Regional start-up manufacturers are being offered business mentoring and support through a $2.1 million Local Innovation Network that has been set up in seven regional locations around New South Wales.
Jobs for NSW CEO Nicole Cook said the network is operating in regional locations including Armidale, Byron Bay, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Wollongong and Wagga Wagga.
The network will develop regional entrepreneurship and support start-ups and SMEs across the state, she said.
“[It] is helping develop entrepreneurs in each of the seven regions by removing barriers that isolate start-up founders from each other and by linking them with the Sydney start-up community through the Sydney Start-up Hub and its Regional Landing Pad.
“The Sydney Start-up Hub celebrates its first year anniversary this month and in the past year its Regional Landing Pad has hosted 1,072 meetings involving entrepreneurs from regional NSW.
“The Regional Landing Pad offers free start-up space for regional entrepreneurs based outside Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle. Regional entrepreneurs can visit for up to three days at a time to meet with other start-ups and potential business partners, investors, and service providers,” said Cook.
It offers 12 dedicated start-up desks, a 12-seat conference room and meeting rooms with video conferencing facilities.
Visitors also get access to events and networking sessions hosted by incubators like Fishburners, Stone & Chalk, Tank Stream Labs and The Studio.
Electric-bike start-up company Sunshine Cycles, was supported by Local Innovation Network member Sourdough Business Pathways at Byron Bay.
Sunshine Cycles founder Luke Young was mentored by Sourdough when he first set off on his start-up venture to develop a solar powered electric bike company.
“When I first started out I had my idea but really didn’t have any understanding or background on what was involved in developing my start-up,” he said.
“Sourdough really helped me develop my ideas based on what might work and what wouldn’t. I also got into the EnergyLab accelerator program which helped me to apply research and development to redesign my work.”
Young, who previously worked as an industrial abseiler in the oil and gas industry, said he developed his start-up in the hope of providing a more sustainable future.
He has now secured $300,000 funding from Origin Energy towards his plans to develop 10 solar powered ‘sun-pods’ that will each be used to house and recharge electric bikes.
“The sun pods will provide a solar powered fully automated bike rental system.
“People who register by downloading our app will be able to access the sun pods and hire our electric bikes and then bring them back for charging through an automated docking system.
“These sun pods will be placed in tourist areas from the Tweed down to Ballina. Electric bikes are a great way for tourists to get around and our bikes have the added advantage of being recharged by solar energy which is attractive from an environmental perspective,” said Young.