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Turning ideas into Start-ups and Winning Awards: WITWA 2019 Tech[+]20 Awards launch

  • Flux Basement 191 Saint Georges Terrace Perth, WA, 6000 Australia (map)

Join WiTWA as we take a look at the people behind the ideas, and the steps that they have taken to help create some of the most interesting and successful start-up brands in WA.

Continuing with our 2019 theme of “If You Can See Her, You Can Be Her” we are really pleased to have Charlie Gunningham, co-host of Startup West podcast, lead our panel discussion with Dr Sofie De Meyer (CEO of MALDIID), Louise Daw (Co-founder of MiPlan) and Beth Caniglia (Global Marketing Manager at VROC AI). Tickets available here.

Anne Furey + Charlie Gunningham + Beth Caniglia + Dr Sofie De Meyer

Anne Furey + Charlie Gunningham + Beth Caniglia + Dr Sofie De Meyer

These fascinating individuals will share their start-up experiences and talk us through how they have positioned themselves and their companies, to win industry awards or achieve grant funding.

Nominating for and winning professional awards can be incredibly valuable for the doors that open to set yourself or your business apart. It is that rubber stamp by your peers that demonstrates external recognition for being great at what you do…but many of us simply don’t know where to start and how to go about this. Self bias and other obstacles are often barriers to nominations. Let’s debunk this myth!

In the second part of our discussion, we will hear from Anne Furey (CEO of Grantsmart) who has not only been a judge on many grant and award panels, but works on a daily basis with start-ups, individuals and organisations working on submitting winning applications.


Charlie Gunningham is an active supporter of Perth’s tech startup sector, running Startup News, co-hosting the Startup West podcast and sitting on various advisory boards. His full-time role is with the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation programme, which provides access to commercial advice and matching grants of up to $1 million for eligible innovative projects. Having landed in Perth in 1997, Charlie topped the MBA at the UWA Business School, co-founded and then later sold aussiehome.com, ran reiwa.com and was CEO of Business News. He also sits on the boards of Rise Network, WA Leaders and Perth Symphony Orchestra.


Anne Furey is one of Australia’s leading Government Grant’s consultants, and has been helping GrantSmart clients to win Government Grants since 2006. Specialising in identifying funding opportunities and preparing competitive grant applications, GrantSmart has assisted clients across most sectors and industry bodies. Anne is a well-known and active member of the WA innovation community, nominated for an inaugural Women in Technology WA (WiTWA) 20 in 20 Award 2018; has served as a judge for WAITTA INCITE Awards since 2017 and for the HKABA (WA) Awards for the past 2 years. She has previously served on the WA Innovator of the Year (IOTY) Awards committee and was an IOTY awards judge in 2013 and 2014.


Dr Sofie De Meyer is a biochemist and internationally recognised expert in legume microbiology. When faced with re-occurring questions about rhizobia identification she investigated alternative technologies and developed a rhizobia identification service. This presented an ideal step change towards commercialisation and hence she founded MALDIID Pty Ltd in 2017, a root nodule bacteria identification service for farmers and institutes. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family she always had the mindset of making things work no matter how hard you have to work for it. She enrolled in business workshops and learned to commercialise research in BioTech/AgTech and identified and managed new research-industry partnerships. This led to being a recipient and finalist for numerous research, communication, entrepreneurship and commercialisation awards in the last 6 years.


Louise Daw co-founded MiPlan as she was driven by a strong desire to change the data management landscape of mining, civil and other industries around the world. In 2014 she was accepted into the Springboard program, immersed in a group of extremely motivated mentors and was able to utilize Springboard to understand the value of her business and focus on funding the next stage of growth. Miplan successfully raised capital in late 2014, and in 2017, MiPlan was sold to Hexagon with the aim to deliver end to end life of mine solutions globally. Louise is now the Innovation and Strategy Advisor at Hexagon, Mining division and continues to mentor several start-up businesses. In 2017, she was EY's Entrepreneur of the Year for the Western Region.


Beth Caniglia is a Digital Strategist and self-professed 'word nerd'. As a writer and a digital technology enthusiast, she's spent most of her career combining these two worlds, creating content for businesses big and small, from start-up to corporate to government. With an extensive background in award and tender writing, Beth knows her way around a tricky award application!


Ticket sales are now open. Hurry be quick to secure your seat!

Secure your ticket here or see if you are eligible for one of our limited free sponsored tickets. We are able to offer a number of free tickets to those who are currently studying (part-time or full-time), unemployed or looking to upskill, reskill or transition into a role within the science or technology sectors. A limit of 2 tickets per person applies. If unsure whether this applies to you, please email alana@witwa.org.au.

We are selling tickets via the Humanitix website which enables us to donate the profits from all booking fees to literacy programs for young girls.