6 August 2018

ICC appoints first Entrepreneur in Residence

Kirk Drage

The Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) at UniSA has appointed Kirk Drage as their inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence until July 2019.

Drage is the Chief Executive and Co-founder of LeapSheep, a subscription advisory and startup building support platform that aims to revolutionise the rate of startup success.

After 12 years at Microsoft holding many roles, including Head of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Relations for Asia Pacific based in Singapore, Drage spent time in Silicon Valley developing Artificial Intelligence products and services before returning home to Adelaide in 2015.

Drage wants to support passionate and committed entrepreneurs with disruptive business ideas to create the next generation of hyper-growth startups.

“What’s not to love about this role?” Drage says.

“Supporting early stage startups has developed into a real passion.

"As an entrepreneur and investor, I’ve made my fair share of rookie mistakes, it’s both highly challenging and rewarding to help founders avoid these common pitfalls.

“If we can focus on making brand new mistakes, we’ll either have a chance of running the gauntlet to success or at the very least, we’ll have a potential book project titled the ‘Innovative New Ways to Kill Your Startup’,” Drage says with a smile.

Drage met ICC Manager Jasmine Vreugdenburg after returning from the US and says he “seeks out” people like Jasmine who have “both a ‘pay it forward’ and ‘power connector’ mindset - fundamental elements to nurture the collaborative culture needed to support early stage companies”.

Vreugdenburg says Drage brings global experience and perspective to Adelaide, critical to helping new founders who are wanting to grow a globally successful and competitive business.

“By growing founders here, we hope to build and maintain a culture of globally successful entrepreneurs in South Australia.

“Kirk understands the bigger picture and the global environment that current startups are competing in.

“He brings great awareness and his key networks to the startups we support in the ICC.”

Drage hopes to “support the development of investable startup companies and inspire serial founders” during his residency.

“Our state needs to compete on the world stage to create the next wave of industry defining companies – the kind of companies that bring outsized benefits in terms of social impact, wealth creation and an entire ecosystem of jobs.”

Twitter: @kdrage @LeapSheepBiz

Media contact: Georgia Minarelli email Georgia.Minarelli@unisa.edu.au mobile: 0413 314 726