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Innovation Hub Launched

Support for smart tech ideas

By Di Bartok

A HUB of innovation in cutting-edge technology was officially opened at the Parramatta office of KPMG on the same morning that the council launched its Smart City strategy.

Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad Smart Business Centres will support start-ups and early stage businesses in the technology fields.

With KPMG providing the space in its Phillip St premises – with off-shoots to be provided by Parramatta Council – other partners include NAB, CSIRO, the NSW Department of Industry, and L&T Infotech.

The Launch Pad provides space and mentorship for companies and individuals focussed on developing technology that will make Australia a smart international competitor, rather than a nation relying solely on mineral resources.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently visited a similar Western Sydney University centre in Penrith.

There are plans for Launch Pads in Liverpool and Oran Park.

At the unveiling of Parramatta’s Launch Pad, NSW Minister for Regulation and Innovation, Victor Dominello, said the initiative would help grow jobs in the nation’s fastest growing region and would help shift Australia’s reliance on mineral resources.

“This initiative will have a ripple effect on the rest of the nation,” Mr Dominello said.

“I was recently in Singapore and Korea where they are moving ahead with technology – they have to as they can’t scratch the ground and watch money come out.”

But, as University of Western Sydney vice-chancellor Professor Bernie Glover later pointed out, Australia could not rely on its resources boom forever and had to find new technologies for continuing prosperity.

Mr Dominello said improved use of technology would enable government departments and councils to better share data, which they did not do well at the moment.

“There are 160 government agencies and 152 councils and we are bad at sharing data but we are introducing a bill into parliament that will direct agencies to give over their data within 14 days to better serve the people of NSW,” he said.

Mr Dominello said the “new jobs” in technology and communications were “coming now, not in 15 years time”.

He said the Launch Pad concept was “impressive” in being a one-stop shop for start-up businesses.

“This will be a great start for businesses, having a one-stop shop of business advice, research and consulting wrapped around them,” Mr Dominello said.

Prof Glover said western Sydney had to “up its uptake of technology and innovation” and he was proud to have the university working closely with the council to align with the city’s objectives.

“When we build our centre in the Parramatta Square building, it will be the most innovative higher education centre,” Prof Glover said.

“This will have an impact beyond the region. When out at Penrith, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that work going on here in western Sydney was critical to Australia’s future.

“He also said that if Australia was to remain a high wage-earning, prosperous economy, we needed to be more innovative as we moved from manufacturing to ideas.

“Launch Pad gives access to tech smarts and support, providing an environment to convert ideas into reality. Students these days are not graduating to get jobs, but to create jobs.”

Prof Glover said western Sydney’s diverse population had a natural entrepreneurial spirit, and the Launch Pad would help local businesses transform their ideas into products for the market.

“By providing targeted support to start-ups and growing businesses and helping them make the leap from great idea to commercial reality, we can transform the region into a global technology hub and create new jobs to replace traditional industries,” he said.

Launch Pad offers

  • Business advice and mentoring.
  • Business incubation and acceleration programs.
  • Access to NSW Government innovation and business support programs.
  • Entrepreneurship and business education.
  • R&D partnering with Western Sydney University researchers.
  • Access to the University’s ‘Maker Space’ facility for product prototyping and testing.

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