THE University of New England's (UNE) SMART Region Incubator (SRI) will go where no other business support program has gone before with the official opening of the SRI's new premises in Armidale, called NOVA.
The fit out of NOVA in the old Armidale Library building on Faulkner Street has been funded by a $900,000 commitment by UNE and supported by a peppercorn lease arrangement for the building with Armidale Regional Council (ARC).
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall joined UNE vice chancellor Professor Brigid Heywood, UNE SRI director Dr Lou Conway and ARC general manager James Roncon late last week to open the building.
"This modern refurbishment of the old Armidale Library, reflects UNE SRI's plans to take the region's economy to a new level," Mr Marshall said
"The SRI now has a purpose designed space where it can deliver business resilience and growth programs that help businesses succeed, will generate jobs and capture new opportunities in the region."
NOVA aims to be a launch pad for entrepreneurs looking to explore agriculture, creative industries, environment, renewable energy, food processing and health.
"Over the next two years NOVA will deliver programs to support local businesses to recover, grow and build resilience to future natural disasters," Mr Marshall said.
"The premises have been designed to foster innovation, delivering a co-working space that includes hot desks, offices, meeting rooms, presentation spaces and a podcast and video recording room."
With a focus on getting entrepreneur's ideas from concept stage into practice a variety of workshops will be held by the SRI, networking fledgling operators with those in the know.
"I congratulate UNE SRI on the professional space which has been delivered and the new life which has been given to a prominent building in Armidale's CBD," Mr Marshall said.
UNE SRI will utilise a $798,500 bushfire recovery grant, co-funded by the NSW and Australian Governments, to deliver business support programs through the new premises.
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