SA appoints Chief Entrepreneur

The South Australian government has appointed Nova Systems chairman Jim Whalley as the state’s first Chief Entrepreneur, as part of its effort to build a new “support model” for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The appointment is soon to be followed by the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, which is to have oversight for the Innovation, Incubation, Start-up and Growth Hub at Lot Fourteen, the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Lot Fourteen will also be the site of the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur. The appointee, Jim Whalley, is the chairman and co-founder of innovative defence industry company Nova Systems and a former fighter pilot.

SA’s industry and skills minister David Pisoni said that Whalley was suitably experienced for the role.

“He is an outstanding business person with the right skills to help raise the profile of South Australia as the best state in the nation to start and grow a successful business,” Pisoni said.

“I look forward to working with Jim to develop our state’s entrepreneurial capacity.”

The services and support for entrepreneurs and start-ups have hitherto been provided by TechInSA will be transitioned into the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur and expanded in collaboration with private sector providers and the Department for Industry and Skills. The position of Chief Innovator will also be wrapped up.

Tenancies of companies located in the Thebarton Incubator and Tech Hub will continue in accordance with previous agreements and all grants awarded to companies that have been administered by TechInSA will be honoured.

Pisoni praised the work of TechInSA and the outgoing Chief Innovator Dr Tom Hajdu.

“I thank the team at TechInSA for their work in assisting Biotechnology and other technology businesses through the programs, networking and business development activities undertaken over the years,” he said.

“Tom has successfully raised the profile of South Australia’s innovative business capabilities and become a champion of our innovation ecosystem in South Australia.”

Dr Hajdu said that he was proud of the work he had completed in his role, and that he supported the new direction that the Marshall government was taking in the entrepreneurial and start-up space.

“Digital technology is transforming the way we live, work and do business and I support the new government’s approach to supporting our next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators and wish everyone the very best as they forge a pathway to future success and prosperity,” Hajdu said.

“I am proud to have contributed to the transformation of the South Australian economy through my work as Chief Innovator.”