With a quarter* of Australia’s top 100 young entrepreneurs hailing from Melbourne, Victoria is a hotbed of rising stars driving innovation and change globally. The state is also known universally for its progressive approach to investing and driving startups and entrepreneurship.
The Victorian Government, through LaunchVic, has led the development of a globally connected startup ecosystem in Victoria by funding programs that have played an instrumental role in driving growth. As of January 2022, over $45 million has been invested in grants, research, sponsorship, events and various programs, supporting more than 386 organisations and 4,800 entrepreneurs.
It’s no wonder why Melbourne, known as Australia’s knowledge and innovation capital, was chosen to host the 2023 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC2023), being held for the first time on Australian soil.
GEC2023 is a gathering of startup champions from around the world, working together to build one global ecosystem of innovation and economic growth. In addition to an impressive line-up of international entrepreneurs speaking at the congress, there are also many outstanding local entrepreneurs on the program.
At the congress, delegates will have an opportunity to network with Melbourne’s crème de la crème, leading the way in everything from tech, manufacturing research and biotechnology to food and fibre, research and development and clean energy.
Melbourne’s tech scene
Victoria is home to more than half of Australia’s top 20 tech companies and boasts more than 1,800 technology-based startups. It’s also the birthplace of at least eleven tech ‘unicorns’ (startups valued at more than one billion), produces the largest number of tech graduates in Australia and is home to Australia’s highest-ranking university (University of Melbourne) and largest university (Monash University).
Some of the biggest high-growth global tech companies, such as Alibaba, Cognizant, Slack, Dataminr, KnowBe4, Square, and Zendesk have chosen to invest in Victoria.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of many fields Melbourne’s tech space is rapidly becoming known for. Particularly since global AI leader Dataminr chose to set up its Asia Pacific headquarters and Operations Centre in Melbourne, tapping into the city’s talented workforce and world-class tertiary sector.
Tech conferences Melbourne has hosted include: 1,200 delegate International Conference on Software Engineering in 2023.
Melbourne’s manufacturing scene
Victoria has in excess of 25 advanced manufacturing research centres and is home to approximately a third of Australia’s engineers.
One of the most impressive entrepreneurial investments in Melbourne is the Fisherman’s Bend Precinct — a national engineering and advanced manufacturing hub in Australia’s largest urban renewal centre.
The precinct is home to defence, science, tech and advanced manufacturers including Siemens and Boeing Aerospace (it’s Boeing’s largest manufacturing facility outside of the United States). It’s also the future home of the University of Melbourne School of Engineering.
Another unique facility is regional Victoria’s Advanced Fibre Hub Carbon Nexus. This is a globally unique carbon fibre research facility that houses commercial and research scale carbon fibre production lines for use by researchers and industry.
Upcoming manufacturing conferences in Melbourne include: International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE) in June 2023 (expecting 800 delegates).
Image credit: Monash University by DJPR
Melbourne’s biotechnology scene
Victoria is the national leader in biotechnology and is Australia’s largest exporter of pharmaceutical products. The state has a strong and established medical technology and device development ecosystem, with the likes of Siemens, Bosch, Invetech, Leica Biosystems, and SRX Global choosing to locate in Victoria.
A unique standout is the Parkville Biomedical Precinct — a world-renowned research centre with a focus on biomedical and social innovation. The precinct fosters and supports collaborations between academic biomedical research and industry. It’s home to world-class universities, leading Australian hospitals, globally renowned research organisations, and the international head office of biotechnology manufacturer CSL.
US company Praxis Precision Medicines is another leading biotech company that has invested in Victoria’s thriving medtech and pharmaceutical sector, choosing to establish its Asia Pacific headquarters and research and development centre in the Parkville Biomedical Precinct.
Also located near the precinct is the impressive Melbourne Connect multipurpose venue. At its core lies interdisciplinary collaboration, where researchers and industry participants cross traditional disciplines to creatively and ingeniously tackle complex problems
Medical and tech event planners love Melbourne Connect as it offers conference, workshop and event facilities – including a 38,750 square foot ‘Super Floor’, a 400-delegate lecture hall, meeting rooms and outdoor spaces.
Learn more about Melbourne Connect’s conference space
Meanwhile, the Victorian State Government’s investment in medical infrastructure continues to grow, with construction underway on the state-of-the-art US $139 million Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD) - Australia’s first hospital-based biomedical engineering research centre.
Due for completion in late 2024, ACMD brings together clinicians, engineers and scientists to tackle complex health challenges and collectively forge paths to uncover new treatments and techniques.
Upcoming biotech conferences in Melbourne include: International Congress of Genetics in July 2023 (expecting 3,000 delegates).
Image: Multipurpose venue Melbourne Connect
Melbourne’s food and fibre space
With just three per cent of Australia’s landmass, Victoria is home to Australia’s agri-food sector and is the nation’s largest food exporter.
As a national leader in food research and development partnerships, innovation is at the heart of Victoria’s agrifood and fibre industry success. Home to 15 R&D and innovation centres, Victoria is a hub for food development across Asia Pacific.
Upcoming food and fibre conferences in Melbourne include: Asian-Australasian Congress on Animal Production 2024 (expecting 600 delegates).
Melbourne’s clean energy space
In January 2022, the world’s largest hydrogen demonstration pilot project - the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Project - achieved a world first by demonstrating that clean liquid hydrogen can be extracted from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley coal (and a biomass mix) and shipped to Kobe in Japan.
The successful pilot project was driven by a partnership between the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth and Japanese governments, with the goal to develop the HESC as a commercial pathway for a low-CO2 hydrogen energy supply chain.
The project has the potential to be a game-changer – providing an innovative, economically viable and environmentally conscious solution to producing clean hydrogen safely, through gasification of coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Upcoming energy and resources conferences in Melbourne include: Inaugural 2023 APAC Offshore Wind and Green Hydrogen Summit (expecting 1,000 delegates).
How you can work with the Melbourne Convention Bureau to bring your event to life
The 2023 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, with an estimated 2,500 international delegates, was secured by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) in conjunction with an outstanding local host committee, the Global Entrepreneurship Network Australia (GENA).
MCB has over 50 years’ of experience in bidding and securing world-class international conferences and an outstanding ‘Team Melbourne’ approach to working with global associations and local host organising committees.
Learn more about why international associations choose Melbourne to hold their event.
*Business News Australia
Other sources: Invest Victoria