Sydney Innovation Festival

Join us on Thursday 26 October to connect, explore and become the next generation of innovators

The Sydney Innovation Festival inspires and empowers students by showcasing innovation opportunities through educational talks by thought leaders and successful entrepreneurs, immersive booths, and a range of other engaging activities.

Sydney Innovation Festival 2023

Panel 1: Digital meets Arts 

Tell imposter syndrome to take a day off! Join TV Presenter and STEM+ communicator, Lee Constable, to find out how (and why!) creatives are embracing digital tools and spaces... You will not only get inspired by the speakers but also find out more about opportunities for you to explore your “digital meets arts” skills and ideas here at the University of Sydney.


  • Kirsty McCahon, Musician and Strategic Relations Manager, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
  • Dr Evelyn Ng, Digital Business Innovation Lecturer, University of Sydney
  • Nick Atkins, Theatre Maker and Producer, Operated Coin

Panel 2 Want a career in sustainability?

The climate crisis is a social, environmental, political, and economic problem, not just a scientific one. 

Join Lee Constable, TV presenter and STEM+ communicator, in conversation with professionals working across government, consulting firms, startups, and the fashion sector. You will find out more about pursing a meaningful career in sustainability, no matter your discipline or background!


  • Dr Mark Lui, Fashion Designer and Founder, Fashion is Science
  • Dr Ellery Johnson, Senior Environmental Reporting Officer, Environmental Protection Authority
  • Ada Zeng, Alumnus and Environmental Planner and Scientist, Jacobs
  • Raveen Senanayake, Alumnus and Founder, Everyday Zero

Panel 3: Innovate your career path

Overwhelmed by your career options? Feeling boxed in by conventional career paths? There are practical steps you can take before graduating to overcome these challenges! 

Join TV presenter, Lee Constable, as she discusses first hand experiences from students who've broken conventions before graduating, and talks through practical advice with a recruiter and a philosophy expert. 


  • Dr Laura Kotevska, Lecturer, University of Sydney
  • Sophie Pereyra Bowdler, Student and Founder, Santi and Me
  • Samuel Aubin, Student and Co-Founder and CTO, AgX
  • Donna Thewarapperuma, Team Leader, Randstad
  • Daniel Lucas, Student and Associate, Vale

Sydney Innovation Festival 2022

Ever wondered what it's like to work in a startup? Or, where you could talk to people who are in startups and get more information? Now's your chance! Join Adam & Sachin as they dive into the Sydney innovation ecosystem with innovators from Canva, Reddit and Atlassian. 

  • Lachlan Andrews (Head of Corporate Communications, Canva)
  • Theodora Burgess (Head of Community, Reddit)
  • Jessica Norris (Design Enablement, Atlassian)

Watch the Startup Networks & Culture with Adam & Sachin Podcast on YouTube on-demand.

We all read about the big success stories, but what about when things go wrong? Hear the lessons learned from Australia's most honest founders. 

  • Imogen Barwick (Senior Stakeholder Engagement, University of Sydney)
  • James Edwards (Founder of PetCircle)
  • Jen Andre (co-founder of Kitchko)

Imagine going through the grinding work of building a startup from scratch, with blood, sweat and tears. You finally make it sustainable and a success only to decide that you want to go through all of that AGAIN. We take a look at some of the University's most successful founders and ask them why they have chosen to start again at step 1. 

  • Adam Jacobs (co-founder of the ICONIC & Hatch)
  • Jessica Kiely (founder of Frank & SENSOR.I.AM)
  • Farid Mirmohensi (founder of WipeHero and INCUBATE alumni)

Watch Round 2: Insights from Repeat Founders on-demand. 

It is certain that we must reach a net zero future. So, what investments, policies and innovations are key to a sustainable future? Find out with Investible's Ben Lindsay, former INCUBATE and Mark Rowland, Chief Collaboration Officer at Greenhouse. 

Melissa Wu talks about innovation and the overlaps between owning her own business and excelling as an Olympic athlete.

Sydney Innovation Festival 2021

Founder Talks: Fireside Chat with Judd Katz, Co-founder of Refundid

Founder Talks

Curious about how a startup can go from an idea to closing a successful multi-million dollar raise in under a year? Hear the story of Refundid, the latest Australian Fintech startup to do just that.

  • Benjamin Lindsay, Program Manager, INCUBATE
  • Judd Katz, Co-Founder of Refundid

Watch Founder Talks on YouTube

Innovation for students, by students

Innovation for students, by students

What is it like to work in a startup? Ask a student. How can I be involved in a startup society? Ask a student. What stories can we learn from Australia’s best innovators? Ask a student! This panel consists of recent graduates, and students involved in innovation across the University.

  • Matilda Langford, University of Sydney Student Ambassador
  • Audrey Thehamilhardja, Canva graduate
  • Muskan Jain, Enactus President
  • Rishabh Jain, SUSMI President
  • Adam Miller, The Sachin and Adam Show

Watch Innovation for students, by students on YouTube

Your FASS skills are exactly what startups and tech companies are looking for

Utilise your FASS skills in the startup world. Find out how unique skills add value from University of Sydney FASS alumni Matthew Bright. All students are welcome, but specifically targeted to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

  • Zara Seidler, Co-Founder of the Daily Aus
  • Matthew Bright, Business Development Lead, Zip Business, at Zip Co.
  • Valeria Peretokina, Learning Designer at Practera

New Multidisciplinary Major/Minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The University of Sydney is launching the brand-new  Multidisciplinary Major/Minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Come along to this session to find out what this new major offers and how it will set you up for your future career.

  • Bernard Resch, Lecturer in Creativity, Innovation and Business, (Moderator) 
  • Steven Maguire, Professor of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the University of Sydney Business School
  • Paul Finn, Lecturer with the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation for Planet Earth

Innovation for Planet Earth

What role does innovation play in reaching Australia’s sustainability targets, whether it be pollution, recycling, or emissions? And how can we, as budding innovators, assist?

  • Lucy Lin, Founder of Forestlyn; a consultancy for AI, data and blockchain companies
  • Mike Boyle, Australia and New Zealand Managing Director for HP Inc
  • Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation 2020 winner
  • Jesse Suskin, Head of Government Relations at Google’s Wing

Watch Innovation for Planet Earth on YouTube

Your Wellbeing Innovated

Your Wellbeing Innovated

Lockdown restrictions have plagued individuals with countless issues, including isolation, burnout, and loss of connection. So how can we better manage our wellbeing through innovation?

  • Natasha Munasinghe, Director of Franked.io 
  • Nicolas Brown, Batyr CEO
  • Danielle Owen Whitford, CEO of Pioneer & Genesis Winner 2021
  • Adam Spencer, MC, mathematician and comedian

Watch Your Wellbeing Innovated on YouTube

It all starts with an idea: learn the art of startup ideation!

How did Afterpay even come up with the idea of Afterpay? Having an idea is the first step of the journey for all startups. In this rapid and interactive workshop learn how you can start generating your own ideas to explore!

  • Nina Juhl, Community Manager, INCUBATE
  • Alex Carpenter, Program Manager, Genesis

Thinking commercially about your research

An introduction to the considerations that research entrepreneurs should have during their research and for after they realise they have an invention.

  • Rupal Ismin, Director of Sydney Knowledge Hub
  • Associate Professor Ali Abbas, Director of Waste Transformation Research Hub
  • Dr Mobin Nomvar, Co-founder and CEO Scimita Ventures

Keynote Panel - What is a Startup and why should Australia make more?

What is a startup and why should Australia make more?

This keynote panel explores the Australian startup ecosystem, from its culture to incubators and funding opportunities and discusses what should be done to improve this journey for all.

  • Fenella Kernebone, Head of programming, Sydney Ideas (Moderator)
  • Lachlan Andrews, Global Communications Lead, Canva
  • Livia Wang, Co-Founder and CMO of Access Corporate Group
  • Lee Hatton, Executive Vice President, Afterpay
  • Amy Glancey, Chief of Staff, Atlassian

Watch What is a startup and why should Australia make more? on YouTube. 

Interview with Melissa Wu

Melissa Wu tells us about her experience as a business owner and Olympic Athlete. Watch now on YouTube

Sydney Innovation Festival 2020

What exactly is innovation and how is it defined in the Australian context? Is it taboo to be an entrepreneur or has that changed? Finally, how can innovation unlock technologies to solve society’s greatest problems?

  • The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia,
  • Professor Hala Zreiqat AM, Biomedical Engineering, Director ARC Training Centre for Innovative Bioengineering, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, The University of Sydney and Eureka Prize Winner for Innovative Use of Technology (2019)
  • Adam Spencer (session moderator), Author, Comedian and Maths Geek
  • Elysse Morgan, Host, ABC's The Business

Watch the Keynote Panel on YouTube

COVID-19 has plagued businesses with countless issues, so how can we use it to our advantage? From finding people meaningful work, the changing city heartbeat, and individual mindsets, this panel with show you how thought-leaders are thriving in 2020.

Watch Crisis or Opportunity? on YouTube

What type of skills, talents and attributes are innovators looking for and what is the workplace like in 2020? This panel will highlight how you can bring an innovative mindset to any workplace.

Watch Working in Innovation Post-COVID on YouTube

So now you like innovation? Well find out how you can get involved! From first years to in-depth research students, there is a place for you in innovation at the University.

Watch University Opportunities on YouTube