Media Release
Shaped by their values, triumphing on the world stage – Atlassian a standout for first Global Sydney Award
16 September, 2021

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Matt Levinson

With little more than a $10k credit card to start with, two Sydney students built the global juggernaut Atlassian – making founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes a natural pick for the first ever Global Sydney Award.

The Committee for Sydney’s inaugural Global Sydney Award, supported by Investment NSW, is designed to celebrate those who put Sydney front and centre on the world stage.

There’s no question Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, this year’s joint winners, have done exactly that.

On accepting the award, Mike Cannon-Brookes said: “Sydney is where we started our business, where we built our dream and where we call home. We’re proud that we built Atlassian here from the ground up, over the last almost 20 years.”

“We believe Sydney has the potential to be one of the world’s leading technology cities. We want to create jobs, ideas and innovation right here.”

“Right now, there are more software engineers and developers in Australia than hairdressers or plumbers. Our local tech industry is on an incredibly strong growth trajectory, and Scott and I are passionate about putting our shoulder behind it to create more jobs and continue to invest in Sydney’s future.”

The inaugural winners have built a global company with more than 6,000 employees, serving over 230,000 customers around the world and millions of users. The Australian tech sector is now the third biggest contributor to Australia’s GDP, according to Accenture / Tech Council research, employing more than 850,000 Australians.

Amy Brown, CEO of Investment NSW, said: “The genesis of global juggernaut Atlassian was in Sydney. Scott and Mike embody the entrepreneurial, world-beating spirit of our city – so who better to recognise with a Global Sydney Award?”

“As NSW prepares to re-open to the world, now is the time to celebrate the achievements of our leading minds. At Investment NSW we’re delighted to support the inaugural Global Sydney Award, showcasing what Sydney has to offer the world.”

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney, said: “If you’re looking at a business leader who’s had an outsized impact on the city this year, you’d find it hard pressed to go past Mike and Scott.”

“They’ve supported the Premier on tough data questions, stepped up on climate action, thought through the changing workforce dynamics brought on by Covid-19, and they’re succeeding in pure business terms on the global stage.

“They’re modelling business practices of the 21st century – they just have a completely different mindset and I think that’s worth celebrating in itself.”

Designed to celebrate people whose efforts make Sydney the greatest city in the world, there are six categories: Global Sydney Culture and Business, Western Sydney Champion, City Visionary, Emerging Leader, and Unsung Hero.

The eminent judging panel for the inaugural awards include:
• Ann Sherry AO – Chair Unicef Australia and Enero Australia
• Wesley Enoch – former Director of the Sydney Festival
• Sara Mansour – Founder Bankstown Poetry Slam, Lawyer Allens
• Cameron Adams – Founder and Chief Product Officer Canva
• Brian Tyson – Managing Partner SEC Newgate Australia, Director Committee for Sydney
• Mike Baird – CEO HammondCare and former NSW Premier.

The Sydney Awards are supported by major partner SEC Newgate Australia, and award sponsors Investment NSW, Mirvac Design, DXC Technology and Coles.

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