University of Newcastle: Start-ups to surge with new Uni accelerator

As the Newcastle region continues to flourish as a talent hotspot for entrepreneurs and start-ups, the University of Newcastle has levelled up its contribution to the ecosystem with a new innovation platform – I2N Accelerator.

Delivered by the University’s Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) and supported by funding from the NSW Government through Investment NSW and the Boosting Business Innovation Program, the free, ten-week program will provide world class support and mentoring to start-ups headquartered in the Newcastle region.

Senior Manager, I2N Operations and Innovation, Siobhan Curran said the arrival of Accelerator reflected a growing maturity within the region.

“Until now, we’ve focussed on running pre-accelerator programs, with a view to building capacity and establishing a strong community. Now in our fifth year, we’re seeing a demand for something more substantial. This success reflects not only the level of talent here in the region, but the sustained contributions of time, expertise and funding from many supporters to help this community thrive,” said Ms Curran.

I2N Accelerator is aimed at start-up founders who are leveraging technology to deliver a new-to-market product or service.

Ms Curran said the program would provide access to industry heavyweights to help founders build, refine and scale their business model, develop their enterprise skills, and become investment ready.

“We connect start-ups to community, customers, coaching and capital to help them accelerate to market. It’s this support that can make or break the success of a new business idea,” said Ms Curran.

“The University has a strong track record in driving successful commercial viability and industry partnerships, which are vital to Australia’s economic and social wellbeing.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky said, “Examples are all around us… from the work of the MGA Thermal team, to renewable power pioneers Diffuse Energy, to the global success of Viralytics the University of Newcastle has the evidence of its commitment to research commercialisation and innovation, not just the talk.

“Fostering a culture of regional entrepreneurship is a core engagement priority for the University of Newcastle. Our Research and Innovation team, led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Zee Upton, is taking up the delivery of this priority.”

I2N Accelerator will be delivered out of the University’s purpose-built Q Building – an epicentre for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Hunter.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Zee Upton said “We want to support entrepreneurs – regardless of their current connection to the University – because we know it is by building a strong ecosystem for research and innovation that our whole communities and economies thrive.”

“Q Building represents our commitment to providing a home for innovation in the region. This new program will expand on our impressive I2N alumni network, who are developing solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people here and around the world and deliver economic value for our region. We’re eager to see what new industries are sparked through this initiative,” said Professor Upton.