A City of Diversity

Want to know why I love Melbourne so much? Why I love my job? Why I love the startup and innovative community we have here? Well here’s just one example…

Melbourne is a place of discovery, of adventure, of trying new things. It is one of the only places I know were I can do such a range of activities. Take this weekend for example, I went from riding crazy off-road electric skateboards with BajaBoard and teaching people how to ride them, to attending Girl Geek Academy‘s #SheHacks and helping women come up with creative solutions and businesses.

I mean seriously, does this really happen anywhere else? It’s a city of great diversity and I love it!

Let’s dive a little deeper into these two events and my roles in them.

Firstly, BajaBoard. As many of you know, I’m the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for this amazing company. We teamed up with Subaru Melbourne and Bike NOW for the ultimate day out. This was one partnership I was very excited about and the team at Subaru Melbourne were so accommodating in making it all happen. It was a great way for people to get out and try new things in Melbourne – Drive the New XV, ride the new G4X BajaBoard, and try the new Specialized electric bike. Again, more innovation, more new things!

Hanging out at Subaru STI Docklands for a day of riding and fun. This was our first ride group – check out how awesome that weather is.

There’s also something here to be said about partnerships. Melbourne is a city where it’s corporate and big businesses are willing to work with smaller companies, startups, scale-ups and anything that is new. They are willing to try out new initiatives, to be innovative, and to potentially be disruptive. It is such a privilege to be in a city where massive companies like Subaru are super keen to work with people like us and I look forward to more events with them. You can read a full write-up about this event on our BajaBoard blog.

Secondly, SheHacks, and my golly was this a special event. I put out a post on Twitter last night with a photo of all the lovely ladies who attended. And it got over 100 likes! Now this isn’t saying something about my followers, it’s saying something about our community. Everyone is eager to see women grow in this area and it’s exciting that there are initiatives like Girl Geek Academy and She Hacks to support us.


Anyways, onto what the hackathon was like itself – AMAZING!!! It is always a beautiful to see how Sarah and her team pull together these events in such a great manner. They manage to get sponsors for all their delicious food and tea – Madame Flavour, Pressed Juices, Table of Plenty, Belicious Creations and more. And they pull together so many fantastic participants – there were 24 teams… 24! Now that’s not only the world’s largest female hackathon, that’s one of the largest hackathons in Australia. Such a credit to everyone. Oh and all the mentors and helpers. Apparently there were around 40+ mentors, a testament to the willingness people are in offering up their time to help others. Add onto that all the helpers for the weekend and especially Weploy and you have this incredible event with a tonne of great women from every industry and many walks of life.

Always such fun at #SheHacks. Just a few of the amazing mentors

And the media was all over it too. #SheHacks and Girl Geek Academy were in the Herald Sun, the Australian, they are on TV at the moment with Common Sense, and the ABC ran a feature piece on the Saturday night news. Incredible! Well done to the team for rangling all these stories in.

The hackathon was held at Footscray’s new co-working space – the Dream Factory. An Inspire9 extension, this place aims to anchor out the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend heading down there!

View from the rooftop of the Dream Factory. You can see the whole of Melbourne!

#SheHacks also decided to try something new with the pitches. Instead of the traditional, get up in front of everyone and present, pitches were done in closed rooms to camera thanks to Anna Reeves and That Startup Show. Slides and tech demos were submitted and all this will get spliced together to produce a well rounded video presentation. It’s a great idea as these pitches will then be on record for all the attendees to keep and use in their portfolios. Due to this, judging won’t be finalised until later, so we’ll have to keep our eyes out for the announcements.


But don’t go too far, because #SheHacks is launching an incubator! It kicks off this weekend with brunch and anyone can get a ticket here.

This is what I’m talking about people… Melbourne just keeps getting better and better. The hackathon didn’t just start and end, it’s continuing. The incubator is launching, and no doubt many of these ideas will live on; BajaBoard didn’t just come down for the day, they came out to stand out. Our partnership with Subaru will (hopefully) continue and I hope more big companies in Melbourne take a leaf out of their book; well there are a lot of big businesses here doing amazing things – you know who you are and we love you for it.

Now, for my piece of advice before I wrap up this article…

If you came to either of these events, or anything similar for that matter, don’t just go home after a fantastic day/week/weekend and go back to your usual routines. Don’t be all inspired by the great things you saw, the people you met, and the things you heard, and then go back to old habits. Take a step now! If it’s “I want to be more involved” get more involved, go home and sign up to a few more events. If it’s “I want to think outside the box and be more creative”, do this in your job, think about some way – any way (even if it’s small) – to be innovative in what you do. If it’s “I don’t like my job and I want to start my own business”, just start! Don’t go throwing away your job right away but just take that first step to start on what you want to do – write down the first few lines of a book you’ve always wanted to write, go and talk to someone about the idea you’ve had for months, just do something to get the ball rolling.

So that’s my challenge to you right now. If you want to do something, don’t wait, just do! As Sarah said at #SheHacks graduation… “every journey starts with just a single step, take that step now!”

All the amazing ladies at #SheHacks

One thought on “A City of Diversity

  1. Hey I got on to your website sometime in Feb, when I couldn’t make it to Melbourne for the Start-Up Expo at Pause Fest, I found your website pretty useful as it had collection of hackathons across Australia, I found the Unearthed Solutions Hackathons link and I am happy to let you know that I have done the BHP Digital Tribes Perth, The Unearthed Melbourne – New Crest Mining & The Shield X Challenge, find my recent Hackathon pitch deck https://www.slideshare.net/ChilumbaMachona/digital-tribesv3-team12 .I am pretty happy with myself and more fulfilled, this all happened because you shared valuable information, As a tech and business enthusiast here in Zambia, I resonate with your commitment to #SheHacks & Girls Geek Academy, I too am committed to making sure women & girls familiarize themselves with coding and other relevant skills, this is because women alone make up for 85% of the world consumer purchasing power, by driving incentives that lead women to equip themselves with IT Skills sets as the IT sector is predicted to grow five times larger than it already is in the next thirty years , it allows for massive potential to be realized and harnessed and solve as many problems as possible.

    As a result of being placed 1st Runner up at last years TADHack Global Hackathon hosted in Lusaka Zambia, it was Zambia’s First Ever Telecoms Hackathon 🙂 I run a start called Agrisave http://agrisave.co.zm/ we aim to provide farmers with real time agricultural information and financial analysis tools to help farmers produce more, save time and money. We are currently in development stage and as a startup on boarding developers is pretty costly, I have recently come up with the idea to introduce a Remote Code Lab where we train and onboard developers, teaching them the required skills on the job as we develop the platform, this would easily be accepted in schools , It could be extension of #SheHacks & Girl Geek Academy and collaboration tools like slack tools to communicate for mentorship and support of training the aspiring you developer, It’s a really awesome thing you have going on, and it’s pretty impactful, I look forward to hearing from you.

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