When UNE’s Smart Region Incubator started operating 18-months ago, there were about 50 founders (people with business ideas) who displayed an interest in the program. Today, the NSW Government threw in an extra $300,000 to the program to encourage more.
In announcing the funding the Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall said it would allow about another 20 startups to be established.
“This will allow the incubator to closely, mentor them and incubate them here, and help them grow their business with a good idea,” Mr Marshall said.
“This facility is working and this money will allow it go a bit further and do a bit more.”
Director of the incubator Dr Lou Conway welcomed the funding and said it was all about making sure that the businesses had products that customers wanted to buy.
“They’re the type of businesses we want. Businesses that have got capacity to scale and have a global market,” she said.
“It’s so exciting to see what’s possible within our region. We see so much startup activity out of Sydney, but we know that 23 per cent of new startups are in regional Australia.
“Those people will actually do better when they can build some sort of community where they can build and scale together. That’s the opportunity we’ve got here; to build a safe space for them to grow.”
UNE vice-chancellor Annabelle Duncan said the increased funding was a wonderful day for the whole region.
“I think it’s really good that the State government has been providing more investment in starting up companies and encouraging new businesses being developed within the New England North West,” she said.
“I think it’s just wonderful that the State Government has been backing us in this.”