The Sapphire Coast Science Hub presented Australia’s first regional Innovation Week in Bega Valley in 2016, tapping the potential of science and innovation for regional economies and future jobs, and showing the strength of the grassroots networks of Inspiring Australia’s regional science hubs.
Software developer Liam O’Duibhir and his Bega friends and colleagues are convinced that the Sapphire Coast region could have more career opportunities for young people than the traditional dairy, tourism, oyster and other established local industries.
That’s why IntoIT, the technology non-profit organisation he co-founded, is a member of the Sapphire Coast Science Hub.
Together, they organised a regional Innovation Week, with the ultimate goal of creating 1000 innovation jobs in the Bega Valley by 2030.
Held in April 2016, the week included a regional technology decision makers forum; a visit from the start-up bus, bringing 30 young start-up enthusiasts from Sydney and Wollongong to the Bega Valley; Questacon’s Smart Skill team presenting free robotics and coding activities at Bega Library; and start-up speed dating, bringing together the creative Hipster, the sales-oriented Hustler, and the code-maestro Hacker.
Innovation Week also incorporated the sixth weekend Sea Change Start-Up Camp, which brought together local community members, business advisers and IT experts to create new ideas.
Guests included Sarah Pearson from Canberra Innovation Network (the home of Inspiring Australia ACT), Bega Cheese CEO Aiden Coleman, Australian Young Scientist of the Year Jade Moxey, and Tim Mahlberg, from University of Sydney’s Business School.
Inspiring Australia NSW manager Jackie Randles hopes other Regional Science Hubs will follow the Sapphire Coast example and further stimulate local innovation.
“The success of the Regional Science Hubs really comes down to the people and their connections, both within their communities and more broadly across that state and nationally. That’s where the Inspiring Australia networks play an important role, connecting the regions to key people and resources elsewhere.”