Microsoft hits the heart of innovation in Adelaide

By Melissa Keogh

Two years have passed since global tech giant Microsoft provided a boost to South Australia’s economy by bringing an innovation centre to Adelaide.

Since March 2015, the Microsoft Innovation Centre South Australia (MICSA) has engaged with 120 start-ups, created more than 60 jobs in SA, and reached over 3500 people through various initiatives.

MICSA, located on Pirie Street, aims to nurture local talent by supporting start-ups, entrepreneurs and students, and driving the growth of small to medium businesses.

Adelaide was chosen ahead of Sydney and Melbourne to host the second innovation centre in Australia after one launched in Brisbane in 2012.

The centre provides resources such as training events and workshops, software and cloud credit, access to meeting rooms, and opportunities for students and companies to network and build on their IT and business skills.

MICSA joins more than 100 Microsoft Innovation Centres around the world.

MICSA program manager Nehal Jain says Adelaide became home to an Microsoft Innovation Centre because of its entrepreneurial landscape.

“Adelaide was chosen over Sydney and Melbourne because the whole aim is to foster innovation and entrepreneurs,” she says.

“If you think about the size of Adelaide and the community, we have a high level of innovation and entrepreneurialism, so it makes a lot of sense.”

MICSA offers a place for start-ups, entrepreneurs and students a place to attend workshops, programs, training, launch products and build on their business and IT skills.

MICSA offers a place for start-ups, entrepreneurs and students a place to attend workshops, programs, training, launch products and build on their business and IT skills.

Nehal says the centre attracts businesses from a variety of sectors, from health care to viticulture, which want to reach their full potential through smarter technology systems.

“It’s about bringing technology and business together,” she says.

“We are working with wineries to predict what their yields will be, and making the system really smart.”

With SA transforming its economy to foster an environment for innovation, MICSA is well-placed to help businesses become more digitally-capable.

Adelaide start-up myEvidence is a MICSA foundation member and was provided with the ability to leverage Microsoft Azure (cloud computing service) for a reduced cost.

myEvidence gives police a platform to digitally capture and document evidence from crime scenes.

It removes the need to rely on traditional time-consuming investigative processes, such as typing out notes from notebooks.

Watch the video below to see how MICSA helped launch myEvidence.

With Adelaide’s status as an innovative and well-networked ‘smart-city‘ on the rise, Nehal says the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is thriving.

She uses the example of a start-up business which engaged with MICSA 18 months ago with just two employees.

Now the business has nine people on the books.

“I think there’s a lot that is happening in Adelaide,” Nehal says.

“It (business ecosystem) is growing, but there’s still a lot to do.”

For more information on MICSA click here.