NEW South Wales entrepreneurs will hear directly from successful ‘parent-repreneurs’ on how to juggle a fast-paced startup business and parenthood at an event this week.

The Balancing Parenthood and Entrepreneurship event on Wednesday, October 31, at the Spark Festival will assemble a panel of successful entrepreneurs who are parents to discuss the challenges and opportunities of navigating both roles. 

The panel of successful ‘parent-repreneurs’ will include Carrie Kwan, Peter McConnell, Edwina Sharrock and Victoria Stewart – all successful business founders with children. In tune with the event, to be held at the Sydney Startup Hub with the support of the NSW Government, is free onsite childcare for attendees.

“The average age of a startup founder in NSW is mid-30s and frequently that aligns with founders starting a family,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said.

“Parent-repreneurs are not only looking for opportunities to secure their future but to ensure flexible working conditions to support their families.”
Founding, running and growing a startup business is a huge job and it can be a massive challenge,  but in many ways being a parent is excellent preparation for startup life.

The panel discussion will involve four successful ‘parent-repreneurs’ sharing advice and tips on how they balance parenthood and entrepreneurship to achieve both family and business goals, with lunch and networking to follow.

Jobs for NSW will host the event as part of its sponsorship of the Spark Festival, with free on-site childcare offered for startup parents and ‘babes in arms’ also welcome, a spokesperson said. 

Carrie Kwan is the co-founder and managing director of Mums & Co, a networking hub for Australian women entrepreneurs, who will share her passion and insights on how working parents can realise success in their startups and businesses.

Peter McConnell is executive chair at Commtract, a marketplace for communications professionals. He will share his experience of balancing a young family with two successful start-ups – one led by his wife, the other by him – including strategies for balancing primary care for his two boys and a busy executive role.

Edwina Sharrock is the CEO and founder of Tamworth startup Birth Beat, an online platform for antenatal and childbirth classes. She will share her experience on the steps she has taken to launch her start-up while being a mother of two children under six.

Victoria Stuart is co-founder of Beam Australia, an online marketplace connecting businesses with degree qualified stay-at-home parents. Ms Stuart will discuss her personal search for balance and the positive impact flexible work options are making to lives and businesses. 

Register for the event here.


THE partnership between eBay and Coles loyalty program Flybuys is set to transform the relationship between retail, travel and brand loyalty.

With Australia’s largest online marketplace,, partnering with Australia’s most popular loyalty program, shoppers will immediately be able to earn and redeem Flybuys points with 40,000 Australian online retailers.

The impact is heading the way of a Transformers blockbuster movie – where eBay had one of its best brand exposures as part of that storyline.

From May, more than 11 million monthly unique visitors of have been able to link their accounts to Flybuys to collect 1 point for every $2 spent on eligible items across the site. There are also bonus offers, allowing shoppers to dramatically accelerate their points. 

It is the first move into loyalty rewards for, as it seeks to offer consumers a more rewarding shopping experience. For Flybuys, this partnership is the biggest expansion of the program since the addition of Velocity frequent flyer as a partner in 2016.

“We know Aussies love rewards points, and at eBay innovation is the focus for our connected community,” chief marketing officer Julie Nestor said.

“It was a no-brainer to partner with Flybuys to achieve this, as we continue to evolve our own platform in order to stay the number one online retail choice in Australia.”

More than 60 percent of Australian households who actively use Flybuys will now also be able to redeem their Flybuys points for eBay vouchers, amounting to $10 in vouchers for every 2000 points collected.

These vouchers can be used to purchase items from the hundreds of millions of items available to them through the eBay platform, Ms Nestor said.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help our members collect and use more flybuys points and ensure they are rewarded in a meaningful and exciting way,” said Flybuys general manager Alex Chruszcz.

Research on small business retailers found that while 62 percent believed a rewards program could help their business compete with larger players, 71 percent felt a loyalty program would be too expensive to set-up and run.

“We have listened to our small business community who say that loyalty programs are something they would like to engage in but don’t have access to, which is where the power of the eBay platform comes in,” Ms Nestor said.

The research found 72 percent of eBay sellers believed a rewards program would help attract new customers, and 67 percent said it would likely increase customer spend at their stores.


SINGAPORE and Australia are collaborating on the first ‘Good Science = Great Business’ festival in Singapore in September.

The festival, delivered by the Australian High Commission, in collaboration with Austrade, CSIRO and Australia’s leading universities, will promote collaboration between Australian scientists and businesses and their counterparts in Singapore and ASEAN countries.

The festival will stage a series of high-profile events in Singapore highlighting the contribution science makes to creating future industries and growing economies in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Events will include commercialisation workshops and ‘pitch’ events for research institutions, Australian industry delegation visits to Singapore medtech and biotech facilities, a lecture series and a gala dinner featuring the Australian National University vice chancellor Brian Schmidt – the astrophysicist and Nobel Prize winner.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Michaelia Cash has encouraged business leaders and scientists in Singapore and Australia to join forces to secure future prosperity for both countries.

“Singapore is a key partner for Australia, being our largest trading partner in ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations), eighth-largest trading partner overall and sixth-largest foreign investor,” Ms Cash said.

“Under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Australia and Singapore are deepening cooperation across all sectors and advancing shared interests, including in the innovation and science space.”

Minister Cash said the festival would demonstrate the Australian Government’s commitment to fostering international collaborations that would help Australian businesses grow and reach into global markets.

“Singapore is a natural partner for Australia in entrepreneurship, science and technology activities thanks to its openness to exchanging ideas and talent,” she said.

“The Good Science = Great Business festival will show collaboration between business, industry, universities and researchers in Australia and Singapore remains central to fostering vibrant innovation systems in both our nations.”


INTERNATIONAL Convention Centre Sydney’s (ICC Sydney) Feeding Your Performance program is being hailed as a blueprint for innovation, delivering economic, social and environmental advances for Sydney and New South Wales (NSW).

Research released by University of Technology Sydney (UTS), reviewing ICC Sydney’s all-encompassing Feeding Your Performance (FYP) program, commended the approach and said it was a supply chain blueprint for other Australian venues and businesses. 

Embedded across ICC Sydney’s operations, the FYP program strives to ‘feed the performance’ of ICC Sydney delegates and visitors, team members, and the local economy, through a unique New South Wales-focused supply chain, a progressive sustainability approach and an industry-first Legacy Program.

The UTS report noted ICC Sydney delivered a total of $8.3 million to the NSW economy in 2017 through its food and wine purchases alone. This represented a direct investment of more than $4.3 million in a network of more than 85 NSW producers and farmers.

Overall, delegates attending events at ICC Sydney generated $785 million in direct expenditure for the state in the centre’s first year of operation.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Water, Trade and Industry, Niall Blair applauded ICC Sydney’s approach and said the research reinforced “the venue’s reputation for innovation and excellence across the board”.

“ICC Sydney is pioneering a commercial model which is driving a triple bottom line, delivering significant economic, social and environmental gains for New South Wales, and establishing a benchmark for best practice across sectors.

“For example, ICC Sydney’s approach to working hand-in-hand with local suppliers could be adopted by other venues to provide financial security for farmers and producers, driving employment and growth opportunities in regional areas,” Mr Blair said.

“The culinary aspect of the FYP program is also showcasing the state’s outstanding produce on the global stage and creating new markets for agriculture and tourism,” he said.

ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy said it was vitally important that convention centres measure the full impact they have on their supply chain.

“We are immensely proud to be looking beyond the borders of Sydney to feed the business performance of our suppliers as well as the communities in which they’re located,” Mr Donaghy said.

“As urbanisation increases, cities and their convention centres have a role to play in supporting the regional areas that feed them and support their event delivery. If our success is underpinned by delivering restaurant-quality produce, then we have an important role to play in supporting the supply chain that enables this.”

According to the research, other key benefits of ICC Sydney’s FYP program included supporting NSW producers and regional development; providing demand for seasonal, fresh produce that counters market volatility inherent in the food industry; driving employment growth opportunities; increasing cash flow for farmers and producers, boosting production and supporting improvements to infrastructure. 

The FYP program is also having an impact on environmental sustainability.

Mr Donaghy said ICC Sydney was able to support local producers in alignment with state government sustainability strategies, while endorsing CSR and stewardship. The program reduced ‘food miles’ and made a smaller carbon footprint while improving efficiencies. The ICC is also partnering with OzHarvest to donate unused excess food to disadvantaged members of the community – and with Sydney Water to save 775,000 plastic bottles from use, indirectly reducing gas emissions by 400 tonnes. ICC Sydney is also focusing on recycling, reduced use of chemicals, reduced waste and effective waste management. 

According to UTS there were major community benefits stemming from the FYP program.

UTS identified that it encouraged awareness and concerns for farmers and local communities; and it supported farmers to grow high quality, sustainable, and new and speciality produce.

The program proved strong at building staff morale with an inclusive recruitment program, while it also supported local and diverse communities, including First Nations peoples and businesses.

ICC Sydney’s unique multi-streamed Legacy Program provided event organisers with opportunities to partner with local organisations through four diverse streams: Innovators and Entrepreneurs, Generation Next, First Australians and Sustainable Events. 

Mr Donaghy said key to the venue’s ongoing success would be driving continuous improvement.

“In the years to come, we are committed to continuing as we’ve started, supporting further investment in agritourism, building job opportunities and facilitating growth within our network of suppliers and beyond,” Mr Donaghy said.

“This includes continuing to track impact across all sectors of the business and our supply chain so that the NSW community continues to thrive.”


THE CITY of Melbourne is already seeking inspiring knowledge leaders and organisations to energise and take part in Melbourne Knowledge Week 2019.

Knowledge Week is Melbourne’s annual celebration of the city’s best and brightest, as the community explores smart, innovative and unique solutions to improve the world’s most liveable city.

Deputy chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, Councillor Rohan Leppert, said expressions of interest are now open for event partners, organisations and speakers for the 2019 event, which will be staged between Monday, May 20 and Sunday, May 26. 

“Melbourne Knowledge Week is the city’s premier knowledge event, designed to tackle the biggest challenges and opportunities presented by our changing world,” Cr Leppert said.

“This year’s festival in May saw over 100 events entice more than 22,000 inquisitive minds to engage in a week-long showcase of incredible experiences, including everyone from universities and major corporations to start-ups, entrepreneurs and local community groups.

“In 2019 we’re looking to make Melbourne Knowledge Week even more exciting, giving everyone in our community the chance to be inspired about the future of city living, technology, food, work, health, sports and art, and to celebrate Melbourne’s most ambitious innovators, creators and problems solvers.

“We are looking for submissions for a range of special events, workshops, dinners and performances, while this year, for the first time, we’re also asking for speakers to submit their interest in participating,” Cr Leppert said.

“Knowledge Week embodies the vision of sharing and exploring our city’s world class research, technology and data, helping empower citizens and industries to unite to solve Melbourne’s future challenges together.”

Applications for organisations, event partners and speakers keen to take part in Melbourne Knowledge Week 2019 will be accepted until September 20, 2018.

A series of information sessions will be held at Melbourne Town Hall in August and September.

Cr Leppert said there were limited spaces available for Melbourne Knowledge Week, and all applicants would be assessed based on the quality and calibre of their submissions as well as their alignment with the festival’s goals.

“As Melbourne continues to grow we must take up the challenge to evolve and innovate so that we don’t get left behind,” Cr Leppert said.

“This is why we want to hear from those people whose research, thoughts and innovations are already sparking the big ideas which will have a major impact on the future of our city.”


BLEISURE TRAVEL – or adding a leisure portion of travel to a business trip – is a highly popular way to make the most out of business travel, according to research by  International SOS and CAPA Centre for Aviation.

A regional survey of 106 organisations based in Australia and New Zealand, regarding their views on business-leisure (bleisure) travel found about with 68 percentof business travellers globally took at least one bleisure trip per year.

The Bleisure Travel Trends 2018 report by International SOS and CAPA found that nine out of 10 people believe the responsibility for the leisure portion of business travel falls to the traveller. 

One in four organisations have not considered bleisure in their travel policy and of the six in 10 organisations that allow bleisure, only two looked into the risk rating of the leisure travel destination before approving.

The report also found that one in four bleisure trips included an aspect of adventure or exploration – and senior executives and managers were most likely to add leisure travel to a business trip.

The big question raised by the report is, who holds the responsibility for bleisure travel?

“Bleisure is something that many companies allow, and perhaps feel they have to do in return for the long hours and intensity business travel can often incur,” CAPA executive chairman Peter Harbison said.

“Quite frequently there is much less consideration given to the issues of duty of care, the extent to which that applies, and what companies are doing to mitigate the risks that come with bleisure.

“The fact is, this is a legal and insurance minefield.”

Despite the overwhelming majority (91%) of people believing the responsibility for the leisure portion of business travel falls to the traveller, organisations need to understand the potential risks they face regarding bleisure travel, Mr Harbison said.

“While there is a duty of care during employment, often there is not a clear line on when that duty of care is no longer applicable,” HWL Ebsworth Lawyers partner Tim Ainsworth said.

“You might think that when someone has gone on the holiday portion of their trip that they are no longer in the course of their employment. However, due to corporate policies or a sense that there might be an inducement or encouragement from the employer to engage in the leisure activity, it’s not quite so black and white.”


An organisation’s encouragement and travel policy needs to align in a way that clearly states when and how they are willing to support bleisure travel, according to the report.

For companies which have not determined their stance on bleisure travel, it’s important to understand the decision is not a simple yes or no statement, Mr Harbison warned. Many stakeholders need to be involved in the decision process, including HR, insurance, risk management and legal departments, he said.

“In our experience, many companies’ current travel policies talk from a financial or insurance perspective,” International SOS regional security director for Australasia, Sally Napper said.

“What we like to see is a strong inclusion of a risk-based approach as well. This enables travellers and managers to make a risk-based decision about where and when they’re sending people overseas.”

Understanding destination and activity risks is an often overlooked aspect of bleisure travel approval. Only 37 percent of organisations that allow bleisure travel look into the risk rating of the leisure travel destination before approving the leisure portion, according to the report.

Along with the wide variety of global destination risks, activities vary on the risk spectrum as well. A quarter of bleisure trips include an aspect of adventure or exploration, which most likely changes the risk accepted in the business portion of the trip.

“A new location or activity can dramatically change the risk exposure in a trip,” International SOS group senior manager for risnk management and insuirance, Kelvin Wu said.

“Companies need to clearly communicate that these risks picked up by the employee on their own accord during the leisure portion of their travel might not be covered in the Group Business Travel arrangement in terms of the insurance coverage.”

Supporting bleisure travel is one way employers can attract and attain talent, the report noted. Updating travel policies to reflect this trend includes not only duty of care responsibilities but also creates a culture of care.

Access the full webinar panel discussion here.


HUNDREDS of entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers from San Francisco will board the special Qantas charter “Myriad Air” to attend Australia’s leading technology and innovation festival in Brisbane from May 16-18.

Myriad Air was created through a partnership with the Queensland Government and uses a chartered Qantas Boeing 747 to link Silicon Valley, the world’s epicentre for technology, startups and venture capital with Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, home of the 2018 Myriad Festival.

Myriad CEO Martin Talvari said some of Silicon Valley’s smartest thinkers and most connected people would be travelling on Myriad Air, coming to Australia for the first time in a professional capacity. Mr Talvari said before they even arrive, "they will have had 14 hours to connect with Australian entrepreneurs at 30,000 feet".

“There’s a real excitement in the San Francisco community and a bit of FOMO about Myriad,” Mr Talvari said. 

“The key here is about some of these heavy hitters discovering Australia as more than a holiday destination. Some of the best research and IP (intellectual property)  in the world comes out of Australia and there is so much unrealised potential here. I have been blown away by what I have found and I want other people to see it for themselves.”

Last year’s inaugural Myriad festival resulted in some life-changing experiences, whether it was a new career opportunity, a deal or a moment of epiphany. One delegate, Mikhara Ramsing, quit her job within days of attending and is now the founder of two social ventures. She will be returning this year as a speaker.

“We have heard of a dozen or so deals and start-ups happening from last year and cannot wait to see what brilliant ideas and connections this year’s mix of 2,000 delegates and 100 speakers will spark,” Mr Talvari said.

The themes speakers and panels will be tackling at Myriad 2018 include the future of food, health, culture, play, work, cities and money, with a focus on finding technological and other solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the world today.

Visiting presenters include former Olympic ski champion Jeremy Bloom who founded marketing software company Integrate; Kelly Watkins the global marketing head of Slack; Tony Conrad, a partner at True and a board member of the Tony Hawk Foundation; Kara Ballard Williams is the CEO and founder of Ying; Jonathan Trent, a lead scientist at NASA; Vicki Suanders the founder of Canadian not-for-profit SheEO; Google AI specialist Anil Sabharwal; former CIA officer Yaël Eisentat; Vishal Vasishth the co-foudner of force-for-good technology company Obvious Ventures; and Naveen Jain, the founder of Viome and Moon Express.

The Queensland Government is a strategic partner of Myriad, with a three-year sponsorship agreement with Myriad Live to host annual events from 2017 to 2019. 

Myriad Air is supported by Qantas, Bank of Queensland, BlueSky Alternative Investments, Gadens, Greater Springfield and Bond University.


Jeremy Bloom is a two-time Olympian, three-time World Champion and 11-time World Cup Gold Medallist skier, pro-NFL player, philanthropist, founder and CEO of marketing software company Integrate, which raised US$42 million in venture capital. He is also a V host, and the author of Fueled by Failure: Using Detours and Defeats to Power Progress. To say he is a high achiever at the age 36, is a huge understatement but Mr Bloom also understands failure and will be bringing unique insights to Myriad.

Kelly Watkins is the Head of Global Marketing at Slack, where she oversees brand, product, platform, and growth marketing, as well as advertising, events, and editorial. Prior to Slack, Ms Watkins was the vice president of marketing at Bugsnag, where she established the company as a leader in a growing product category.

Tony Conrad, partner at True, co-founded both and Sphere. Mr Conrad is a board member of the Tony Hawk Foundation, an advisor to San Francisco-based Noise Pop and he was previously national co-chair of technology for US President Barack Obama. With a passion for good coffee that, he said, Australian coffee snobs would be proud of, Mr Conrad was the first investor to back the artisans at Blue Bottle Coffee through True. Investment by Fidelity Ventures, Google Ventures, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley followed and the company expanded internationally before being acquired by Nestlé last year.

Karla Ballard Williams is the CEO and founder of YING, which allows people to earn and exchange “time credits”. Members bank time helping each other and can spend the earned credits with others in the community for business resources, help at home, companionship, or any other service. Formerly a senirol vice president at Participant Media, Ms Ballard Williams is also an appointee to the United States Federal Communication Committee on Diversity in a Digital Age and managed the national Broadband Opportunity Coalition.

Jonathan Trent, the project lead scientist for OMEGA, NASA, works at NASA’s nanotechnology department, where he builds microscopic devices out of proteins from extremophiles -- bacteria that live in the world’s harshest environments. It isn’t the logical place to start a biofuel project. But in 2008, after watching enzymes chomp through plant cells, Mr Trent started thinking about biofuels. Because he has a background in marine biology, he started thinking about algae and the oceans. Thus was born OMEGA, or the Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae. This technology aims at re-using the wastewater of coastal cities that is currently piped out and disposed into the seas.

Serial entrepreneur Vicki Saunders is the founder of Toronto-based non-profit SheEO, which raises funds to back women entrepreneurs, who often find it harder to raise capital.  Less than four percent of venture capital goes to women and 90 percent of funding decisions are made by men. Ms Saunders realised the extent of the issue when she launched NRG Group, a business incubator she took public 18 years ago. Of the first 400 funding applications they received, only three came from women. Since then she says the situation is even worse.

Anil Sabharwal, vice president of product for Google, lives at the intersection of AI and consumer products. He leads Google’s global engineering and product efforts across a wide range of consumer applications, reporting to the CEO. Most recently Mr Sabharwal launched Google Photos, heralded as one of Google finest examples of Machine Learning solving real world problems. It already has over half a billion active users. Now based in Sydney, rumour has it Mr Sabharwal could be making a big announcement at Myriad.

Yaël Eisentat is a former CIA officer, national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and diplomat turned public advocate. She has spent 17 years working at the intersection of political, social and security issues and focuses now on helping those outside of government contribute to solutions for many of the same kinds of challenges.

Vishal Vasishth is the co-founder of Obvious Ventures (the company behind Twitter and Medium with Evan Williams and James Joaquin). Obvious Ventures invests in world positive technology companies across three themes: Sustainable Systems, Healthy Living and People Power.

Naveen Jain is the founder of Viome and Moon Express, which is working to expand Earth’s economic and social sphere to “our 8th continent”, the Moon.


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