Australian Computer Society acquires an accelerator and joins World Economic Forum

A busy seven days for the professional association topped off with membership to the global Davos hobnobbing society.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The Australian Computer Society has claimed the title of the first IT professional association to have membership of the World Economic Forum.

ACS president Yohan Ramasundara said the move would allow the society to influence policy frameworks, and that Australia's technology sector has an "enormous part to play" in the future.

"A professional association in the modern era must be more than a society of members but must be making positive contributions to policy development and the profession," Ramasundara said.

The World Economic Forum holds an annual week-long TEDx-style event for the 1 percent in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos that combines political leaders, celebrities, and caviar.

Embattled Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Training, Senator Michaelia Cash praised the ACS and said it would help develop Australia's digital skills.

Late last week, the ACS announced it was making a direct move into the sector it represents, when it picked up Brisbane's River City Labs (RCL). The transaction sees ACS become the owner of RCL Accelerator and Startup Catalyst, with the society saying it will invest AU$7.5 million over three years.

The ACS said the services offered by the business will not change, and all team members were asked to stay in their current roles.

"We're tremendously excited by being afforded the opportunity to grow River City Labs. ACS' vision is for Australia to be a world leader in technology talent, that fosters innovation and creates new forms of value," Ramasundara said at the time.

"We understand that new jobs growth in a digital economy comes from tech start-ups, and we are pleased to be in a situation where we can contribute to growing the tech ecosystem both in Queensland and more broadly across the country."

For the moment, RCL Accelerator and Startup Catalyst will remain their own legal entities, with ACS looking into backroom efficiencies.


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