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September 7, 2018

Taking it global: Entrepreneurial lessons from Adelaide’s brightest minds

What do satellites, cyber security, 10gb infrastructure and social entrepreneurialism have in common?

Adelaide’s start-up and tech sector credentials are being bolstered by increasing numbers of entrepreneurs returning to Adelaide after building successful companies around the world.

In a series of panel discussions curated by Renewal SA, these business leaders were invited to share their insight and discuss the topics of doing global business, pathways to investment and starting out on the entrepreneur journey.

CityMag’s publisher, Joshua Fanning, hosted the panel sessions at Lot Fourteen, the site formerly known as the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Lot Fourteen is being redeveloped by Renewal SA on behalf of the State Government as a neighbourhood that nurtures creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial energy. These leading entrepreneurs shared their experiences and inspired the audience with their vision for a more connected and creative world. Read on or watch the video of each panel discussion here.

L-R: Flavia Tarta Nardini, Mohan Koo & Peter Auhl.

Topic 01: Taking it global

Mohan Koo, DTex Systems
Dr Guy Turnbull, social entrepreneur, UK
Flavia Tata Nardini, Fleet Space Technologies
Peter Auhl, Information Systems, City of Adelaide


This panel of business heavy hitters picked apart Adelaide’s business culture and asked: are our businesses too locally focused?

Mohan Koo is co-founder of international cyber security firm Dtex and led the company to become the first security vendor to implement ‘Privacy by Design’ in its technology platform.

He has just moved back to his home town of Adelaide after 16 years overseas and says he “couldn’t be happier” to be back amongst the city’s amazing lifestyle.

But Mohan warns our business culture needs to be more open to collaboration and more supportive of entrepreneurs.

Collaboration is “absolutely the most vital thing right now” if businesses, governments and organisations are to win the cyber security race against cyber criminals. And Mohan says local entrepreneurs need to be reassured that it’s “OK to fail” so they can rebound quickly and try again.

“We need to get together and lift the entire (local business) ecosystem up”
– Flavia Tarta Nardini

It is a point echoed by Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO and co-founder of Adelaide-based nano-satellite and Internet of Things company Fleet Space Technologies.

“We need to get together and lift the entire (local business) ecosystem up,” she says. “You help each other, you get excited and you get pumped up. Each one of us is an ambassador for this state.”

Fellow panellist Peter Auhl has gone from mining opal in Coober Pedy to getting fibre optic cable laid underground in Adelaide’s central business district for the City of Adelaide’s ambitious Ten Gigabit project.

He says local firms need to connect directly with the new economies of South East Asia, rather than be stuck in the old rut of competing with interstate businesses.

Dr Turnbull says businesses can achieve “so much more” by collaborating rather than competing with each other. He says this approach is fostered by neighbourhoods such as Lot Fourteen which enable “accidental meetings” to create new synergies of effort and enterprise.

Watch the full video of the panel discussion here.

Future Thinkers is an ongoing series of discussions at Lot Fourteen.
Stay tuned to CityMag as we publish more from this series of panel discussions.

Topic 01: Taking it global
Topic 02: Pathways to investors
Topic 03: The new guard

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