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News & Analysis

The Spark Festival kicks off today: here’s what you need to know

- October 12, 2020 4 MIN READ
The first ever online Spark Festival is open for business.

Spark Festival is an independent, grassroots festival whose mission is to drive prosperity for all Australians via the growth of thriving new economy businesses.

Maxine Sherrin

Since 2016 we’ve celebrated entrepreneurship everywhere, bringing people and organisations of the startup world together to imagine and create new, exciting, valuable, and successful ventures. 

The key to what makes Spark so important, loved and unique is the way the festival showcases a diverse representation of the innovation ecosystem, while also welcoming newcomers to the space. Startups, hubs, accelerators, universities, government, corporates, professional services and more – anyone with an interest in the new economy – are all welcome to find their Spark and be part of the program. 

If you’re looking to:

  • get started with that great idea
  • get the tools and resources you’ll need to make it a reality
  • get to the next level with your startup or SME
  • get inspired
  • get connected
  • get your mojo back

you’re going to get what you need between Oct 12 and 13 at Spark, so:

What’s changed in 2020? 

Everything really 🙂 

After four editions as an in-person event with a loyal following but a Sydney focus, for 2020 Spark made the decision early to go fully online for this year’s festival. 

The pivot to online has served Spark well in terms of allowing this already very inclusive event to be genuinely geographically inclusive. 

The two week program will now have contributors from across Sydney, across regional NSW and across Australia, all dialling in from their own homes and offices wherever that may be to share knowledge and help others along the way on their entrepreneurial journey. 

This year’s Spark Festival program will run from Oct 12 to 23 as a free two week, full day livestream broken up into segments throughout the day.

It’s a unique opportunity for anyone to learn where they might start on that journey of turning an idea into a sustainable business.

 

Here are some of the highlights.

Moonshot: Exploring the Frontiers 

Space startups might seem a long way from most of our day to day lives. Troy McCann, founder of Australian space tech accelerator Moonshot is here to show us how some of the findings from space exploration have applications on frontiers much closer to home than you might expect. 

From Zero to 100 in The Circular Economy 

How did two sisters from regional Queensland go from plotting a plan on their bedroom floor to leading Australasia’s transition towards a circular economy?

Hear how Jaine and Ashleigh have bootstrapped themselves from humble beginnings where they worked for free with 45 small businesses to prove the value of a circular economy, to today where they are leading some of the world’s most impactful circular economy projects with clients including BHP, Rio Tinto, Lendlease, Mirvac, Queensland Investment Corporation, and more.

 

The New New Inventors 

Technology has created the opportunity for any Australian to start a physical product business and have their first customer be anywhere in the world.

Already, thousands of Australians of all ages and backgrounds are designing in their bedrooms, tinkering in their garages, working on their businesses and dreaming of selling to the world. Sydney Hardware Incubator is enabling this exciting revolution for everyday inventors. 

 

How we grew Urban Plant Growers while working full-time jobs 

The founders of Urban Plant Growers have had full time jobs for most of the company’s history. Limited time forged the belief that they shouldn’t build anything that doesn’t need to be built, leading them to find a range of simple software solutions and develop rock-solid processes that have helped them to run an efficient hardware business. If you’re thinking about starting up, but not sure about quitting your day job, this is a session for you. 

 

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. 

 

Why All Investors Should Now Be Impact Investors 

The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world’s most pressing environmental and societal challenges. In Australia alone, the impact investing market has grown by 250% in the last 2 years, reaching an estimated value of $19.9 billion. But as we design a new world Post-covid-19, impact investing imposes itself as the new smart investing. 

 

Iron Matrix 

Why do we work? Why do we innovate? Why are we here? These questions led David Morgan on a journey which involved quitting his 20-year career in the oil and gas industry and resulted in the energy start-up, Iron Matrix. At the intersection of the energy and construction industries, 

Iron Matrix is on a mission to change the way the world sees and interacts with energy generation, storage and use. Each phase of Iron Matrix’s development has been underscored by the fundamental reality that everything we do and need in life requires energy.

 

Watch it live

The Livestream is our very own two week popup TV channel, all about startups, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ten days. 8am to 8pm. It’s ambitious, we know. But there’s just so much happening in the Australian innovation community and we believe it’s more important than ever to #ShareThePlatform. So we’ve gathered together people and organisations from across Australia to share their learnings on how they are creating thriving new economy businesses.

Don’t be overwhelmed by that massive program: just send through a registration and start adding the segments you’re keen on to your calendar.

You’ll be able to ask questions over chat on the livestream of course, plus you’ll find all our presenters LinkedIn pages via The Livestream program page.

 

Workshops

Throughout the program we’ve also got a workshop series so you can take a deep-dive into:

 

You’ll find more on the Spark Festival here.