Today I chaired a meeting of the innovationXchange’s International Reference Group (IRG), hosted by Mr Michael Bloomberg at Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York. 

The innovationXchange was set up within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in March to revolutionise the delivery and effectiveness of Australia’s aid program.

The IRG brings together leading global innovators from development, business, the arts, health, finance and science to discuss emerging challenges and opportunities. Today the IRG endorsed the innovationXchange’s strategic direction, including a focus on identifying and incubating breakthrough innovations in the Indo-Pacific region.

I am delighted to announce two important initiatives discussed at the IRG meeting.

The innovationXchange will consult with the Government of Timor-Leste to explore a pilot project to tackle chronic malnutrition and anaemia. The project would use mobile phone technology to disseminate health and nutrition messages and better understand where nutrition efforts should be targeted. It would also explore an emerging Australian technology to diagnose anaemia using a smartphone photo of a person’s eye.

The innovationXchange, using IRG expertise and networks, will develop entrepreneurship in a pilot country in the Indo-Pacific. Project: Entrepreneurship Network (P:EN) will provide expertise and support to entrepreneurs and will link them with knowledge, business development support, and existing networks of entrepreneurs.  The initiative will focus particularly on supporting women entrepreneurs.

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