Innovative business ideas in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia will get a kickstart with a new $1 million incubator opening in Mount Gambier.
The innovation incubator, supported by the Australian Government’s Incubator Support Program along with State and local government partners, will be delivered by the successful ‘eNVIsion’ accelerator program led by the New Venture Institute (NVI) at Flinders University.
NVI Deputy Director (Enterprise) Kathryn Anderson says the NVI, based at Flinders at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct in Adelaide, is looking forward to offering its practical eNVIsion program to business people and young entrepreneurs around the South-East region to increase jobs and exports.
“We aim to build a local home for innovation, with digital connectivity, rapid prototyping and a practical knowledge base and access to important networks required to provide tailored pathways for local startups to reach international markets,” Ms Anderson says.
“eNVIsion Limestone Coast will have access to leading acceleration and innovation programs, technologies such as large-file sharing, video-conferencing with world experts, content streaming, specialist workshops and networks with international investment and study tours.”
The eNVIsion Limestone Coast aims to “break down regional barriers to create a thriving innovation ecosystem,” including access to co-working spaced at the NVI Innovation Centre in Adelaide.
Already NVI programs have given hundreds of small startups and entrepreneurs with new business ideas the tools to get started and grow – including in other regions of South Australia.
The initiative, due for its official launch in early 2018, will connect the new hub in Mount Gambier with high-speed broadband GigCity connectivity with workshops and experts at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct in southern Adelaide.
NVI programs and innovation learning has supported more than 230 startups and created up to 60 spinoff jobs. More than 2,000 entrenpreneurs, including university students, have participated.
The $500,000 federal grant for eNVIsion Limestone Coast will be matched by support from Mount Gambier Council and the Department of State Development.
The Innovation Centre NVI at Flinders at Tonsley also received a recent Australian Government grant to support startups in advanced manufacturing.
NVI director Matt Salier says NVI innovation incubators have links with angel investor and entrepreneurial groups such as Tech Ranch Global, US and Shanghai and Singapore ‘landing pads’.
“The incubator program at Flinders at Tonsley is supported by some of the leading South Australian technology and advanced manufacturing companies that have already achieved international success.
“This industry engagement also supports our mentoring and education programs,” Mr Salier says.
“We aim to help develop progressive, creative individuals, business and researchers in collaborating, testing, building and growing in a flexible and supportive environment.
“The Tonsley Innovation Precinct, and new incubators in country South Australia, will establish a broad community of entrepreneurs, business leaders, researchers and industry professionals to connect and explore new ways to create value – and compete in national and global economies.”
The Incubator Support Program is designed to assist new and existing incubators to improve the commercial prospects of Australian start-ups in international markets.
Reflecting the importance of regional economies to Australia, the program is targeting regional incubators and accelerator development along with those working with local businesses in capital cities and metropolitan areas.
The $23 million Incubator Support scheme is part of the Entrepreneurs’ Program which contributes to the expansion of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.