Visiting entrepreneur program, Sydney

Visiting entrepreneur program, Sydney

Supporting Sydney's tech ecosystem

Robert Hsiung, Nina Xiang and Lon Wong speak at a series of free tech events from 8 to 12 April 2019.

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Globalising Sydney's tech ecosystem

The visiting entrepreneur program brings high profile international entrepreneurs to Sydney twice a year to share their expertise and knowledge with the local tech startup community with a range of events, including talks, mentoring sessions and workshops.

This program is a key component of our tech startups action plan. The program is supported by funding from the Australian Government's program for entrepreneurs and its national innovation and science agenda.  


Alex Curtis
Program Manager, Visiting Entrepreneur Program
02 9265 9480

Past visiting entrepreneurs

The visiting entrepreneur program is one of the key projects under the City’s tech startups action plan. It is produced twice a year in June and November. Themes of past programs included artificial intelligence,technology for social good, product management and data security.

Past visiting entrepreneurs include:

Mark Brand Mark Brand is the CEO of Mark Brand Inc, founder of A Better Life Foundation, executive chef at The American Refugee Committee and professor of innovation at the University of Southern California. He is one of North America's foremost social entrepreneurs. With 11 businesses under his belt, he is an example of a new form of leadership that encompasses good in every step. Through his cooking, philanthropic efforts, systems design, and love for the community he's found a unique balance in business and purpose.
Matthew Brimer Matthew Brimer, co-founder of General Assembly, an entrepreneur, community builder and angel investor. General Assembly is a 21st century educational institution that has transformed the lives of people around the globe. He also co-founded Daybreaker, an international lifestyle brand that produces completely sober morning dance parties. He currently runs The Fund, a first-of-its kind early stage venture fund powered by a community of some of New York City’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Joseph Lubin Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, one of the largest and fastest-growing blockchain companies in the world. Before working on Ethereum, Lubin’s career focused on the intersection of cryptography, engineering and finance including his role as vice-president of technology in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs. Since joining Ethereum and ConsenSys, Lubin has become a leader in blockchain and the future of technology.
Liesl Yearsley Jager McConnell, CEO of Crunchbase, the leading platform used by millions of entrepreneurs and investors looking to discover innovative companies and the people behind them.
Jim Mckelvey Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Silicon Valley success story Square – a high-growth $20 billion fintech startup that revolutionised mobile payments for millions of small businesses. Jim is also the founder of LaunchCode, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis and a master glass artist and industrial designer. His work is featured at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. Jim most recently founded Invisibly, a startup aiming to give people control of their online identities.
Stephanie Hannon Stephanie Hannon, a product development and community building expert who has worked for Google, Facebook and Eventbrite. She was the first female Chief Technology Officer on a major presidential campaign – Hillary for America 2016. Stephanie is currently the chief product officer of Strava, a health and fitness startup inspiring a global community of millions of athletes.
Liesl Yearsley Liesl Yearsley, CEO and co-founder of A·kin, which is developing a new approach to general artificial intelligence to autonomously solve complex problems and form deep relationships with humans. Previously Liesl was founder and CEO of Cognea Artificial Intelligence, which was acquired by IBM and is now an integral part of Watson. 
Liesl Yearsley Marcus Segal, general partner at UpShift Capital and mentor at Google Launchpad, ex-partner of Y Combinator, one of Silicon Valley's leading accelerators and ex-senior vice-president of operations at Zynga, a global gaming platform.
Liesl Yearsley Vicki Saunders founder of SheEO and #radical generosity, a global initiative to radically transform how we support finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs. She has co-founded and run ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley and taken a company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Program highlights

The City and partner organisations have hosted over 50 events as part of the visiting entrepreneur program. Here are some of the highlights.

Event Highlights

Brand + Community masterclass

15 insights from Matthew Brimer, co-Founder of General Assembly and Daybreaker, about how to build strong communities as a core part of your brand.In collaboration with General Assembly, Incubate.

In collaboration with General Assembly and Incubate.

Watch video

From Success to Significance

Mark leads us through his journey as a chef-entrepreneur to a professor of innovation and how discovering his guiding principles led him from helping one man, to creating businesses built around those who struggle.

Watch video

How Blockchain will Transform the Future with Joseph Lubin and Mark Pesce

A live-to-audience interview with Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, and ‘godfather’ of the smart contract, tracing an arc from his college days at Princeton to founding blockchain venture studio ConsenSys.

In collaboration with University of Technology Sydney and ConsenSys.

Listen to podcast

Me, Myself and AI with Liesl Yearsley

A dynamic discussion around the future of AI and its moral impact. Find out what it looks like now and what needs to change.

In collaboration with Cicada Innovations and UTS.

  Watch video  

Democratising technology – Jim McKelvey on the Square revolution

At this CityTalks Sydney, Jim discusses the role of the consumer and the implications of greater participation in technological development.

   Watch video   

Technology for Social Good with Stephanie Hannon

Part of Vivid Sydney 2018, our discussion delves into technology’s potential to tackle global social problems and shape an inclusive future.

In collaboration with Remarkable and muru-D.

  Watch video  

Workshop: Introduction to Product Management

Stephanie Hannon’s best practice for product management with a focus on her broad expertise in building products, online communities and local activation.

In collaboration with The Warren Centre and Fishburners.

  Watch video  

Resilience – What I learnt from failure with Stephanie Hannon

Stephanie shared her learnings from Google Wave (before it crashed), the Strava heatmap crisis in Afghanistan and one of the most highly publicised losses of 2016 – the Hillary for America presidential campaign.

In collaboration with Sydney School of  Entrepreneurship.
Photo highlights

The Future is Female at Customs House

Vicki Saunders was joined by a panel of entrepreneurial trailblazers, including Jo Burston, Dr Chelsea Wise and Naomi Simson, to explore what's working for women entrepreneurs and what needs to change.

  Watch highlights  

Thank you to our event partners

The visiting entrepreneur program is produced by the City of Sydney in collaboration with partner organisations from the local startup ecosystem.

Event partners: Australia India Business Council, Charles Sturt University, Cicada Innovations, ConsenSys, Fishburners, Food I Am, General Assembly, HiveMind, Hoist, Incubate, Investible, Juanita Nielson Centre, KPMG, Maas, Microsoft, muru-D, Right Click Capital, StartupAus, StartSomeGood, Spark Festival, SheEO, StartCon, Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, Sydney Startup Hub, TechSydney, Textbook Ventures, The Virangana Project, Tyro, UTS, Zambesi

Support partners: Airtree, Blackbird Ventures, Blue Chili, Cryptonomics, EduGrowth, Haymarket HQ, Heads Over Heels, Incubate, Innotribe, Jobs for NSW, IDX, Macquarie University, Remarkable, SBE Australia, Stone & Chalk, The Studio, Tank Stream Labs, Tech Ready Women, Tranby, University of Sydney, UNSW Founders Programs

Australian Government. Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Business Entrepreneurs' Programme. Australian Government. National Innovation and Science Agenda. 


Last updated: Monday, 25 February 2019