Imagine a world-first program that brings together 130 innovators from Australia and China, grouping them into 25 diverse think tanks to deal with crucial issues at the crux of the bilateral relationship between our two countries, including the future of tourism, sustainable energy, education, entrepreneurship, and the implications of the looming China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

With a competitive application process and a resulting strong inaugural cohort, the China-Australia Millennial Project (CAMP) recently concluded its 2015 program with an intensive 5-day summit in Sydney, after a 3-month online innovation incubation period involving planning, learning and collaborating with other delegates in a MOOC environment.

Asia Options was fortunate enough to have two representatives present, our Relationships Manager, Dan Poole, and China correspondent, Will Breedon.

Delegates were initiated in a spectacular fashion. On Day 1, the group rose at 5am to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, setting the tone for the rest of the week. The official opening of CAMP took place at the remarkable Sydney Town Hall with an introduction by CAMP CEO Andrea Myles, former General Manager of the Australia-China Business Council and former National Director of the Engaging China Project.

The delegates were then invited to listen to a Q&A style panel discussion led by Jean Dong (Winworld Australia), Rick Chen (Co-founder of Pozible), and Andy Whitford (General Manager and Head of Greater China, Westpac).

A large part of the rest of the week was dedicated to the overall deliverable of the summit – a fully-formed pitch for a business idea that could change the face of Australia-China relations, including a growth and financial model.

Highlights of the rest of the week included a Business Model Canvas workshop led by strategy designers from Business Models Inc, the PEERCAMP unConference (where delegates held mini-sessions to skill-share with others on topics such as growth hacking), and communication skills workshops, including a notable session run by Alan Jones of Blue Chilli on pitching to get funding.

The final day of the program was brought to an end by the highly anticipated final pitches from each think tank. Some truly insightful and well thought-out ideas were pitched to the panel of venture capitalist judges, and the three favourites went on to pitch on at the Gala Dinner that was to close CAMP that night at the Sydney Town Hall.

 

If you’re interested in applying or finding out more, you can read Kate Smith’s article on the CAMP 3-month online incubation phase and her tips for applying.

 

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Dan is a student and entrepreneur, currently studying double-degrees in Arts and Law at Monash University. He has a strong involvement in the Australia-China space and speaks Mandarin, as well as French and Spanish. He also runs a social enterprise and Australia's first non-profit crêpe van in Melbourne, Crêpes for Change.

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