New home for Illawarra entrepreneurs underway
Construction on the region’s first high-tech business incubator will officially start today (Thursday 10 April) when the Minister for the Illawarra John Ajaka MLC joins University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings to break ground at the Innovation Campus.
The three-storey, 4,000 square metre iAccelerate Centre will provide a permanent home for the Illawarra’s rapidly growing number of startup companies.
The building features ‘plug and go’ expandable space for more than 280 entrepreneurs. iAccelerate will provide support, mentorship, professional services and access to seed funding for companies as they develop.
The bricks and mortar can’t come soon enough. Since its launch in 2012 - with just 20 spaces for entrepreneurs - iAccelerate has helped 25 startup companies representing 52 entrepreneurs and new jobs. When complete, the new iAccelerate Centre will house 10 times as many places.
iAccelerate’s suite of programs, designed to assist entrepreneurs turn their concepts into companies, are currently located at a temporary home in the Mike Codd Building on UOW’s Innovation Campus while construction on the new Centre is underway.
The Director of Innovation and Commercial Research at UOW and iAccelerate CEO, Ms Elizabeth Eastland, said that reaching the start point for construction works was evidence of support to foster innovation from the University and State and Federal governments.
“This is an exciting milestone and we will be eagerly watching progress on construction. The NSW Government’s support will significantly expand the growth potential of iAccelerate Centre and this will flow on to a growth in jobs and a well-diversified economy.”
The funding for the Centre was part of the Restart Illawarra Infrastructure Fund, which provided $100 million in State Government funding for 12 projects in the region.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said: “The Illawarra is a region undergoing radical economic transition, with the traditional manufacturing and heavy industrial base facing sharp employment declines. iAccelerate will be in a prime position to take new and innovative ideas and turn them into high-tech jobs for the region.”
More information: Materials including case studies, fact sheet and artist impression of the building can be downloaded here.
Note to media: University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE will be joined by Minister for the Illawarra The Hon John Ajaka MLC for the Centre’s ground breaking ceremony on Thursday 10 April 2014 at 11am.
Photo and interview opportunities with the existing iAccelerate startup companies will be available.
- James Moore, founder of ZestDesk, which builds portable standing desks
- Karen Pouye, founder of Screen Weaver which specialises in online video production, focusing on product videos for retailers and manufacturers.
Media contact: Grant Reynolds, UOW Media & PR Officer, +61 2 4221 4743, +61 417 010 350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.