Episode 24 – Regional Innovation Ecosystems with Elena Kelareva

Aug 31, 2023

In this episode we talk with Elena Kelareva, CEO and Founder of GippsTech, about her experiences in establishing innovation systems in regional areas, and her reflections on the behavioural and cultural settings behind successful regional innovation ecosystems. We touch on the definition of tech transfer and tease out a distinction between innovation translating scientific outcomes and entrepreneurship, the latter being more broadly around the establishment of ventures to address new opportunities.

Elena has a diverse background having completed her PhD and having also worked in a number of product development roles including Google Maps. Elena recognised the opportunities associated with regional entrepreneurship and established Gippstech to build new networks and ecosystems to stimulate new venture establishment. Through her efforts she has identified the importance of behaviours and culture in building distributed innovation ecosystems and the key success factors in these ecosystems. We also discuss her observations that ‘fly-in, fly-out’ advisory services have limited sustained ecosystem impact in regional areas but FIFO does have a role in some specialisations.

Elena also shares her observations in agtech innovation and identifies the need for ‘digital agronomists’. She identifies some success criteria for agtech innovation and has seen most success where producers with specific technical skills sets can leverage their production experience to address particular challenges and opportunities. She shares a terrific example around Invest in your Farmer from Northeast Victoria.

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