MEDIA ARTICLE | JIM WHALLEY BECOMES CHIEF ENTREPRENEUR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
- Aug 19, 2018
Former jet pilot and defence company chief Jim Whalley becomes Chief Entrepreneur for South Australia
Cameron England, Business Editor, The Advertiser
FORMER fighter jet pilot, Harvard graduate and defence company chief executive Jim Whalley says he wants young South Australians to consider job creators as “heroes” as he takes on the newly created role of Chief Entrepreneur.
Mr Whalley will work for no payment and will be tasked with helping shape a supportive and encouraging environment for entrepreneurs to flourish in SA.
He and the new Office of the Chief Entrepreneur will be based at the state’s new start- up incubator, Lot Fourteen, at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, with Mr Whalley anticipating he will spend “a few days a week” helping bring the State Government’s vision to life.
Mr Whalley is chief executive and co-founder of Nova Systems, which employs more than 500 people and has its roots in defence.
The company has branched out into many areas in recent years and operates internationally.
“What I see the role as, is getting the environment far more positive for entrepreneurs to be able to start up, thrive, exist,’’ he said.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done on how we finance entrepreneurs, whether it’s angel funding, venture capital, private equity, is there money available from banks, is there money available from other sources?
“Is there room for superannuation funds to be investing in these sorts of spaces as well?”
Mr Whalley said the thinking around how we viewed success and failure needed to be changed.
“I want young people to feel if they become entrepreneurs, there’s a chance for them to be regarded as heroes in their community as well; they’re creating businesses, they’re creating jobs, economic growth,” he said.
“We’ve got many innovators, lots of great ideas, lots of great companies that have done great things but they tend to stay below the radar a bit.
“And we do have a fundamental issue in turning innovation into businesses and that’s something that’s true Australia-wide.’’
Mr Whalley flew more than 6000 hours on 40 aircraft as a test pilot for the RAAF before setting up Nova Defence in 2000.
Industry and skills Minister David Pisoni said an Entrepreneurship Advisory Board would also soon be appointed.
“(Mr Whalley) 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,’’ he said.
Premier Steven Marshall announced the creation of the chief entrepreneur role before the March state election.
The Government also has announced the closure of Thebarton-based tech company incubator TechInSA, which was headed by businessman Joe Thorp, as the Government embraces a “new model” for business support.
Mr Pisoni said the services provided by TechInSA would be transitioned into the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur and expanded in collaboration with private-sector providers and the Department for Industry and Skills.
“Tenancies of companies located in the Thebarton Incubator and Tech Hub will continue as per relevant agreements and all grants awarded to companies that have been administered by TechInSA, will be honoured,’’ he said.
TechInSA boss Joe Thorp is married to former state Labor MP Trish White, who is now president of Engineers Australia.
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