State funding for UNE SMART Region Incubator

The University of New England’s Business School has been awarded $1 million in state funding to establish a UNE SMART Region Incubator.

Prof Sue Thomas and Adam Marshall MP

Prof Sue Thomas and Adam Marshall MP

The funding comes as part of the NSW Government’s support for business development within the New England North West.

The Boost program aims to accelerate innovation in NSW by supporting greater collaboration between NSW research organisations and their business communities.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sue Thomas, said UNE is delighted to be working closely with industry to promote greater collaboration between NSW research organisations and the business community.

“The project has enormous potential to leverage technology and research results to achieve commercial outcomes, and I look forward to seeing positive and sustained results for all concerned,” Prof. Thomas said.

“We will repurpose sites in Armidale and Tamworth to ensure the incubator has a quality, high functioning space.”

Once established, the incubator will draw on resources for skills development and technology uptake, as well as marketing connections.

Professor Derek Baker, Director of the newly launched Centre for Agribusiness, says the incubator will provide an ideas launchpad for entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) in the region, as well as establishing them within national and international networks.

Prof Derek Baker, Director Centre for Agribusiness and Prof Alison Sheridan, Head of the UNE Business School

Prof Derek Baker, Director Centre for Agribusiness and Prof Alison Sheridan, Head of the UNE Business School

“The UNE SMART Region Incubator offers lots of potential for complementing the strengths already present in our region, especially in the area of agricultural entrepreneurship,” Prof Baker said.

“Our emphasis will be innovation, both in the new data-driven economy, and for value adding to our natural competitive advantages.”

Minister for Small Business, John Barilaro, said the Boost Program is designed to create new partnerships with experts in innovation to encourage and strengthen the businesses that will create the jobs of the future.

“The existing initiatives being facilitated by the UNE are a fantastic example of the kind of innovation we’re driving in NSW and the funding provided through the Boost Program will help to accelerate local industry development and support better research and business networks throughout the region,” Mr Barilaro said.

The UNE SMART Region Incubator will create an environment where research, knowledge and data can be connected with entrepreneurial ideas to grow high value and innovative businesses.

It is supported by Armidale’s high-speed broadband network.

Under the Boosting Business Innovation Program, the NSW government is working with 11 NSW universities and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO to unlock access to technology, equipment, research and expertise to build an innovation ecosystem and stimulate economic growth.

For more information, contact Professor Derek Baker, Director of the Centre for Agribusiness, on 67732627 or derek.baker@une.edu.au