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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - Consular Corps

Our beautiful city recently hosted a distinguished group of international guests when the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) brought senior representatives from the Melbourne Consular Corps to Geelong. This was part of their Innovation in Victoria tour, which showcased Melbourne and Victoria as an entrepreneurial hub in global innovation.

Our region highlighted its innovations in future fibres, carbon composites and virtual reality. The tour focussed on the commercialisation of innovative research, as well investment in education to support innovation and entrepreneurship to transform regions into innovation hubs.

The Committee for Geelong was privileged to meet the group which included the Consuls General and Honorary Consuls from countries including Botswana, Chile, Croatia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Malawi, Malta, Mongolia, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, among others.

A range of local organisations were also involved with the visit including Deakin University, G21 Geelong Region Alliance, Up-start, ICT Geelong, Enterprise Monkey, Pundit Connect and Tribal Campus.  However, one little known local organisation, VidVersity, piqued the interest of the Consular Corps. VidVersity, an online platform that makes it simple for educators to create and deliver highly effective video based online learning, is located right here in Geelong.  Founded by Simon Quirk and Natalie Wieland, VidVersity was established to address a market gap that currently makes it too complex, time consuming and expensive to create effective online learning.

Simon and Natalie have discovered that Geelong is a great place to support VidVersity's growth.  In presenting to the group, Simon advised that while he recently moved from Melbourne to Geelong, Natalie still lives in Melbourne. However, "we realise that Geelong is the right place to grow VidVersity. It's much more supportive than Melbourne, people and institutions go out of their way to help you. Geelong's big enough to support our early growth but of a size that people really want to see you succeed. And a range of organisations are working together to create an absolutely first class ecosystem for start-ups, such as the Runway Geelong initiative."

Simon also told the group that he believes Geelong will become known as a major hub for education technology, "there is already a history of success in education technology in Geelong such as Tribal Campus, Callista and Timetable and in educrowd, backed by Nick Stanley, we have found a group with the same bold vision as us. Like us, educrowd, wants to democratise online learning on a global level. It's a big but very important goal and, working together with educrowd and in the Geelong ecosystem, we will make it happen."

Following its visit to Geelong, DFAT will provide a report and video to the Corps, highlighting the key messages of the tour, including key innovations and soundbites of innovation leaders from our region, for the Corps to take back to their respective countries.  As Geelong transforms, it is vital that our city hosts these types of delegations thereby ensuring our region's capabilities are promoted on the global stage.

Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.





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