George Tomka, Senior Manager Business Development, presents at the Innovation Showcase, with lectern and banner in the background. Photo: Michael Gray
Dr George Tomka, Senior Manager, Business Development from UOW's Industry and Engagement team

UOW receives funding boost to enhance innovation

UOW receives funding boost to enhance innovation

Entrepreneurs and small business to benefit from funding to increase collaboration with researchers

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has secured funding from the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program (BBIP), announced on Monday 26 February.

NSW based Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are being encouraged to collaborate with universities and research organisations to boost innovation.

UOW’s Industry and Engagement team will share in the $11M funding program along with other NSW-based universities and research institutions for boost activities and TechVouchers.

Boost activities support the provisions of facilities and services such as co-working spaces, business incubators, accelerator programs, training, and access to leading experts.

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Industry and Engagement) Dr Paul Di Pietro welcomed the funding announcement which will support greater access for entrepreneurs and small businesses to skills, networks, programs and facilities, that will enhance their innovation capabilities.

“UOW is committed to supporting a thriving ecosystem that facilitates and grows research knowledge exchange and translation and promotes entrepreneurship,” Dr Di Pietro said.

Boost activities will build on the continued growth of UOW’s iAccelerate supporting pathway for UOW’s world class researchers to innovate for real and lasting impact.

“The BBIP funding is critical in continuing to develop innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities for UOW students, researchers and the community,” iAccelerate Director, Dr Tamantha Stutchbury said.

“iAccelerate is committed to elevating a broad range of people and businesses with ideas that can change the world, and we are delivering on that this year with programs to support female founders and social enterprises alongside our traditional strengths in medical technology, clean energy and advanced manufacturing.

“In the past six years iAccelerate has supported the launch of 382 companies and created 1085 local jobs. We have helped these companies put $132 million back into the Wollongong economy,” Dr Stutchbury said.

Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology Anoulack Chanthivong said the revised BBIP scheme, which includes TechVouchers grants, is designed to connect SMEs with research organisations to fast-track idea development and accelerate the rate of innovation.

“With our partners, this program will help break down obstacles for innovators by providing improved access to research facilities, the latest technology, training opportunities and expert advice,” Mr Chanthivong said.

“It will also fund collaborative research projects between SMEs and researchers through TechVoucher grants. This program, alongside the work we are doing in developing the NSW Innovation Blueprint, will support and help accelerate the rate of innovation in NSW.”

As part of the BBIP funding UOW will continue to deliver TechVouchers which fund collaborative projects between small businesses and UOW researchers.

“Through TechVouchers, SMEs can be connected with an expert in a relevant field of research and embark on an innovative joint research project. The program also enables access to high tech instruments and facilities that would otherwise be difficult to access,” Dr George Tomka, Senior Manager, Business Development said.

“TechVouchers help to reduce the barriers for SMEs and support the translation of research into business benefit, supporting industry and innovation.”

UOW has previously been awarded funding under the BBIP between 2016-2023 to run the UOW Advantage SME program.

The BBIP will see SMEs partner with Publicly Funded Research Organisations to improve productivity across NSW over the next four years.

Entrepreneurs and SMEs interested in the program are encouraged to reach out to iAccelerate to discuss the opportunities available.