End of Year Message from the CEO

Dear innovation community,

In my last year’s message, I speculated that 2020 had been the year we would never forget. At the brink of 2021, many of us believed we had already endured ‘the worst’ and that recovery would become the theme for 2021. COVID-19 vaccines were becoming available, and we were all ready to return to the ‘new normal’. At least unconsciously we were hopeful that things would begin to resemble what we knew, what we were familiar with. A future we could reliably plan for.

Well, 2021 brought us a different reality. But rather than lamenting and searching for the way things were before, we continued to learn how to embrace these new levels of uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, and volatility. We continued to experiment, to adapt and to convert adversity into new opportunities. While many people have had it tough and many have re-prioritised what they want from work and life, we have collectively improved on our entrepreneurial skills. The process of assumption, testing, learning (which we instinctively try to avoid as our brains brand it as ‘failure’), and adaptation is the fundamental building loop of innovation-led progress. From this perspective, 2021 was another year of massive innovation capacity building.

As the ‘great resignation’ looms over us, at the Canberra Innovation Network we believe this brings the opportunity of a ‘great entrepreneurial renaissance’. We believe that our clever, connected and creative city is one of the best places globally for innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe it is our role to create the best environment for entrepreneurial people to be empowered to build companies that can change our world for the better. In doing so, these entrepreneurs also create the jobs of the future. Jobs, that give people more meaning and more purpose because they enable impact in areas that will continue to matter in 2022 and beyond, such as the environment, sustainability, security, space, sustainable agriculture and food systems, health and wellbeing, and many other fields where faster progress is needed.

We have a huge responsibility for our current and future world. People in the ACT do recognise this responsibility and in CBRIN we are privileged to be meeting with and working with such people every day. There is a lot of hope, selflessness, and positivity in innovative entrepreneurship but there is also a lot of learning and difficult decisions to be made under constraints and imperfect conditions. It is through the courage, resilience, and drive of these people that we have impact as the Canberra Innovation Network. An impact that PwC estimates at 400 directly created innovation jobs and $100M added to the ACT economy in 2021. Needless to say that we are very proud of the impact we are enabling through innovative entrepreneurship in our wonderful city.

CBRIN is a collective effort of many. Championed by the ACT Government and our Foundation Members and Gold Partners, CBRIN brings together students, researchers, entrepreneurs, business owners, mentors, investors, advisors, social impact entrepreneurs and corporate intrapreneurs. The power of the network is in the collective momentum created by intensive interactions across the ever growing community of participants. For this, the network needs to be open, porous, value adding and inclusive. Our ambition is to be a world-leading example of what a bottom up, endogenous innovation ecosystem orchestration can achieve. And as a young and growing city, we are really only at the beginning of what we are capable of achieving.

At the brink of 2022, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed and who continues to be involved in all the different roles within our innovation ecosystem. As we sign off from another massive year, let me remind you that our entrepreneurs continue to need your wisdom, connections, advice, enthusiasm, energy, resources, and capital to progress even faster and achieve even more in 2022.

Thank you for your continued support and kind regards, Petr and the CBRIN team.