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Press release, City of Greater Bendigo 30 July 2020

To mark its 10th birthday, the theme for this year’s Bendigo Invention + Innovation Festival (2020BIIF) is Optimism through Innovation, celebrating Greater Bendigo’s role as Victoria’s premier regional city in innovation and manufacturing.

In response to the impact of COVID-19 and restrictions on public events, the free festival will be presented in a different format this year. Instead of hosting the traditional one-week event, 2020BIIF will be a fully virtual program starting on Monday August 31 and extending to Friday October 2 to give participants greater involvement and access to a series of engaging events.

Register for the Festival Free

Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency Anthony Murfett, CEO Austmine Christine Gibbs Stewart, Paul Cooper and Michael Sharpe from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, Victor Perton from The Centre for Optimism, AI Group CEO Innes Willox, Dr Leah Heiss from the RMIT Wearables and Sensing Network, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Managing Director Marnie Baker are among some of the keynote speakers headlining the festival.

The program will combine live streamed presentations from national and international key speakers, panel discussions and inspiring videos to showcase local businesses and innovation. Due to the impact of the pandemic, the festival’s popular Inventor Awards has been postponed for 2020 but the Festival of Failure remains a highlight during the series of virtual events.

Participants can take advantage of a wide selection of virtual sessions and contribute to lively conversations around innovation, development and future trends. The 2020BIIF will also be an opportunity to bring together business owners, national and global thought leaders, and celebrate regional Australia’s strong industry sectors now and into the future.

Hosted by the City of Greater Bendigo, 2020BIIF has been developed in collaboration with the Bendigo Manufacturing Group, Bendigo Tech School, the Digital Innovation Festival Victoria, Goldfields Local Learning and Employment Network, The Centre for Optimism, and several small to medium-sized businesses and individual community members.

Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the City was delighted to host 2020BIIF and thanked the festival partners and contributors for their extensive role in creating an inspiring program to celebrate innovation.

“Greater Bendigo has long prospered from inventions and innovations and we are proud of our reputation as a forward-thinking City of the Future. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the great disrupter and now more than ever the ability to invent, innovate, and capitalise on new ideas are key to business success and survival, whatever the size or industry.” Cr O’Rourke said.

“We’re also part of UNESCO’s prestigious Creative Cities Network following our selection last year as the first Australian City of Gastronomy. This accolade is global recognition of our creativity and innovation.”  

2020BIIF Chair Paul Chapman said the festival’s theme of Optimism through Innovation focused on the enormous opportunities being presented to business, educators and rural communities with a “can do” attitude.

“2020BIIF will showcase some wonderful local, national and international talent that develops local skills and shines the spotlight on our city. The festival is also looking to build pathways between education and industry through keynote speakers and panellists and a day dedicated to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), which is facilitated through the Bendigo Tech School,” Mr Chapman said.

“This free festival is open to everyone who has a strong desire to do things better. It is designed to inspire innovative thinking within Greater Bendigo and promote the extraordinary career path opportunities available for the region’s younger generation.”  

Some of the festival highlights include:

  • An Optimistic Future for Regional Victoria
  • Opportunities for Australian Regional Manufacturing
  • Greater Bendigo’s New Gold Rush
  • Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things
  • Showcasing Innovation Series
  • Regional Growth Summit
  • Festival of Failure
  • Engaging all ages in STEAM

To register for 2020BIIF, please visit

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