Southern Adelaide: Leading the way in entrepreneurship and innovation

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Adelaide’s south has become a world-leading centre for innovation and collaboration, attracting international attention, just three years into a major 20-year transformation project.  With the state’s dedication to growth, alongside quality higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET), Adelaide is set to tackle its high unemployment rates of 8%.

With a $4.8million GRP, Southern Adelaide is made up of industrious, hard-working people with a strong sense of community and environment.  Commercial activity ranges from small, local businesses to worldwide leading exporters.

The City of Onkaparinga, with its thriving economy, features highly adaptive small to medium metropolitan enterprises with wine, food and tourism underpinning its rural and coastal areas.

But it’s the emerging technology fields and entrepreneurship that is starting to gain attention from a worldwide audience including Flinders University – where the new Tonsley hub is located in the City of Marion.

A dedicated hub for innovation

With a focus on innovation, Tonsley brings vital research, development, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and academic expertise to the precinct.

The Flinders at Tonsley building houses the University’s School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, the Medical Device Research Institute, the Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology, Flinders Partners and the New Venture Institute.

Teaching 2,000 students per year, Tonsley is forecast to attract more than $1 billion in private investment through the attraction of businesses which will build new capabilities and create jobs.  Research at Tonsley will inject the latest science and technology into the development of goods and services for world markets.

Deputy Premier Mr John Rau sees Tonsley as critical in shaping South Australia’s economic future.

“Tonsley will also continue to attract new investors and an influx of students who will attend Flinders University and TAFE, bringing energy and vibrancy to the site.”

International collaboration and partnerships

Recently the New Venture Institute (NVI) facilitated a tour and panel for a delegation of 18 women from Mongolia and Indonesia, participating in a 12 week Fellowship program titled The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Women’s Leadership in Business, Trade and Economic Development.

The group visited the NVI and Tonsley Campus, to discuss their work in promoting partnerships between academia and the private sector and encouraging entrepreneurship.

Hearing from a panel of women including Leila Henderson as the inaugural NVI Fellow, Dr Anna Shillabeer Director of CISCO Academy and Wendy Perry, well connected entrepreneurs and workforce specialist, Anu Mundkur said,

“The group was so inspired by what they saw and hearing your views on how initiatives like NVI can boost entrepreneurship.  They were particularly excited about seeing women leading the charge as it were in male-dominated areas.”

Across the Town Square at Tonsley, a partnership between TAFE SA and India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is set to create significant economic impact for the state.

The National Skill Development Corporation India is a Public Private Partnership providing funding to enterprises, companies and organisations that provide skill training.

TAFE SA’s Chief Executive Mr Robin Murt also sees significant value ahead.

“The partnership would be a major economic benefit to TAFE SA and South Australia, and an ongoing value to industry, business and students and families on both continents.”

Entrepreneurship key to Southern Adelaide’s growth

With its strong industrial base, young local workforce, quick and easy access across Adelaide and affordable real estate, Southern Adelaide is an ideal location to study and launch a business.  Continuing down this path is critical in creating new opportunities, new jobs and a stronger economy.

If you’d like to talk about fostering entrepreneurship and workforce development strategies in your region, contact Wendy Perry via

October 2015


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