one place to spark conversations that may help to influence the State’s future,” Mr Maher said before the event.

“South Australia is undergoing economic transformation and innovation is a pivotal component. For our economy to become more innovative and creative, to create those high-tech activities that will create jobs and industries of the future, we need to find new ways of thinking and doing things.”

Mr Maher, who is also Minister of Automotive Transformation and the Minister for Science and Information Economy, was joined by other keynote Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, Tonsley Steering Committee chair Mr Terry Burgess – who is also a member of the Economic Development Board of SA – and Mr Damien Crough, general manager of Imaginext from fellow sponsor Rivergum Homes.

After the networking, South Australian premium food, wine, beer and entertainment was enjoyed, including information and displays of local innovations and business ideas, such as:

  • Demonstrations by Voxiebox, the 3D holographic machine, as well as technology, invention and creation from Fab Lab Adelaide and participants in next month’s Maker Faire Adelaide.
  • Insights into Flinders University’s $120 million Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics School and special facilities, including Sawyer and Baxter collaborative robots.
  • Preview of the Flinders automotive solar car build under construction for the 2017 Bridgestone Solar Challenge.
  • Presentations by a range of Flinders research leaders, including SA Tall Poppy Award winner Dr Justin Chalker and Professor Karen Reynolds, director of the Medical Device Research Institute.
  • Q&A about the benefits of how Re-Timer light therapy glasses can help jetlag and insomniacs improve their sleep patterns.

Sponsors of the event include Renewal SA, Rivergum Homes, Marion City Council, Komms-Haus, Flinders New Venture Institute, and more.



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