Pacific Connect Community comes together for flagship event

It’s almost here! One year after the Inaugural Pacific Connect Forum, active Community members from Australia, Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will convene in Sydney next week for ICDP’s Ideas Exchange. From Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 September, more than 50 emerging leaders will engage in a huge array of activities including project meetings, presentations and pitching workshops, innovation hub tours and networking events.

Extra-curricular activities kick-off ICDP’s flagship event with a whirlwind tour of Sydney’s most prominent innovation hubs, including Sydney Startup Hub, Fishburners and INCUBATE. Home to leading incubators such as Microsoft ScaleUp, Caltex C-lab and Optus, the precinct is the first of its kind in Australia and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, with desk space for more than 2,500 entrepreneurs, a landing pad and community event spaces.

Participants will pay a visit to Fishburners, home to Australia’s largest community of scalable tech startups. The extra-curricular activities will close with a visit to INCUBATE a startup accelerator program developed by the University of Sydney Union.

Wednesday will see participants engage in project meetings and development sessions. Throughout the day, participants will be able to access dedicated mentoring sessions, and a ‘Pitch Development Workshop’ will be held in the afternoon for project teams, before the Welcome Dinner at NSW Parliament House.

We are delighted to announce that the Hon. Liesl Tesch AM, MP, Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly, will address the Ideas Exchange at dinner. Liesl has represented Australia at seven Paralympic Games, competing at five Paralympic Games as a wheelchair basketballer, bringing home three medals, and winning Gold in sailing at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In 2010, Liesl co-founded Sport Matters to bring targeted development assistance to people with disability across Australia, the Pacific, Asia and Africa.

The Pacific Connect Ideas Exchange will take place once again in the Preston Stanley Room at NSW Parliament House, Australia’s first Parliament. Former Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon. Christopher Pyne, will present the Keynote Address titled ‘Pacific Island Nations and the changing geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific.’ Dr Ian Watt AC, Chair of ICDP, will provide a year in review of Pacific Connect’s action-packed 2019.

With 20 active projects, five of which have received backing and financial support, Pacific Connect and the wider Community stands in good stead to help develop Australia-Pacific connections for the digital future. Two projects, ‘Every Building Is a Classroom’ (Cameron Neil, Robertson Szetu) and ‘WEF Global Shapers Community Hubs for Pacific Youth Empowerment’ (Olisana Mariner, James Fraser) will be presented during the day. The Community will be able to engage in a panel discussion on entrepreneurial leaders, featuring Zha Agabe-Granfar, Molly Benjamin, James Kana and Georgina Naigulevu. The event will close with practice pitches from four projects: VR Samoa, Less than Container Load Solomon Islands, Mobile Me Fiji, Yumi Wan Vanuatu and Fiji/Vanuatu Finds.

The Ideas Exchange is held on the eve of the Global Access Partners’ 10th-anniversary Annual Economic Summit ‘Beyond Education: Lifelong Learning for Australia’s Future’. The Summit will bring together education practitioners, business leaders, politicians, government policy makers and civic thought leaders to consider the impact of technology on the future workforce and the challenges of retraining people as skills requirements change.

Want to join the discussion online? ICDP will be providing live updates from all the events on its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels. Don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter and check out the website, too. We can’t wait to see everyone next week for what will be an unforgettable event!