Ever wanted to meet one of Canberra’s best female innovators? Now you can

It’s the final event of the year—and after months of listening to passionate change-makers who do incredible things on the local stage, there’s one female innovator left you still need to meet at the Canberra Innovation Network.

And as the CBRIN Chair, founder of her own consulting business GiG Enterprises (and the holder of an impressive resume that includes previous senior executive roles with IBM and Microsoft), you can see why Hala Batainah is a standout among the business community in Canberra.

Coming to Canberra from Jordan in the 1990s, her experience in the industry spans decades—and on Tuesday 15 November, Hala will sit down with the Canberra Innovation Network’s CEO, Petr Adamek, to discuss her experiences as a woman in technology, business, and innovation.

Exploring the importance of fresh perspectives and change in innovation, HerCanberra caught up with Hala before the final CBRIN end-of-year event to learn more about one of our best female innovators and why she loves Canberra so much.

How did you come to Canberra and what were your first thoughts of the city?

I came to Canberra from the USA after graduating from university. My father was a diplomat, and I came to visit—it was supposed to be a quick visit! This was in 1990, and Canberra was a quiet city.

What have you seen in the last decade—how has the city changed?

There is a great scene in Canberra—great food, fantastic events, and an entrepreneurial spirit that is demonstrated in many different aspects of making our city the most liveable city in the world. I have seen an explosion of existing and new entrepreneurs taking advantage of the unique value of Canberra.

I love Canberra—it is a remarkable city that combines governments, industry, research, and not-for-profits. This combines to bring people and ideas together in a space and place that I find invigorating. It’s not a coincidence that it’s the meeting place. COVID made me appreciate Canberra even more.

What is the importance of change in the field of innovation?

Change is critical—ideas, people’s needs, and the environment constantly change, so we must adapt to meet the new demands and opportunities. Innovation, by definition, is change and transformation.

As the CBRIN Chair, have you seen more female entrepreneurs coming up in Canberra?

Yes. And not enough!

What has your experience been like as a woman in technology, business, and innovation?

It’s been fantastic! I feel very fortunate, and I am grateful for the opportunities that living in Canberra has allowed me. It’s never been a better time to be a woman in technology, business, and innovation— the world is looking for new ideas and approaches. I believe women bring a different lived-in experience that is super valuable.

What do you see in Canberra’s future?

I see a city that all Australians can be proud of and hold up as an example of a progressive, future-focused city that values health and well-being. Moving around the city is critical in the short term, so transportation infrastructure and expansion of different capabilities are fundamental.

What do we need to do to keep innovators and entrepreneurs in the capital?

We spend a lot of time at CBRIN addressing this challenge. We need to ensure entrepreneurs continue to have access to markets—a business without clients is not a business. Access to funding, people, and expertise is critical. No business can strive in isolation, and Canberra’s network is critical to success. Ideas matter and having a place and space that allows us to explore ideas and make them happen will be even more critical for the future of Canberra.

Article originally posted by HerCanberra and written by Erin Cross.

Make sure to get your tickets now and celebrate the final Female Founders event of the year!