News & Analysis

Data61’s Ribit.net collaborates with ICT Geelong to spur startup growth in regional Australia

- April 19, 2016 2 MIN READ

As Geelong reels from the sacking of its entire council last week, Data61 has partnered with ICT Geelong to spur the growth of the city’s startup ecosystem by connecting businesses with students at a speed networking event as part of the Entrepreneurship Forum.

The Entrepreneurship Forum, to be held on April 27, will feature an innovation masterclass, panel discussions and keynotes on entrepreneurship and technology, and a networking event run by Ribit, a platform spun out of Data61 that helps connect startups with students for internships and paid roles.

The one hour session will see 40 students from Deakin University, Federation University, and Gordon TAFE meet with local businesses and startups.

Ribit, which has over 2000 students and 200 businesses registered on its platform, has hosted similar events a number of times, placing students into roles with startups at Sydney fintech hub Stone & Chalk for the summer last December, and most recently in March. A number of summer interns were offered paid roles at their startups.

“Students are the future of business and innovation in Geelong. We want our students to develop an entrepreneurial orientation by meeting and working with innovative local businesses,” said Aamir Qutub, director of ICT Geelong.

“We believe building innovation and tech skills into Geelong’s business scene is the best way to keep our economy strong and realise our potential as the Silicon Bay.”

While the role of unpaid interns within the Australian startup ecosystem has been debated, Ribit director Liz Jakubowski said connecting students with businesses helps graduates enter the workforce with “a history of work, established relationships, and greatly improved career prospects.

“At the same time, businesses can access fresh talent to drive innovation and alleviate the skills shortages they face,” she added.

In addition to the networking session, the day will also feature speakers from the CSIRO, Australia Post, BlueChilli, and AngelCube.

Other regional communities have also been quietly growing their tech and startup community in the hopes of, if not competing with city hubs, holding their own and retaining local talent. Recently Bega announced the launch of a Regional Innovation Week to highlight the tech and innovative possibilities the region has to offer.

CEO of Data61 Adrian Turner recently spoke to Startup Daily about how the organisation is looking to spur the growth of tech startups around Australia:


Image: Data61 CEO Adrian Turner. Source: Provided.