The Showcase That Highlights The Amazing Innovators Of Canberra

On Wednesday, 6 December 2023, around 400 people from the local region’s innovation ecosystem flocked to Thoroughbred Park to celebrate 2023 and learn about the ideas pinning Canberra on the map as the City of Innovation.

From start to finish, the energy in the room was electric and contagious! Seeing the community come together and demonstrate the breadth, diversity and depth of innovation in the ACT was incredible. The event was one to remember as the biggest event in the Canberra Innovation Network’s history!

There was something for everyone. Attendees immersed themselves in the interactive and hands-on tradeshow, connected with trailblazing innovators and took on the role of judges in the thrilling pitch battle and creative poster competition.

32 interactive stalls from local companies, Gold Partner, KWM and CBRIN’s Foundation Members (ANU, UC, CIT, CSIRO & UNSW Canberra) filled the space showcasing world leading, life changing innovations. From velocity-based weightlifting, smart beehives and robots to decision making process management, a marketplace for bakers and skateboards made from recyclable materials, the diversity of innovation in Canberra was inspiring!

“The thing I enjoyed most about attending the Showcase was catching up with all the people I’ve met throughout the year, and seeing how happy and grateful they are with what the Canberra Innovation Network Eco-system has enabled them to achieve this year. But more so, seeing the confidence they have in the foundations they’ve built this year, and how this now becomes their platform from which they launch into 2024” said Brad Franzen, an attendee of the 2023 Innovation Showcase and CBRIN coworker.

But it wasn’t just about networking and activations. The main event was the high-intensity 90 second pitching competition where 10 entrepreneurs went head-to-head, highlighting how their innovation is Shaping Tomorrow Today. The stakes were high, with cash prizes up for grabs and the audience acting as the ultimate judges. Talk about fierce competition!

To begin the event, Chief Minister Andrew Barr addressed the room, speaking on the importance of innovation within Canberra and its correlation to economic growth, “It is the 33rd consecutive year of economic growth, which makes us a global leader. Which is why more people want to live here [in the ACT], and why this [the ACT] is a fantastic place to be an innovator, an entrepreneur, or to be setting up a new business”.

Genevieve Jacobs AM, lead journalist at Region Media, hosted the event, hyping up the crowd and introducing each pitcher, highlighting their involvement and impact in the innovation ecosystem.

The audience was tasked with the incredibly hard job of choosing which pitch they thought was the best. At this point, the room was buzzing with deliberation, with the pitchers waiting nervously for the result.

The votes were in… The time had come to crown the winners.

The winner of the 2023 Pitch Competition… Psyquility, an AI-driven software to help children with ADHD perform better in school.

In 2nd Place My Green Butler, the app revolutionising the sustainability of the hospitality industry (particularly hotels).

In 3rd Place Ainslie Urban Farm, which highlights the physical and mental health benefits of learning to grow food as a heart program.

While there were only 3 cash prizes, all 10 pitchers should be classified as winners with each pitcher taking the stage with confidence and humility, a testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship that all of Canberra can be proud of.

By registering, attendees could opt into the “Wild Card Pitch”, where someone would be chosen randomly to pitch what they are working on to the room. John Miller was selected and pitched his mission to drive fitness as the front line of primary health care. Great work, John!

Alongside the pitchers were the 12 finalists of the Poster Competition who displayed their projects in a colourful and creative way. Sylvie Chen from Music for Canberra (outlined in red below) was chosen as the winner.

The 2023 Innovation Showcase was a phenomenal success; the event highlighted Canberra’s incredible community of innovators enabled them to spark new connections, kick goals, turn ideas into reality, and change the world. The event was an incredible success because of the contribution and support of the Canberra innovation community.

A special thank you to the following people and organisations:

  • Thoroughbred Park
  • Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA
  • ACT Government

And of course … YOU, the Innovation Community.