Reigniting Economic Growth & Entrepreneurship – Leaders Forum & Dinner

The Reigniting Economic Growth & Entrepreneurship – Leaders Forum & Dinner was a wonderful event on 20 August 2020 and many of you said that you found the evening incredibly inspiring.  You were chosen to be invited because of your optimistic approach contributing to economic development and entrepreneurship, knowing that you would be open to sharing your experiences, learning from others and identifying opportunities to reignite the state.

We certainly did have the right people in the room!

Renee Schilling, owner of MANIAX Axe Throwing who recently opened a site in Adelaide published this message, “A fabulous night Wendy, thanks to the team at Utopia for a beautiful dinner. It was inspiring to be amongst such a positive bunch of entrepreneurial people from South Australia!! 🇦🇺 Onwards and Upwards! 🏻🏻✅”

Mark Koolmatrie from Tribal Expertise Facility did a warm acknowledgement of country and he has a number of Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Tours as well as cultural awareness on country experiences coming up.

Adam Schilling talked about South Australia too, “Fantastic night, fantastic people. SA continues to blow me away with how business leaders and businesses collaborate enthusiastically and genuinely. I’m humbled to be a small part of bringing people together for good times and appreciate the support from the people of SA.”

Kelly Markos who shared her story of overcoming floods, then a landslide and now a pandemic said, “Chatting to many of the people in the group, there is a real need for us all to come together as business owners at the moment to support each other and look for positive ways ahead.”

Justin and Kelly from Utopia @ Waterfall GullyGlanville HallAdelaide Pop-up WeddingsWoody the Wood Oven Wagon and Wilma the Wagon, were fantastic hosts and Tania Jolly summed it up with, “Thank you both for the beautiful food and hospitality last night!!”  Perhaps you and /or people in your network might consider working with Kelly and Justin on future events and you can get in touch with Kelly via

Leila Henderson posted on LinkedIn, “This was a great concept Wendy Perry, to bring together a bunch of optimists to #ReigniteSA – energising, wonderful people – as Jim Whalley said, Adelaide’s ability to work remotely is proven, on a par with any other small city in the world.”

Jim, it was excellent to hear your business experience and perspectives on entrepreneurship in South Australia plus your call to share many more examples of success stories and do more work with regions and indigenous entrepreneurs in particular.  John Chapman shared on LinkedIn, “An excellent night with some of SA’s most enthusiastic leaders. Well done and thank you for the opportunity to be part of the event!!”

Appreciate the bipartisan political support from the Hon Vickie Chapman MP, Deputy Premier, Attorney General and the Hon Zoe Bettison MP, Shadow Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, speaking towards the end of the evening with comments and a wrap up on where to next.  On that point, the LinkedIn post I shared about the night has had over 20 000+ views and numerous people have messaged or emailed to say that they would like to be involved in the next one.  Before we get to that, I have received some of the notes taken in response to the three questions of:

  1. What has the past 9 months or so been like for you and your business or work?
  2. How do you suggest we could reignite economic growth and entrepreneurship?  What are the things you would like to see action on?
  3. Who should do/lead what?

So far, key points include bridging the divide between those involved in economic development and entrepreneurship/startups with an inclusive ecosystem and regular exchanges of information, knowledge and networking.  Supporting regional entrepreneurs and networks with potential invitations to regions facilitating opportunities with local leaders.  Encouraging indigenous entrepreneurs to start, grow and develop plus building scaling up capability across the state.  If you were a team leader can you please send me your notes so I can add them to the outcomes and if you’d like to email me separately then please feel free.

Capturing the dinner was Hastag Instaprints thanks to Sandra Senn and there were lots of posts on Instagram using #ReigniteSA (check out the pics) plus Remmy Albers from MILCO Design took roving shots too with an album of images here.

If you too are not going to lay down and accept that recovery has to take a long time or believe that there is nothing we can do to make things better, and you want to have the biggest impact we can, then please let me know what you think about running a similar event in the future and how you might like to get involved.

Some of you may not be as familiar with the role that I play as Entrepreneurship Facilitator providing free coaching and mentoring for those with business ideas, startups and scaleups plus events, workshops and webinars.  You can find out more here, and I can work with anyone at any age and location in Adelaide plus I have clients from regions too where people book in for free via this link.

A final word to say, thank you to Scott for always having my back (plus a brewery too :)), our girls and their partners – I hope you made lots of connections and the guest list is attached for you to follow up with people too.

Wendy Perry

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