Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC today announced Hunter iF will share in $2.1 million funding to boost jobs, drive collaboration and help startups communities thrive across regional NSW.
Mr MacDonald said Jobs for NSW would provide $300,000 in funding to HunteriF as part of a new ‘Local Innovation Network’ program to turbocharge regional innovation.
“Hunter iF has been developed as a collaboration of existing incubators to establish a network to bring founders, mentors and investors together across the Hunter region,” Mr MacDonald said.
“This is a terrific boost for startups and SMEsin the Hunter region that will unlock the region’s enormous potential.”
“Startups across the Hunter can expect improved access to clients, mentoring and investment opportunities both in and outside the region thanks to new opportunities to connect with other regional entrepreneurs.”
Newcastle is one of seven locations in the new network which also includes Armidale, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Wollongong.
“HunterIF is a collective of 26 stakeholders, including Newcastle University, Newcastle Council and Lake Macquarie Council, that will deliver a range of support.”
“The Hunter collective will curate and launch an investor training program, a mentor training program, and a media and investor outreach program.”
“A temporary co-ordinator will also produce and hold a series of events, such as community pitch events to stimulate ideas and connect startups with assistance and investment needed for growth.”
Chair of Hunter iF, Grant Sefton, said the diversity and vibrancy of the innovation sector in the Hunter has developed to become world class.
“Hunter iF provides the opportunity to better co-ordinate that energy, and the funding from Jobs for NSW provides a fantastic kick-start for Hunter iF,” Mr Sefton said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said NSW’s startup sector now extended statewide with over 10 per cent of startups based outside Sydney.
“Jobs for NSW will partner with each regional participant in the Local Innovation Network to offer its suite of financial products – including grants, interest free loans and loan guarantees – to local entrepreneurs.”