Activating an innovation district through local and global networking

How to connect innovators to make things happen: by bringing 300+ people together weekly - promise them a good time, a few drinks, more than a few serendipitous catch-ups and the opportunity to learn something new

Margaret Hudson
Macquarie Park Innovation District / Macquarie University

Background and objectives of the case
Sitting in a region rich in economic and physical assets, the Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID) has faced challenges in regularly and meaningfully convening the community. However, Macquarie University and MPID being bold, innovative and unconstrained by tradition, have taken a pioneering approach to address this situation by breaking new ground with Australia’s first partnership with Venture Café Global Institute (VCGI). This strategic partnership will see the introduction of the required networking assets to galvanise MPID as a local and global innovation district leader.

Venture Café is a fast-growing, global network of independent organisations with a shared global mission; ‘connecting innovators to make things happen’. They currently operate in Boston, St Louis, Miami, Cambridge (USA), Winston-Salem, Rotterdam and Tokyo and have plans to open more sites in Asia, Europe and Australia within two years. Each café offers high-touch programming, collaborative spaces, storytelling, and broad innovation engagement, through three core programs, adapted to each location. At its core, Venture Café will provide the means to connect, uncover and link the various parts of the MPID ecosystem by amplifying the work of partners and by regularly convening the community.

Venture Café Sydney is due to launch in February 2019 in the heart of Macquarie Park. Venture Café Sydney will form the connective tissue needed to enable tighter collaboration between all levels of government, business, researchers and start-ups - Venture Café Sydney will provide this.