Guest post by Ryan Kris (@RyanJKris), City Grill participant, startup CEO, and generally nice guy
I’ve been studying and working in the City of Adelaide for the better part of the last 15 years. Whilst I’m not a resident in the city I still consider it part of my home, and I care deeply about its future leadership. With Council elections happening this month I decided it was time I got more involved. When I heard about City Grill, without hesitation, I registered and added the date to my calendar.
After leaving my corporate job last year, I found myself coworking over at Majoran, a place where I could work on my own startup and learn more about Adelaide’s startup scene. At City Grill, I wanted to hear what the candidates had to say about startups – my big area of interest. I believe startups have a key role to play in unlocking the future economic potential of our city and state.
I was keen to understand what role the Council should play in helping support the startup ecosystem here in Adelaide to increase the chances of success for those entrepreneurs giving it a shot.
My topic of startups did get considerable airtime during the Q&A session of the forum. There were a wide range of views from candidates on the topic. One notable point was the definition of a ‘startup’. Candidates had different views on what entailed a startup and how they should be helped. Is a startup a food truck? A new café? A popup fashion shop? Or a tech business?
Whilst I think supporting the growth of cafes, small bars, food trucks and other small businesses is important, seeing technology based startups succeed is where Adelaide can breed businesses that scale nationally. We need tech startups to have their humble beginnings here in Adelaide, but then ultimately grow and scale nationally – or internationally – to bring economic value back into the state as a whole.
Success for any startup is ultimately the responsibility of the entrepreneur themselves. However, it is possible to increase those chance of success with the right outside support. This is where Council needs to be actively engaged and support our entrepreneurial communities.
From the candidates there was discussion of regulations, funding, promoting wins, training, education, subsidised rent, even startup pitch competitions. There was talk of the things Council has been doing, its support of SouthStart, Startup Weekend and other related events.
Whilst we didn’t get to dive too deep due to time constraints, I was pleased with the outcome from the day. Startups is clearly on the radar and everyone knows it. I hope dearly that our Mayor and Councilors elected for the upcoming term continue to keep it on the agenda. It’s vital they do, otherwise we put at the risk the development of our growing startup ecosystem here in the city.
See the City Grill summary for links to the event report and other goings-on