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Spark Sydney South

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Event description

Connect with like minds, share ideas and skills, and see emerging innovations in the Sydney South innovation and startup ecosystem. Whether curious about innovation and technology, and a seasoned expert, this event is designed to foster engagement and collaboration across the thriving tech-enabled communities that call Southern Sydney home. 

This event is a proud collaboration between Spark Festival, Georges River Council and ANSTO.

You’ll love this if you: 

  • Like to hear fascinating new ideas (and perhaps even find your own) 
  • Want to meet innovators, founders and professionals in the Sydney South community 
  • Hear from key leaders in the NSW ecosystem about how to be supported in your own ideas and ventures whether you are a founder, startup, SME or in corporate 

Two great ways to get involved (or go for both)! 

  1. Dragon's Den: Rapid Innovation MVP Workshop 4PM-5:15PM -closed door session for those curious about innovation, and not sure how to start 

Sounds scary, but definitely isn't. Join the co-CEO’s of Spark Festival, Dave LT and Harry Godber, as they lead an insightful and practical workshop designed to help you find your innovative idea, create ways to test and validate, and articulate your unique value proposition to colleagues, stakeholders and even future customers. Much like the Dragon's Den, but a little softer and with less at stake. A strict capacity limit will apply to ensure quality engagement and outcomes.

2. Spark Sydney South 5:15PM-7:30PM 

    A meeting of minds and a presentation of ideas, where you will 

    • Hear inspiring and thought-provoking innovation leaders share their stories and advice 
    • Discover and connect with the flourishing technology, startup and innovation ecosystem in South Sydney
    • Find avenues of support and links to the broader NSW ecosystem 
    • Find practical takeaways that will help you grow your ideas, businesses and innovations
    • Network with like minds and inspiring leaders in the community over delicious light refreshments

    Our Guest Presenters

    Maria MacNamara - CEO Space Industry Association of Australia 

    Now leading the Space Industry Association, Maria was recently the Director of Government Affairs and Innovation Strategy in Australia and New Zealand at Kyndryl and was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of, Australia’s global diaspora organisation. Maria was also an Adviser to Senator the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, the Acting Director of Policy and Strategy at WIRO in the Department of the NSW Government led by the Hon. Victor Dominello and Head of Strategy for the Digital Transformation Office (then Agency) within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has launched three startups and exited two.

    Emma Earley - Head of Accelerator, Remarkable

    A big believer in startups as a mechanism for impact, Emma has specialised in supporting startup founders to discover their potential. She is currently leading the pre-accelerator and accelerator programs at Remarkable for disability tech startups, and previously led Climate Change Cluster's Green Light Accelerator for algae tech startups. Emma has a passion for growing the Australian tech and startup ecosystem, and making it a more diverse and inclusive place for all people to participate and thrive. She is also a a Vinemaker at Grapevine, sparking important conversations championing systemic change. Emma went to school in the local area and spends much of her time there still.

    Nick Karahlis - Head of Product and Transport Engineering, Compass IoT and NK Traffic Consulting 

    With a Masters in Transport Engineering from UNSW, Nick has worked in the Government Sector (State and Local) for over 30 years, including seven Sydney Metropolitan Councils, and with extensive experience managing major event traffic operations at Sydney Olympic Park. He also had a role during the 2000 Olympics working in Transport Operations. He started his own traffic and transport consultancy, NK Traffic in the 90’s which he still operates. He is now the Head of Product and Transport Engineering with Compass IoT which is a leading Sydney Software innovating technology Start Up. Nick is a proud resident of Georges River Council and passionate about innovation combining his traffic experience with cutting edge technology.

    Annette Dockerty - Program Lead, SME Engagement at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

    Annette's passion is building ecosystems that unite in the interests of industry, employment and the economy; with a primary focus on advanced manufacturing, and helping business leaders looking to accelerate their adoption of technology, and access grants to support innovation and commercialisation. A longtime friend of Spark Festival, and with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the technology sector, we're thrilled to be welcoming Annette's perspective and support for the Sydney South innovation community.

    Councillor Sam Elmir - Mayor, Georges River Council 

    Councillor Sam Elmir, elected as Mayor of Georges River Council in September 2023, brings a profound dedication to the region's small businesses and innovation. A lifelong resident, he has served as a Councillor on Kogarah Council and is currently in his first term as Mayor and third term on Georges River Council. Alongside his civic duties, he actively supports local charitable organisations and grassroots sporting clubs, including the Kogarah Cougars Junior Rugby League Football Club. Mayor Elmir is fervent about enhancing the area's liveability and amenities, advocating for active transport infrastructure, and spearheading the development of a Creative Cultural Strategy. His commitment to driving innovation and supporting small businesses underscores his vision for a prosperous and dynamic Georges River region.

    Dr Carol Azzam Mackay - Design and Innovation Manager Nandin, ANSTO’s Innovation Centre.

    Carol is an expert at the intersection of design and science to catalyse innovation, with broad experience across industry and research. Her career journey spans many other scientific fields, including forensic analysis, inorganic chemistry research, science communication, and design theory. Carol draws on this experience as a strong foundation for her multidisciplinary role.

    Rod Dowler- National Education and Engagement Manager ANSTO

    Rod manages the ANSTO Discovery Centre which has built a comprehensive national education program over the last ten years. Rod believes that is critical for the nuclear industry to apply marketing principles and to better understand its stakeholders when creating education and outreach programs. Doing so has lead ANSTO to be promote nuclear through the use of creative and innovative formats.  

    Hosts - Spark Co-CEOs Harry Godber, David LT 

    Spark Festival has been made possible by support from the Georges River Council, ANSTO, NSW Government, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Herbert Smith Freehills, Atlassian, Australian Computer Society, and Stone & Chalk and continues its mission to drive engagement into and across the NSW startup ecosystem.

    More about Georges River Council

    More about Spark Festival

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