30 October 2019

Richard TurnerOne of Australia’s most successful business innovators, founder of four highly successful start-ups, including the green energy company ZEN Energy and 2010 Australian Entrepreneur of the Year - Richard Turner - has joined the University of South Australia as Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Industry Professor of Practice.

In his new role, Prof Turner has a wide remit to work with UniSA’s high-profile business initiatives, including the Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC), the UniSA MBA, and the Australian Centre for Business Growth.

He will help to foster connections, commercialise innovation, inspire future entrepreneurs and supercharge the development of new and established businesses.

Professor Turner says he aims to help to tap into and connect the highly innovative ideas being developed at UniSA and support the University’s already substantial investment in growing the economy at both a state and national level.

“The University of South Australia Business School is ranked in the top one per cent worldwide and has a track record of launching world-leading platforms to nurture new ideas and to help businesses grow,” Prof Turner says.

“I hope to enhance that focus and share my expertise and networks.

“I believe South Australia has a natural competitive advantage in renewable energy generation that we must take advantage of quickly, if we are to lead the next wave of innovation, including globally competitive clean electricity and hydrogen production, that will feed into new developments in mining, defence, space and many aspects of the industry 4.0 revolution.

“We want to attract the students, start-ups and emerging businesses from all over the world to South Australia, to study, establish themselves here, and work at the leading edge of these new industries. To do that, we need to grow our talent base through targeted training, aligned with these industries.

“South Australia has the ideas and it has green resources in abundance, what we need to do better is connect people, attract investment, and model and market our enterprises with a complete commitment to success.

“Growing a business from inception to the $1m revenue mark can be a difficult task and requires significant experience sharing and support.

“I’m hoping to introduce new accelerator programs to provide a continued pathway for our successful start-ups to grow out of the ICC and become successful employers. We will offer support to navigate that path and then follow-on through UniSA’s highly successful Australian Centre for Business Growth led by Professor Jana Matthews, which helps established businesses to succeed and expand.

“UniSA has always been focussed on providing the kind of education and research that is closely linked to business and industry and to delivering a solutions-focussed approach and that is something I really value.

“UniSA educates the innovators, encourages a start-up culture and is providing support for for graduates to found new enterprises and the expertise to help businesses grow. Ultimately my goal is to help UniSA play a pivotal role in growing the local and national economy, building new industries and delivering the jobs Australia needs to thrive in the 21st century.

“It’s where I did my business degree, so coming full circle and supporting new students and ventures is my way of giving back through this wonderful university where it all began.”

As UniSA Entrepreneur-in-Residence Prof Turner will contribute to programs such as the Venture Catalyst Space program, a six-month incubator for space related start-ups, and leverage the potential of the new Venture Catalyst incubator in Whyalla.

He’ll contribute his entrepreneurial expertise to executive education programs, including the UniSA MBA and work closely with the Australian Centre for Business Growth at UniSA, which delivers business growth programs for SMEs backed by corporate partners including ANZ, and by State governments in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says having a leading business figure like Prof Turner join the University is an exciting opportunity.

“Richard has done it all – started with an idea and developed a whole enterprise – and he has done that successfully four times over,” Prof Lloyd says.

“His experience is priceless and will be a huge advantage to our students, to our entrepreneurial researchers and the industry innovators that work with them, and to all the innovators we are encouraging at the ICC.

“Richard’s commitment to SA and to the potential of South Australian talent, creativity and innovation is outstanding and we are delighted he will be working with us to lead innovation in the State.”

Pro Vice Chancellor of the UniSA Business School, Prof Marie Wilson says the appointment underlines the University’s commitment to growing innovation and business in SA.

“At UniSA we pride ourselves on doing business, not just talking about it, and Richard is a proven change-maker who knows how to get business done,” she says.

“His entrepreneurial perspective and unparalleled professional networks will play a major role in deepening our already strong engagement with enterprise, growth and industry development that are central to our role as Australia’s University of Enterprise.”

“We look forward to the significant contribution he will make at UniSA and the benefits that will bring to students, graduates, business and the economy as a whole.”

Prof Turner will commence in his role on November 4, 2019.

UniSA media contact: Michèle Nardelli phone: +61 418 823 673 or +61 8 8302 0966 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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