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West Tech Fest 2023 dates announced; Paula Taylor steps down after 11 years


West Tech Fest co-founders and Directors (L->R): Rohan McDougall, Larry Lopez, Paula Taylor and Bill Tai.

Our state’s longest-running tech and innovation festival, West Tech Fest, is set for a leadership transition.

Paula Taylor, the festival’s co-founder and Executive Director, is stepping down after 11 years at the helm. Under Paula’s leadership, West Tech Fest has scaled up from one event a decade ago to more than 20 events cast over a week-long festival that attracts entrepreneurs, investors, and tech leaders from across Australia and around the world.

West Tech Fest now encompasses popular (usually sold out) events such as the main West Tech Fest conference, Freo Startup Fest, Rotto Tech Fest, West Tech Women, as well as (in 2022) First NationsX, AI Cybotics and a host of other satellite events. Her efforts have been supported by the festival’s Advisory Committee, the WA State Government, City of Perth, Spacecubed, and many others.

Taylor expressed pride in the growth of the Western Australian startup ecosystem and the accomplishments of the community built around West Tech Fest.

“To witness firsthand founders’ challenges, growth, and success on the global stage has been inspiring,” she said. Taylor is launching her own startup COTU, along with co-founder Jo de Fina, in the coming months.

West Tech Fest co-founder and US-based venture capitalist Bill Tai praised Paula’s contribution to the festival.

She has an amazing combination of positive energy, organizational, and execution skills that have allowed her to super scale West Tech Fest. What started as a small merry band of kiteboarding techies from Silicon Valley visiting Perth has blossomed into the West Coast’s most significant tech ecosystem under her lead.

Bill Tai

Danelle Cross, Director of Entrepreneurship at Curtin University, will be taking over the day-to-day management of West Tech Fest and said she was excited to take on the management of West Tech Fest.

“Paula has done an incredible job of building West Tech Fest into what it is today, providing tangible investment and connection opportunities for hundreds of founders and investors. Her legacy in building the festival lives on for our ecosystem,” said Danelle. “The Curtin team, working closely with the co-founders, is excited to continue to grow and expand the festival.”

At last year’s Startup News Awards, Paula was awarded the ‘Most Admired Startup Supporter‘ award for 2022, held during the Freo Startup fest.

West Tech Fest dates announced

The West Tech Fest 2023 is scheduled to run from December 4 to December 8 and will be held across the city in various venues. The annual West Tech Fest Conference, which will be held on Wednesday, December 6, at the Pan Pacific Hotel, will be hosted in a larger venue to accommodate increased demand, with a multi-streamed format and breakout spaces and exhibition space for the Innovation Showcase. 

The festival will also see the return of events such as the Innovation Showcase, West Tech Women, Young Entrepreneurs Showcase, Freo Startup Fest, and Rotto Tech Fest, plus new events yet to be announced.

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Video Highlights from 2022’s festival…



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