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Geelong to host Technology Entrepreneurship Forum focused on new business models

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 | By Rose Powell

Evolving business models in line with new technologies and the future of Geelong’s workforce are the main topics on the agenda for the upcoming Technology Entrepreneurship Forum, to be held in Geelong on November 28.


Conference speaker and director of emerging technology commercialisation network Alcatel Lucent, Liza Noonan, has recently returned from Europe to a much stronger local tech start-up community.


“It’s definitely busier and growing quite rapidly. I read recently that PwC report and I thought the key item that really hit me was the difference between 2009 and 2012 and the growth of every aspect. There are so many new players and it’s very healthy,” Noonan told StartupSmart.


Noonan will be speaking about why tech entrepreneurs need to focus on developing new business models and collaborating more effectively with each other to reach their productivity potential.


“The conversation about innovation now is not about the technology so much anymore, it’s about business model innovation. Technology innovation is the start, but you need to be thinking about your business model right from the get go,” Noonan says.


Noonan adds the Australian start-up community needs to get better at collaborating across and up industry verticals and cities to drive powerful innovation around business processes.


“The key ambition of the ecosystem needs to be about effective collaboration because that’s how we get new strong business models,” Noonan says.


The managing director of technology consulting company e-CentricInnovations, Kee Wong, agreed the emerging technology start-up ecosystem required new business models, but also new skills for older workers.


Wong, who will speak at the conference, told StartupSmart that Geelong has transitioned its workforce.


“I’m tailoring my presentation to that part of Victoria we’ll be meeting in, as it’s the heartland of manufacturing. We need to recognise globalisation is happening, so we need to switch the jobs from high cost manufacturing activities to high value services such as technology,” Wong says.


Wong says it is likely many manufacturing workers would need to retrain, and coding is a fundamental skill anyone with more than 20 years left of career time will need.


“Technology has a lot of roles in the IT industry; it’s not just about codes, but that’s a good place to start looking at because you can’t manage programmers if you don’t know what they’re doing,” Wong says.


The Technology Entrepreneurship Forum will be run by ICT Geelong and the Australian Information Industry Association on November 28.