The centre of Innovation

INNOVATE: From left, LeapSheep CEO Kirk Drage, ICC Adelaide Manager Jasmine Vreugdenburg, Whyalla City Council CEO Chris Cowley, Whyalla Innovation Hub Community Manager Peter Borda and UniSA Whyalla Campus Regional Manager Paul Havelberg.
INNOVATE: From left, LeapSheep CEO Kirk Drage, ICC Adelaide Manager Jasmine Vreugdenburg, Whyalla City Council CEO Chris Cowley, Whyalla Innovation Hub Community Manager Peter Borda and UniSA Whyalla Campus Regional Manager Paul Havelberg.

Plans for a $500,000 Innovation Hub in Whyalla are progressing, with key stakeholders introduced to the University of South Australia’s plans for the facility at the local campus on Thursday.

Innovation and Collaboration Centre (ICC) Adelaide Manager Jasmine Vreugdenburg outlined the function of the ICC in Adelaide while LeapSheep CEO Kirk Drage talked about the keys to creating a start-up business.

The Innovation Hub – Whyalla will allow potential future entrepreneurs access to the Aranet High Speed internet at UniSA featuring speeds of 10 Gigabites per second.

It will also allow them to access mentoring and expertise from the ICC at the UniSA’s City West campus.

Ms Vreugdenburg said the Adelaide ICC aimed to help people launch start-up companies while also supporting existing businesses to grow and prosper.

“What we’re trying to do here is bring some of those programs, skills and resources into the Whyalla community,” she said.

“The goal was to make this centre accessible to the community, it will provide the community access to important infrastructure here at UniSA.”

Mr Drage said the success rates for start-ups were quite low, but he hoped through facilities like the ICC that entrepreneurs could be given more guidance during the process of establishing a new business.

“There’s a lot risk involved with innovation but there’s a lot of best practice you can find online,” he said.

“Part of the challenge in developing a new business is around how to get started and get help. We’re all about supporting people to navigate that journey.”

The Innovation Hub will be funded through a partnership between UniSA, the Whyalla City Council, and the federal and state governments.

Currently UniSA are seeking a federal funding for the project, which is worth $1 million over two years, to get it off the ground. Council will be contributing $100,000 towards the facility.