Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Ilena Young

Acting Chief Executive Officer, Startup Shakeup Ltd

Ilena Young


Building Sustainable Innovation in the Regions

Startup Shakeup is a catalyst for innovation and regional economic growth, leading a Regional Innovation Ecosystem that nurtures collaboration, purpose, confidence and connections for our Startups, our Shakeups, our Innovators and the region at large.

Startup Shakeup was created in 2018 around a shared vision of vibrant and resilient regions using innovation to create benefit from transformative opportunities, enabling us to face complex future challenges together. Today we are a partnership between 6 local Councils, 3 educational organisations and the Startups (new businesses) Shakeups (businesses rethinking what they do) and Innovators (visionaries) across the region.

In times marked by uncertainty, disruption and vulnerability, the aim of Startup Shakeup is to provide a sense of community and connectedness, with a seamless approach that assists new and existing businesses to flourish. Through building the regional Innovation community we nurture a sense of purpose and confidence, we build powerful connections, we enable people to take advantage of new opportunities by starting, renewing and expanding their innovative and aspirational enterprises that will strengthen our regional economies.

Since establishment, Startup Shakeup has focused on innovative leadership across the region, remaining agile and flexible, with diversity and creative responsiveness at our heart. We have supported Startups, Shakeups and Innovators with a suite of programs designed to meet people at the point they need advice, support and encouragement to grow into what they can be. Looking ahead we are now building out, as a startup ourselves, to become sustainable by 2024.


Ilena is a pragmatic, creative thinker, passionate about the role of innovation in Regional Australia. Chair of Startup Shakeup since inception in 2018, she works in regional management for Charles Sturt University. Ilena started her career in tourism, In pre-AirBnB days, selling authentic holidays in local accommodation in Corsica. She has a Masters in Travel and Tourism and won a Startup award at 24, in Livewire.

Since moving to Australia Ilena has worked in academia, consulting and local government, always focused on building the communities of regional Australia. Whether regional development, business development, or course development, her knowledge, experience and passion are for collaboration that generates opportunities, engagement, choice and growth.

Ilena is practiced at bringing focus, strategic planning and creativity to her work, taking pleasure in building collaborative partnerships of sometimes disparate players, with a core interest in sustainable outcomes built around planning, facilitation, engagement, research and evaluation.