Mission boosts local economy

Local businesses are forging new global partnerships and investment following our business mission to Japan and China in March.

An impressive group of delegates took part in the mission, which showcased Melbourne’s world-leading capabilities in health and life sciences, startups and innovation, sustainable urban design and general aviation.

‘Over 10 days we showcased 18 local businesses and hosted more than 300 business matching sessions,’ said Cr Kevin Louey, who led the mission.

‘The mission is one of the ways we’re helping businesses, including startups, grow and go global.

‘Through forging strong international connections over several years, we have also created a new Jiangsu-Victoria business incubator right here in Melbourne, adding global reach to our innovation ecosystem.’

‘The mission is one of the ways we’re helping businesses, including startups, grow and go global.’

Anna Burkey – Head of StartSpace at the State Library – was one of the mission delegates.

Opening in 18 months, StartSpace will offer early-stage entrepreneurs a free, dedicated workspace, with development programs to help them make their ideas a reality.

‘The connections that we made on the business mission were so valuable and I loved the strong focus on urban design and innovation,’ Anna said.

‘I think the mission was just the start of some really long-term partnerships – for individual delegates and our city as a whole.’

More than two million people visit the State Library each year. Many speak languages other than English and – contrary to popular belief – 80 per cent of library users are under 35.

StartSpace is a key part of major redevelopment works at the library and aims to capitalise on the diversity of its community.

‘The world is changing incredibly fast. Many traditional jobs are going to disappear and two thirds of young people report wanting to be self-employed,’ Anna said.

‘StartSpace will support people with the inkling of a good business idea and give them the confidence to enter the startup economy.

‘I’m particularly interested in how we can help women who have children find the time and space to set up businesses, and how we can help creative entrepreneurs harness technology and e-commerce.’

Through the unique insights and connections she gained on the business mission, Anna hopes to help promising startups shine on the world stage.

‘By planting the seeds and developing relationships now, when StartSpace entrepreneurs are ready to expand their businesses into overseas markets we can send them in the right direction.’

SISTER CITY MILESTONES

This year we celebrate 40 years of our sister-city relationship with Osaka. During the mission, we also unveiled a plaque honouring a ‘sister street’ relationship between Midosuji and Swanston streets.

It is also 20 years since we opened the Melbourne Office Tianjin, the only Australian local government business office in China. The office has since facilitated many business, cultural, educational and civic exchanges.

Find out more about our sister cities.

Anna is leading the development of a unique space for entrepreneurs at the State Library