The spirit of innovation was well and truly alive at the launch of the Western Australian Innovator of the Year (WAIOTY) 2023 Program at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday 2 May.
Officially opened by the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, Western Australian Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy, the program has showcased Western Australia’s innovative and entrepreneurial individuals, businesses and creative minds since 2006.
Among the guests attending the breakfast launch was WA Chief Scientist Profesor Peter Klinken AC, Shadow Minister for Innovation and ICT Dr David Honey MLA, and Linda Dawson, the Deputy Director General of Industry, Science and Innovation at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.
Also present was Rio Tinto Manager of Innovation Neil Freeman, representing Rio Tinto as the primary sponsor of WA Innovator of the Year 2023 program.
The Welcome to Country was delivered by Robyn Collard, a Yungar Yorga woman from the Whadjuk and Ballardong groups.
2022 Innovator of the Year Overall Winner Kate Lewkowski spoke to the crowd about the benefits of participating in the prestigious program last year and what innovation in WA means to her.
Her speech was followed by Minderoo Foundation Head of Indigenous Entrepreneurship Leslie Delaforce who spoke about the programs and initiatives nurturing Indigenous innovation across Western Australia.
Continuing the innovation conversation was a panel featuring Mat Lewis of the Bunbury-based Creative Tech Village, Brigette McDowell of Cheeditha Energy, Alan Bradley of Pollinators, and principal policy advisor of the innovation team at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, Rebecca Davidson.
The panel discussed the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape across regional Western Australia, including the special challenges facing local innovators and the advantages the WA Innovator of the Year program is able to provide regional innovators.
"The WA Innovator of the Year awards are a great platform for the State's brightest technology minds to transform an idea into a real business,” said Minister Dawson.
“This is an exciting opportunity that can help nurture and showcase the best innovation across WA and I strongly encourage applications for this rewarding program.”
To find out more about the Innovator of the Year 2023 program or how to apply, visit the WA Innovator of the Year webpage.