Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award

Noel Lindsay

Finalist of the Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award

"Challenging convention!"

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My entrepreneurial leadership approach is all about team development and team cohesion. I identify an opportunity(ies) and provide a vision of how to achieve success, working with my team so that there is buy-in to the vision, and then encouraging them to support the vision in their own way. I let my team know what we need to achieve, but not how to go about achieving this. In this way, my team members grow as they work on developing strategies for achieving key objectives and the overarching vision. Team members may make mistakes in the process, but there are no penalties if this happens as making mistakes helps people to learn. My entrepreneurial competencies include being visionary and creative, opportunity focused, and resourceful. I develop and am responsible for implementing strategic plans regarding entrepreneurship and innovation across the University of Adelaide. But I am also responsible for fostering an overall supportive and dynamic environment that enables my team to manifest and deliver those strategic outcomes. That includes encouraging and supporting staff/students to undertake their own projects, and to build entrepreneurial competencies, such as creativity and risktaking. I am continuously looking for opportunities that will help our School/University to grow, and being entrepreneurial, I understand the need to attract key strategic people, financial, and other resources to support the establishment of entrepreneurial projects.

Key People

Professor Noel Lindsay
Pro Vice Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) and Dean of Business, Adelaide Business School
Adelaide Business School,  The University of Adelaide


I would like to acknowledge the support of my team as follows: 1 Ms Zrinka Tokic eChallenge Manager Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide 3 Ms Julia Miller Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide 4 Ms Jacqui Stockley Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide 5 Ms Tina Morganella Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide 6 Dr Wendy Lindsay Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide 7 Dr Matthew McKinlay Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide 8 Dr Manjula Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business School The University of Adelaide


Prof Noel LIndsay

Prof Lindsay with the ECIC team

Prof Noel Lindsay with the French Ambassador Stephen Brady

Prof Lindsay at the launch of ThincLab France

Prof Lindsay presenting an award to eChallenge students

Prof Lindsay at the MOU signing with Fincantieri Australia


Impacting lifes

In socially and economically disadvantaged areas in South Africa, many children drop out of school by Year 8 and support themselves through begging or stealing. With three others, we developed and introduced into 15 rural socially and economically disadvantaged primary schools in Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces, a virtual “in-world” education platform that helped to educate Year 5 students in an innovative way and to make learning more interesting. Key topics taught/experienced “inworld” included developing an entrepreneurial mindset, literacy, numeracy, communication, science, and life skills. Both students and teachers had avatars that they used “in-world” in class where part of the Year 5 curriculum was taught.

The virtual world contained four sub-worlds: a base world where students virtually “lived” and learned about how to take care of themselves, an outer-space world, an underwater world, and an animal world. Each sub-world was realistic and imparted specific contextual/environmental knowledge. Of the 15 pilot program schools, one was for the physically handicapped and one was for those who were intellectually challenged. Some students did not have parents present. They may have died of HIV Aids, or their parents had left them to work in the cities to generate an income, or with those who had disabilities, some had been abandoned by their parents because of the “stigma” in the villages of being a parent of a disabled child. The program, which ran for three years, was extremely successful and we raised funding for the project from many sources including using our own personal funds.


Lessons learned

Of surprise to me, and totally unexpected, was how I developed a passion for entrepreneurship. Initially, my entrepreneurship focus was more on opportunity-related entrepreneurship, where individuals start businesses because they see an opportunity. Over time, I became interested in the power of entrepreneurship and how it can help change the lives of those who are socially or economically disadvantaged or who are intellectually challenged. Thus, I became interested in necessity entrepreneurship, where disadvantaged individuals start businesses out of need – not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to – for survival. During this process, I developed a better understanding of myself, and an understanding of the power of an entrepreneurial mind and how it can positively affect individuals, families, and communities.

My advice to others undertaking a similar path is to believe in the power of entrepreneurship as to how it can help those from a variety of backgrounds to achieve what is important to them in life. Never underestimate the “power of one” – someone who has a vision to create a better future! Having been an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and an entrepreneurship researcher and educator, I have learned that the two key items for entrepreneurial success is the quality of the opportunity and the team, including the team’s resourcefulness. But it is not enough to impart this knowledge to those who want to go down the entrepreneurial path, appropriate support structures need to be in place to help guide them and help their businesses become sustainable.


What's coming?

My future plans are founded upon helping next generations deal with Industry 4.0 and beyond. Industry 4.0 bring technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, Blockchain, internet of things, robotics, 4G and soon 5G, drones, 3D printing, driverless cars, etc. These are changing our future and the way we work – eliminating some jobs and significantly changing others. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is key to helping us become more agile, adaptable, and resourceful so that we can better embrace Industry 4.0 and transition to the world of doing things differently.

In facing these future challenges, my plan is to develop enhanced entrepreneurial mindsets in University of Adelaide students. My goal is for every student to complete at least one course in entrepreneurship and, ideally, also design thinking and creativity and innovation, regardless of their faculty. An entrepreneurial mindset will be key to successfully embracing the future and navitagating the Industry 4.0 maze, regardless of whether graduates work for themselves or an employer. Key to this strategy will be our ThincLab business incubators (two in Adelaide, France, and Singapore) that will offer related mentoring support and personal initiative training (including ideation, prototyping, and eChallenge pre-, start-up, and scale-up accelerator programs) to augment our Bachelor, Master, and PhD programs in innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialisation. My goal is to give the opportunity to any student who studies entrepreneurship to “do” entrepreneurship by being located in our ThincLabs alongside staff, alumni, and other community entrepreneurial ventures.



No. of PhD student completions in the past 7 years


Value of grant income to make those on autism spectrum more entrepreneurial


No. of ThincLab Business Incubators


No. articles published in quality international journals


Book chapters published in past 7 years

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