Myriad Live 2017 with Consul General Michael Wood from the Australian Consulate-General (Chicago Chapter)

Myriad live with Consul General Michael Wood from the Australian Consulate-General (Chicago Chapter)

Posted by BeachCity on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video Transcription:

Suzanne: So, I'm with Michael and I'm comparing our white shirts together. I'm chilled, he's not. But more than that, I'm really excited to be with Michael Wood. Can you tell us ... Introduce yourself to everyone else please?

Michael Wood: Sure. I'm Michael Wood and I'm Australia's Consul General in Chicago, which is responsible for the Midwest of the United States. I get 11 states that people normally fly over, but that we do a lot of business with.

Suzanne: What does that mean? Like do you help business transition or grow and set up businesses in America?

Michael Wood: Yeah. So the Australian government tries to be available to all Australian businesses that might be able to export or invest in the United States. But we also look for American companies that might want to come back to Australia and invest in what we're doing here, including in new and innovative activities that Australians are ...

Suzanne: Innovation's always been a very strong point in Australia. That's what I think, 'cause we have in Sydney we have the quantum computing and we're leading in quantum computing. And startups is becoming a new, trendy word. And in Australia we're quite conservative. So what do you think is the difference between businesses in Australia mindset and startup ones?

Michael Wood: I think probably the thing that has struck me most being in the United States in the last couple of years is just witnessing the willingness to take risk. And the willingness to fail-

Suzanne: Appetite.

Michael Wood: And the appetite for this. And the willingness to come back after failing and trying something new. There's a lot greater acceptance that companies will go bankrupt and people will bounce back with new ideas. Banks support this, we have a lot more capital in the U.S. that's available for what might look like a crazy idea but then it ends up being a Facebook or a Google.

Suzanne: Do you think some of the money could back to Australia and then we could be globally viable place for startups to hangout?

Michael Wood: No, no absolutely of course we can. Because what we have, I think we have to recognise what we've got and we have a fantastic education system that's generating really bright young people with lots of ideas. An increasingly global outlook, more than most countries, Australians travel out and look out. And that's something we need to learn to capitalise on and we need to tell other people that when they come here, they have this amazing resource of talent and ideas.

Suzanne: So we have ... Pretty much the future is here because we have that kind of future pride inside and attitude that we should capitalise on.

Michael Wood: Yeah, and we have fantastic [crosstalk 00:02:40] expertise in areas like agriculture. We got fresh and green story to tell people that we can capitalise on as well.

Speaker 3: Ladies and gentlemen, [crosstalk 00:02:42]

Suzanne: Is there a particular sector in terms of tech and innovation that you're excited about and that you're keeping an eye out on?

Michael Wood: Well absolutely. In the agriculture and food sector in particular, and that's what the Midwest in the United States does very well. We have relationships already between the American companies and the Australian companies. We need to learn to get our younger, brighter people to be part of that- [crosstalk 00:03:12]

Suzanne: Conversation.

Michael Wood: That environment. That conversation, yeah.

Suzanne: How can people and businesses interested in learning what you said today connect with you? LinkedIn's the best choice?

Michael Wood: Sorry I missed that.

Suzanne: How can people connect with you? Is LinkedIn the best choice?

Michael Wood: Yeah or they can contact me at the Australian Consulate General in Chicago. I don't mind if everybody has my email address it's michael.wood@dfat.gov.au

Suzanne: And just to make everyone value your time, who do you want to help the most? What kind of people would you want them to reach out to?

Michael Wood: Right okay. So look I think there are probably, that immediately springs to mind, that we want to help Australian companies that are in the business and looking to actually expand their opportunities. That's one class of people. But then, what we also always need is a pipeline of new, fresh energy, ideas, new companies. And if we're not [inaudible 00:04:13] those new players then in 5, 10 years' time we've got a stagnant Australian pipeline. So we are desperate to help people who want to make in into the United States. And my department, the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is looking to do the same for everybody around the world. So we are very focused on the pipeline, we're very on fresh ideas.

Suzanne: The pipeline. It's all about the pipeline, people. Thank you, Michael.

Michael Wood: My pleasure, thanks very much.

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