Why is Now the Time to Invest in Taking Sister Cities Relationships to the Next Level – AUKUS for one and 40 year celebration for two

Timing is right to utilise the connections between South Australia, the UK and USA via sister cities, and with AUKUS strategies related to infrastructure, workforce and industry, investing time, energy and resources is ripe for a massive multiplier return now.

Appreciate that in practical terms it has taken Workforce BluePrint over 7 years since 2015 to develop connections and linkages leveraging the sister city relationship between Adelaide, South Australia and Austin, Texas, with the most recent collaborative activity being the Austin, Texas x Adelaide, Australia – Sister City Meetup – EOI Follow Up, SXSW @Australia House in March 2023.  This event has built massive traction for the relationship and areas for collaboration between SA and TX have been identified including:

  • Agriculture/Agtech
  • Circular economy/environment
  • Climate change
  • Clean energy/Hydrogen
  • Corporate innovation
  • Defence/space
  • Disability
  • Economic and regional development
  • Education – School, Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education/Universities
  • Entertainment, Film and Gaming
  • Entrepreneurship, ecosystem development/startups/scaleups
  • Food
  • Health/Biotech
  • Housing (social, homelessness); Community First Austin; Mobile Loaves and Fishes; tiny houses
  • Mining and Resources
  • Music
  • Sister City Relationships – Austin, Adelaide and all sisters
  • Social impact and UNSDG alignment
  • South Australia and Texas
  • SXSW – Austin, Adelaide and Sydney (for 2023)
  • Tourism experiences – health, nature, wellness, bookable experiences
  • Venture capital and funding
  • Wine, beer, spirits

And with the relationship turning 40 this year it goes back a long way but what happens when you know about it versus not, how can this connection make a difference?

Adelaide – Austin Sister City Relationship was the topic of a blog post in 2019, but the first time to SXSW was in 2015 – read about the experience here.  Back in March 2015 we went to SXSW for the first time and I was a panel member at a SXSW Meet n Greet Adelaide, hosted by Tech Ranch and NVI Flinders University - read more here> Take your business to the world (January 2016).

Then the next year, the awareness level of the sister city connections was raised being front of mind, for example in 2016, Premier Jay Weatherill promoted South Australian businesses, entrepreneurs and startups during SXSW and Jay launched the Global Workforce Architects Program, plus read this blog on Workforce Planning from Adelaide, South Australia to Austin, Texas.

Ready for SXSW 2016 I wrote this blog, where Aussie Entrepreneurs and Startups land in the USA and pitch at SXSW, then in 2017 learning about Human connections enhanced by gamification, blockchain, podcasting, space, self-driving cars and bots at SXSW17.  Another blog post related to Smart cities, internet origins, gig economy, Artificial Intelligence, new jobs and the future of work at SXSW 2017.

In 2017, MD Wendy Perry wrote about how sister city partnerships can play a new role in the global economy.  Two ‘sisters’ Adelaide (South Australia) and Austin (Texas) are a perfect example of how collaboration can help develop both local economies – piggybacking off each other’s strengths – check out this blog.  Then read, We’re All in this Together at SXSW 2018 (i.e. flying cars!!) and Why go to SXSW? Share in the experience and 6 quick tips for 2019.

With an interest in sister city relationships, these blogs were published over the years:

Western Adelaide Sister Cities

George Town in Malaysia & Adelaide – ‘second’ start-up cities

Dynamic growth of Smart Cities – what are the effects on the workforce?

And the connection between Adelaide and Christchurch, New Zealand has much potential on arts, building and construction, education and workforce, entertainment, food and beverages, tech and startups.

When Entrepreneurs and Innovators Take the Lead

By way of background, sister city relationships can facilitate trade, investment, and tourism between the two or more cities, creating economic opportunities for businesses and individuals in both places.  These relationships can foster student exchange programs, language learning opportunities, and academic collaborations between universities and schools in the two cities.

Entrepreneurs and innovators, economic development practitioners and creators, have the potential to bring fresh ideas and approaches to sister city relationships, for example:

  • Using technology to enhance the communication and collaboration between sister cities. For example, they might develop a platform that connects local businesses, startups, scaleups, government, education and founders in both cities, allowing for easier information sharing and collaboration.
  • Identifying new opportunities for businesses in sister cities to collaborate, such as developing joint ventures or exchanging expertise in industry sectors such as agriculture/AgTech, climate change, energy and tourism, leading to new job creation, customers, collaboration and economic growth in both cities.
  • By sharing knowledge and resources, entrepreneurs and innovators in sister cities can foster innovation and entrepreneurship across ecosystems with a focus on economic and regional development. This might involve developing joint research projects, hosting startup incubators and delegations, events, and festivals such as SXSW or sharing expertise in new technologies. Working together to promote sustainable development in sister cities, such as developing renewable energy projects or promoting eco-tourism initiatives, local food and beverages.

When you encourage entrepreneurs and innovators, innovators and not for profits to engage with local communities and supporters to reimagine the sister city relationship, this brings new energy and ideas to sister city relationships, for example the experience from Adelaide in South Australia and Austin in Texas, USA, which could be applied to any sister city relationships.  On that point, South Australian councils have many sister city connections with Texas, USA including:

  1. Adelaide – Austin, TX, USA
  2. Barunga West (Port Broughton) - Brownsville, Texas
  3. Burnside - Dallas, Texas
  4. Charles Sturt - Leon Valley, Texas
  5. Kangaroo Island - Pt. Lavaca, Texas
  6. Mt Barker - Poteet, Texas
  7. Naracoorte Lucindale - Liberty, Texas
  8. Norwood Payneham St Peters - North Richland Hills, Texas
  9. Peterborough - Sweetwater, Texas
  10. Playford - Longview, Texas
  11. Port Adelaide Enfield - Plano, Texas
  12. Tea Tree Gully - Richardson, Texas
  13. Wattle Range (Beachport) - Rockport, Texas
  14. Wattle Range (Millicent) - Sequin, Texas
  15. Whyalla - Texas City, Texas

For the UK the following councils have relationships:

  1. Clare & Gilbert Valleys - Saddleworth, Yorkshire
  2. Goyder - St-Just-in-Penwith, Cornwall
  3. Northern Areas - United Kingdom
  4. Peterborough - Peterborough, Cambridge
  5. Port Lincoln - Lincoln, Lincolnshire

And there may be several sister city relationships under development between South Australia and the USA, as well as SA and the UK.  So where to next?

The goal is building upon a bridge to sister cities from Austin to Adelaide, South Australia (SA) to Texas (TX), supported by partners and stakeholders, which could also extend to other sister cities and regions.

Utilising the sister city relationship, friendly states, and the AUKUS agreement, to encourage and support South Australian startups, scaleups and organisations, leveraging into the US via Austin, Houston (Trade and Investment office) and other USA based connections.  This will act as a gateway (two-way) to the USA and Australia, plus there is the opportunity to develop broader global networks from sister city sisters.

If you can see the potential here, a bit like sitting on golden opportunities, encourage economic development colleagues, entrepreneurs and founders, innovators and creators, State/Territory Government, local governments and elected members to get in touch and take a lead on:

- Catalysing sister city relationships around entrepreneurship, events, and experiences, startups, scaleups and small businesses with collaborative activities

- Identifying who should be involved and will benefit and how can you take your sister city relationships and friendly states (SA – TX) to the next level with direct investment, a joint vision, strategy and action plan

- Practical connections and introductions between both sister cities to help reimagine what this could be

- For Adelaide to Austin and South Australia to Texas, if this is something you’d like to explore, please Express Your Interest here

- Add your organisation and contact details to the SA and TX matching list, i.e., put your information into this document to gain introductions, connections and be part of where this relationship goes to into the future

And if sister cities and AUKUS is a topic of interest, please reach out via wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au to chat and potentially collaborate, thanks.

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