People laughed when former Google Maps Project Manager, Elena Kelareva told them she wanted to start a technology and innovation company in a rural town of 15,000 people. Two years on, Elena’s business and collaborative projects are showcasing how global businesses can be built anywhere and transform regional economies.
Elena’s own journey traverses the globe having been born in Russia and then living in South Africa and Tasmania. Her career has taken her places too, as an academic and software developer.
A love of tech runs in the family. Elena’s mum was a software developer. Dinner table conversations meant that although she was the only girl in her university class, Elena was confident that she could be the best.
This resilience has proved valuable to counter stereotypes and find collaborators across her career, including the launch of GippsTech, which now employs a dozen people.
Elena is sharing knowledge so people can utilise technology for collaboration, connection and flexible workplaces; to grow a business wherever they are on the map.
Elena knows that many girls are without their own family role models to encourage them into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Women make up only 16 per cent of Australia’s STEM workforce.
This is why she chose to be visible as a leader in tech. Elena speaks at conferences, is an ambassador for the Gippsland STEM Sister program to engage Year 10 girls and has co-launched regional initiatives like Startup Gippsland and Binary Shift.
“Rural women are often enthusiastic adopters of technology because they need it to connect. Yet without access to local networks or events many feel like they lag behind on tech trends,” says Elena.
“That’s one reason we founded the Binary Shift conference, to bring together Gippsland’s local people with tech professionals and business owners,” she says.
The 2019 Binary Shift regional innovation and technology conference is scheduled for 26-27 August in Sale, Victoria. Visit the website for further information.
Image above: Elena Kelareva (left) successful business owner of GippsTech, with colleague Maria Sereno