The government has announced a $382,000 grant to establish a new innovation hub in the University of Wollongong campus in Bega Valley, to provide opportunities for the local start-ups and existing businesses to grow.
The innovation hub will be supported by the University of Wollongong’s business incubator program, iAccelerate.
The idea for a regional innovation hub was started through a local innovation taskforce, whose members included local business, Bega Valley Shire Council and UOW Bega.
Together they raised the seed capital needed to submit an application for a share of the funding through the $23 million Incubator Support program, a key initiative of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Minister for Jobs and Innovation Senator Michaelia Cash said the hub would provide more employment opportunities in the region.
“The iAccelerate regional initiative will bring significant opportunities to the Bega Valley, a region that is looking to grow business and employment opportunities,” Minister Cash said.
The innovation hub will be based at the UOW Bega campus and offer support and education including:
- three structured incubator programs;
- assisting 16 new start-ups with 30 new business ideas;
- national and international mentoring;
- network development and seed funding;
- 18 capacity workshops for start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs, and one regional innovation expo;
- youth innovation programs to over 900 students; and
- links to Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney and Melbourne accelerators.
Changes to the Incubator Support initiative were introduced late last year to provide more support for regional incubator projects.
The funding for UOW and the Bega innovation hub follows the announcement last month of four Regional Incubator Facilitators to assist regional applicants by providing advice and supporting them through the application process.