Hon. Matt Kean

Matt Kean is Hornsby Shire born and bred. From Wahroonga where he was born, to Pennant Hills where he bought his first home, to Hornsby Mall where he has his office, Matt is a true-blue local.

In 2011, Matt became the youngest member of the NSW Legislative Assembly when he was elected Member for Hornsby. Within a year, he was elected to chair the NSW Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General. Under his stewardship, the committee recommended radical changes to the system of land valuation in NSW to make it fairer for home owners. On January 30, 2017 Matt was elevated to the NSW Cabinet as the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation. Matt has always seen himself as a champion of the little guy and this role gives him an opportunity to put this passion into practice in his electorate and across the state. As minister, he is responsible for a diverse range of issues with a portfolio that includes consumer protection, workplace safety, and innovation.

So far, he has:

  • reformed the laws around gift cards to ensure a minimum three-year expiry date
  • attacked ticket scalpers with new laws to smash their dodgy business models
  • commissioned Kathryn Greiner to conduct an extensive review into retirement villages to improve the quality of life for their residents
  • initiated the Bergin Report into charitable fundraising, to ensure people can have confidence about their donations
  • tackled quad bike safety issues with a raft of reforms to reduce deaths and injuries

As a keen promoter of innovative technology and its power to improve the economy, Matt is committed to highlighting the ways innovative technology and thinking can improve quality of life, as well as the NSW economy.

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Petra Andrèn

Petra Andrén is CEO of Cicada Innovations, Australia’s only “super incubator” providing long-term business support to Australia’s largest collection of 70+ advanced technology entrepreneurs across the medical, engineering, and IT web sciences.

 Petra is an ambassador for global non-profit, InBIA, working with sustainable entrepreneur support programs in every industry and demographic around the globe. She lectures on entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, and the Australian National University.


Dr David Ireland

Dr David Ireland has over 15 years of experience in advising, starting, and leading innovative companies and programs. David’s entrepreneurial and innovation experience ranges from bench scientist, to startup founder, consultant, innovation systems policy, investor, and international development practitioner. David is recognised as a leading entrepreneur and innovation specialist, receiving a 2018 Fulbright Fellowship and in 2015 was cited as one of the world’s top 50 most talented social entrepreneurs. David has started some successful businesses, learned from a few that failed, and is regularly invited to design and run global entrepreneurship and innovation accelerators and competitions and to present on innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and foresighting. David, an adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland, has also published widely in these fields.

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Dr Brad McCusker

Brad has a background as an accountant, enterprise architect, ICT consultant, and ontologist. Before co-founding SURROUND Australia Pty Ltd, he worked as a senior enterprise architect with Accenture, IBM Global Services, IBM Business Consulting Group, IBM Japan, and CSC Australia. Brad has also worked in various senior architectural and consulting roles with ING Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Bank, the Department of Health, the Australian Treasury, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Human Services. Brad is a TOGAF-certified practising Enterprise Architect. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2014 from the Australian National University, on the subject of Optimising End-State Architectures. Brad is a visiting fellow at the ANU.


Dr Cathy Foley

Dr Cathy Foley, Deputy and Science Director of CSIRO Manufacturing, has made distinguished contributions to the understanding of superconducting materials and to the development of devices using superconductors to detect magnetic fields and locate valuable deposits of minerals. 

Dr Foley has made significant contributions to the scientific community as president of several scientific societies and as a member of committees such as PMSEIC giving advice to Government on scientific and technological matters.  Cathy was awarded the `Woman of the Year’ by the NSW Government in 2013 and the International IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity 2014. In 2015 was awarded the Clunies Ross Medal of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering and in 2016 the Australian Institute of Physics  Medal for Outstanding Service to Physics.

As a leader in CSIRO Manufacturing, Cathy is working to help existing Australian manufacturers to transform to be globally competitive by engaging with Australian researchers and to build new companies to assist with the translation of research for economic prosperity.


Peter Dubiez

Peter is the founder and CEO of Enviro Frontier. In 2013 Peter saw a better way to manage tree works; from that idea “Tree Manager” was developed. Enviro Frontier along with Tree Manager is now the leading system for project management and data information on trees to the insurance industry. Enviro Frontier has grown from operating a single tree crew to today managing over a hundred crew’s throughout the country. In the past years “Tree Manager” has assisted Enviro Frontier deliver its service across all of Australia and New Zealand. In 2016 in collaboration with UTS; Enviro Frontier developed and released “Tree Manager2”; an advanced analytical, communication and management system for the tree industry.


RDA Sydney

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Sydney is a not for profit organisation established in 2009 as part of a network of RDAs around Australia. Currently, RDA Sydney receives funding from the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.

Under a new national charter for RDAs announced by the Australian Government in 2017, RDA Sydney has a focus on facilitating economic development and jobs growth in the Sydney Region, with a vision of a greater diversity of jobs closer to home. We work in partnership with business, community, the higher education/research sector and government to realise this vision.

RDA Sydney currently has strategic industry projects in the agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defence sectors as well as initiatives to inform and support SMEs across Sydney in their export efforts.

As part of a national network and, in particular, a State-wide network of 13 RDAs, RDA Sydney is able to collaborate with and draw on the expertise of RDAs in both non-metro and metro areas. This is particularly useful in the context of connecting external investors with key stakeholders and raising awareness of potential business opportunities across regions. 

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Danielle Neale

Danielle has been starting, leading and advising successful businesses and innovative programs for nearly 20 years. Her entrepreneurial and innovation experience ranges from startup founder to coach, mentor, consultant, advisor, advocate and board member. She has represented Australia at the G20 Summit, been a Finalist for Women in Technology’s Entrepreneur of the Year, championed the iAwards Young Innovator as the Chief Judge and led innovative, state government initiatives. As the Entrepreneur in Residence at UNSW Engineering, Danielle is inspiring, empowering and motivating academics and students, and working collaboratively with industry and government to drive innovation and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Dr Martin Tomitsch

Dr Martin Tomitsch is Associate Professor and Chair of Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, where he leads the Design Lab and teaches interaction and user experience design. His research focuses on the role of design for shaping the interactions between people and technology. He is co-founder of the Austrian Network for Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D.at) and the global Media Architecture Institute (mediaarchitecture.org), and holds adjunct positions at the Vienna University of Technology and the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts. His most recent book publication, Design Think Make Break Repeat (published by BIS), which he co-authored with his colleagues in the Design Lab, brings together 60 design methods for innovating products, services, and systems.

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Barbara Albert


Barbara is a co-founder and director of 100% Renewables Pty Ltd. Barbara is a consultant, educator, speaker, and the author of ‘Energy Unlimited – Four Steps to 100% Renewable Energy’. She works with businesses and governments on their sustainability strategy and specialises in helping organisations with their journey to renewables or zero carbon.

Barbara holds a Master’s degree in Commerce from the University for Business Administration and Economics in Vienna, Austria, and also studied at New York University’s Stern School of Business. She is certified in GRI sustainability reporting and hold several Certificate IVs in Carbon Management, TAA, TAE, as well as in Environmental Management and Sustainability.


Zahra Shahbazian

Zahra Shahbazian joined the University of Wollongong Advantage SME team to connect innovative local businesses with UOW researchers. Zahra has a B.Eng and M.Sc in Computer Aided Mechanical Manufacturing. Since migrating from Ireland to the Illawarra, Zahra has worked at several engineering and manufacturing companies in the region. Within each of these roles she was instrumental in the establishment of new manufacturing processes taking advantage of some of the latest advances in manufacturing technology. Zahra's professional experience combined with her thorough understanding of Advanced technologies and current research capabilities has led to securing many grants from Local and Federal government for NSW SMEs. 

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Professor Ghassan Beydoun

Ghassan Beydoun is the Deputy Head of the School of Systems, Management and Leadership (Research) at UTS. His principal area of research interest is modelling focussing on development methodologies for distributed intelligent systems and decision support systems. His research is funded by the Australian Research Council and a number of industry collaborators, focussing on a decision making applications including: disaster management, supply chain management, health policies, learning systems and cloud computing. 


Jenny Rolfe-Wallace

Jenny has worked in the financial services and education industries since 1999 in various roles that have enabled her to build expertise in the areas of financial literacy and capability, training and assessment, strategic financial planning, ethics, compliance, community engagement and development.  In 2018, Jenny founded Sprout Education Group (#Sprout_Ed) with the vision of developing innovative, best-practice and research-driven approaches which support Australians to build their financial knowledge and confidence, to feel empowered about making good financial decisions and create a sense of financial wellbeing. In achieving this vision, #Sprout_Ed provides consumer education programs, workplace training, and professional development workshops, as well as engaging in research and advocacy work.

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All photography provided by Jared Chambers

Since 1950, we have led the effort to permanently protect nearly 110 million acres of wilderness. We have been at the forefront of nearly every major public lands victory.


Our Mission

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Bedford has helped accomplish over 200 of its partners’ major conservation goals. They inspire everyone to care for the planet.
— John Smith, Nature Conservancy Magazine

What We've Achieved

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Dave Rankine

Dave has been a story-teller his entire life. From his Year 6 creative writing victory at Excelsior Public School in 1982 to his present day career as owner and publisher of Bathurst City Life – writing has been in his blood. As a small business owner and editor, the ability to successfully write, plan and publish a weekly news magazine may be one thing – but the skills to run a successful business in an industry believed to be in decline was certainly something else. Enter CenWest Innovate in 2017. With a genuine connectedness to its business community and a class of highly motivated business owners from across the Central West – Dave and his wife Cath saw the program as a perfect fit for their business. A year later, and with a 76% per cent increase in profits, an 80% increase in circulation and a 50% reduction in Dave’s work hours – the proof has certainly been in the pudding. Giving him more time to do the things he loves – mountain biking with his kids.