|In the midst of a lot of paper work there have been moments of relief. Morning tea with Minister Payne who was here to recognise and celebrate the brilliant work UNE does with ACIAR around international leadership and development. The opportunity to gather (safely) on the Booloominbah lawns was something of a treat.
Time spent with business leaders from across NSW discussing innovation models to underpin economic recovery was both fruitful and enlightening. The recognition of the role universities could and should play in economic recovery and growth is very much in focus now. The opportunity to talk about the UNE Tamworth model as one exemplar of how it might be done going forward proved useful. The fact that we can also demonstrate significant impactful contributions through UNE Armidale and our much lauded CRC programs and related effort was another valuable point of reference.
nbn.co and the UNE SRI invited me to join their Steps2Grow pitch night – this proved to be a real highlight of the week. Listening to the young entrepreneurs who have progressed their ideas over the past weeks was so uplifting. More so because instead of focusing on technology and widgets, they more often sought to address social inequities created through disability, mental health issues, access and the various challenges of equitable social engagement. Another common theme was the creation of a small business that addressed individual needs without losing sight of the requirement to understand wider market opportunity. The commitment of nbn.co and the contributions of their staff as mentors and advisors over the lifetime of the program demands a shout out too.