Spark Festival, the startup event previously known as Startup Week Sydney, has today announced the program for its 2016 event, running October 22-30. Aimed at those within the sector and those dipping their toes in for the first time, the week-long festival will look to showcase the breadth of innovation across Sydney’s tech and startup landscape.
With the Festival to run through 15 key tracks, including social enterprise to mediatech, fintech, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, government, diversity, and design, Spark Festival looks to have something for everyone, with organisers stating it had “inclusiveness and diversity built in from the start”.
Included in the mix of free and paid events are the ANZ and Robogals KIDS Robotics Workshop for kids aged between eight and 13 years old, the Going Global panel discussion looking at how to grow a global startup out of Australia, and a Women in Fintech meetup at fintech hub Stone and Chalk.
Spark Festival has been launched with the support of the City of Sydney, which has committed to funding the event over three years, and the NSW Government through its Jobs for NSW arm.
With the City of Sydney having discussed the creation of a startup festival in the Tech Startups Action Plan launched earlier this year, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s funding is part of its goal to create a sustainable, long-term program of events to help support and attract tech entrepreneurs to Sydney.
“We want to make sure Sydney is a place where entrepreneurs can quickly scale innovative businesses and create the jobs of our city’s future. Events like Spark Festival Sydney help build the skilled and connected community we need to make that happen,” Moore said.
Alex Scandurra, CEO of Stone and Chalk and Spark Festival board member, said, “The length and breadth of this year’s program, alongside the energy and hard work of the 15 track leads who have volunteered their time to create such a diverse and important series of events, is testimony to the depth of Sydney’ startup ecosystem and of our shared determination for getting Sydney back in the top 10 of the world’s leading entrepreneurship and innovation cities.”
With Sydney falling from 12th to 16th in last year’s Global Ecosystem Ranking report and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews taking to Twitter to boast Melbourne’s startup chops, the need to grow the Sydney ecosystem is clear.
As the Victorian Government continues to attract international tech giants to Melbourne and fund local ventures through its LaunchVic body, startup rating system Oddup has also found that Melbourne is home to the best and brightest tech talent in Australia: Melbourne produces 2,500 IT graduates per year from its universities and employs 91,300 people into technology companies, making up 31 percent of Australia’s total tech workforce.
While Oddup found Sydney is still home to almost half of Australia’s startups and the majority of investors, the likes of Spark Festival and StartCon – remaining in Sydney after a deal with the Victorian Government to bring it to Melbourne fell through – are needed to keep promoting the city as a top destination for tech startups and professionals.
You can learn more about Spark Festival here.