$1 million funding to support entrepreneurs in bushfire-affected regio

Goulburn Mulwaree Council

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Goulburn Mulwaree Council will be boosted by a University of Wollongong initiative to boost economic resilience and create jobs, after UOW’s business incubator and accelerator iAccelerate was awarded $999,570 from the Federal and NSW governments’ combined Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLER).

The project, led by UOW’s iAccelerate, will deliver education programs to support 90 of the most promising entrepreneurs and business owners in bushfire affected areas to create 300 new jobs. Goulburn Mulwaree is one of six local government areas to be included in the program, after engaging with iAccelerate and providing a letter of support for the application.

“This is very exciting news for the businesses and entrepreneurs of our region, who will be able to tap into the brilliant programs and experience offered by iAccelerate to help them take the next step” said Mayor Bob Kirk.

“Their model has already delivered strong results in regional NSW through the Bega Valley Innovation Hub, and I look forward to seeing the program developed further over the coming months.”

Chris Petersilge, iAccelerate Ecosystem Evangelist said that in addition to increasing economic resilience, the program will also help to keep young people in the regions by providing employment and business opportunities.

“Having launched the Bega Valley Innovation Hub in NSW’s far South Coast, iAccelerate is familiar with the challenges and opportunities faced with supporting regional entrepreneurs. With over a decade of creating new industries and over 700 jobs in Wollongong, we’re ready to bring this model created in the Bega Valley to more bushfire-affected areas.”

The new project will target bushfire-affected regions by offering entrepreneurs access to economic resilience programs for industry and business development. The program is being rolled out in the Bega Valley Shire, Eurobodalla Shire, Goulburn Mulwaree, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Snowy Monaro, Wingecarribee Shire, as well as four Local Aboriginal Land Councils.

iAccelerate is one of 195 local community projects supporting economic or social recovery, strengthening resilience and delivering ongoing community benefit to bushfire-affected communities in NSW to receive stage 2 BLER funding.

UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Jennifer L Martin congratulated the iAccelerate team on the announcement.

“UOW continues to foster innovation through providing leading entrepreneurial education programs. I look forward to seeing the roll out of the iAccelerate Activate program to bushfire-affected areas to create new jobs in the regions,” Professor Martin said.

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