Logo of iAccelerate next to the logo of UOW

Boosting Illawarra’s economy, one start-up at a time

Boosting Illawarra’s economy, one start-up at a time

iAccelerate’s 2022 Economic Impact Report shows great progress for the region’s jobs and equality

For the past decade, the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) own business incubator, iAccelerate, has been creating a vibrant innovation ecosystem that prompts the cleverest ideas to not only take shape but grow and thrive — for the benefit of entrepreneurs and the local Illawarra community.

According to iAccelerate’s newest Economic Impact Report, by the end of 2022, iAccelerate had supported 316 start-ups and scale-ups. These companies contributed $33.6 million to the local economy (in combined salaries and payments to contractors), an increase of $4.1 million compared to 2021.

Additionally, since 2016, iAccelerate has delivered 1013 new jobs, all coming from companies actively engaged as members of its program, and helped to inject $110.2 million into Illawarra’s economy.

“These numbers reflect the metrics of our success. However, the full impact of iAccelerate’s work is much broader, as we provide skills, jobs and opportunities to our region, creating global companies locally. iAccelerate is an important part of the local Innovation Ecosystem, supporting start-ups, facilitating the impact of UOW research and nourishing UOW students’ entrepreneurial experiences,” iAccelerate Director Dr Tamantha Stutchbury said.

While iAccelerate continues to support innovation by helping local companies launch and develop new products, one of its priorities has always been advancing women founders and tackling the gender gap in entrepreneurship. In 2022, as many as 54 per cent of iAccelerate’s companies had at least one active female founder (41 per cent in 2021). It means that the UOW business incubator has attracted and retained more female founders than the Australian average of 22 per cent.

iAccelerate start-up ExSitu ExSitu co-founders, April Creed and Rebecca Glover, have just managed to secure a research grant with UOW.

One of iAccelerate’s women-led companies is ExSitu, a tech scale-up specialising in bridging the communication gap between healthcare providers and patients while taking the stress out of complex decisions, such as moving to a nursing home or end-of-life care. Set up by April Creed and Rebecca Glover, who have extensive experience in the aged care industry, ExSitu combines value-based thinking with an easy-to-use technological platform. Since 2017, the company has served more than 605 people in NSW and has just managed to secure a research grant with UOW, Bay & Basin Community Resources, and Carers NSW for the development of a blueprint for values-based care plans that address unique challenges faced by ageing people living in regional areas (dementia, rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care, social isolation, mental health and wellbeing, and urgent and critical need).

“The journey of starting your own company requires plenty of resilience. You need to have as much support and encouragement as you can get. We were really lucky to have gotten it from people at iAccelerate,” Rebecca Glover said.

About iAccelerate

iAccelerate is an incubator and accelerator for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and scale-ups, within the world-class University of Wollongong. Residents are supported by a robust model of education, mentoring, seed funding and unparalleled access to the University. The applications for iAccelerate Activate Program are ongoing – more information can be found here.