Cutting-edge regional entrepreneurship program wins funding boost

Cutting-edge regional entrepreneurship program wins funding boost

iAccelerate RISE program helps businesses and entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition

The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) world-class business incubator and accelerator, iAccelerate, has received a $455,000 grant from the NSW Government as part of the Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund (ARIF).

The ARIF is a $3 million fund that supports incubator and accelerator programs in regional NSW to help businesses improve their capability and competitiveness through skills, training, networking, and investment opportunities. ARIF aims to drive economic growth and equip regional entrepreneurs with the skills needed to lead change and expand their businesses.

The funding will support iAccelerate’s RISE program for regional entrepreneurs to increase economic growth and create new jobs through evidence-based training, connection to industry experts, and inter-regional networks to create long-term economic benefits and supporting entrepreneurship at a regional level.

Photos of participants from Eurobodalla & Wingecarribee Pitch Final events

iAccelerate Director Dr Tamantha Stutchbury welcomed the funding announcement which will enable greater access for regional entrepreneurs to the cutting-edge RISE program.

“I am delighted that iAccelerate’s programs have made an impact in the regions and this funding from the NSW Government is a testament to the work of a dedicated group of people making a positive change in society through entrepreneurship,” Dr Stutchbury said.

“This project will deliver in-depth business support for 35 of the most promising regional entrepreneurs to create long-term economic growth in regional NSW.

“UOW has strong relationships and regional connections through its campuses across the region and this funding will support the delivery of programs in Bega Valley, Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee andEurobodalla regions by leveraging its research capabilities with our partner the Bega Valley Innovation Hub.

“UOW has been working closely with the NSW Government and business community of Bega for the past five years, and has provided business support to programs that transfer and develop important knowledge in the local community.”

“The gap of disadvantage between building a start-up, scale-up or small and medium-sized business (SME) in a city compared to in the regions is well known. This project will democratise access to entrepreneurship support that has historically only existed in Sydney and Melbourne.

“iAccelerate has a deep history of supporting regional entrepreneurship, as evidenced by the Bega Valley Innovation Hub and the iAccelerate RISE project. Over the past decade iAccelerate has supported the launch of 300+ companies and created 1000+ jobs. These companies have achieved growth in revenue and profits generating over $61.1 million in revenue and put $33.6 million back into the economy.

UOW’s Dean of Research Knowledge Exchange and Translation, Paul di Pietro said “This project will grow connections within the regional NSW innovation ecosystem and connect participants with iAccelerate’s international networks to facilitate the access to experts and opportunities overseas. Access to capital raising opportunities exist in the $10M iAccelerate Seed Fund, Demo Days, Investor Showcases, and the iAccelerate’s investor connections.”