News and Insights 2 MIN READ

The tenth annual Hunter Innovation Festival kicks off this week, aiming to showcase regional startup success stories, promote innovation, and facilitate discussion around women in the startup ecosystem through the event’s flagship Women in Innovation panel.

Hosted at numerous locations across Newcastle, including the University of Newcastle’s Three76 Hub coworking hub in the city CBD, the festival will bring together entrepreneurs and key community members from across the Hunter region.

The Innovation Festival will begin this Tuesday with former ABC journalist George Lewin discussing the journey of his Triton workbench product, before moving into a workshop about intellectual property.

In addition to a 3D printing lab and networking breakfast, the festival will also hold a Women in Innovation panel, with this year’s topic for debate focused on whether women with sponsors are more likely to succeed in the startup ecosystem.

The discussion will be mediated by UON Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Deb Hodgson, with the panel including Liza Noonan, Executive Manager of Innovation at CSIRO.

Also featured throughout the event will be ‘Startup Stories’, a new series of talks from successful members of the region’s local startup ecosystem.

Hosted in Three76 Hub’s event space, the list of speakers includes Slingshot cofounder Trent Bagnall, founder of caravan hire startup Camplify Justin Hales, and Jemma Enright, CEO of mobile consulting platform Next Milestone.

The Three76 Hub coworking space was developed by the university last year as part of the NSW government’s $1 million investment for regional incubator spaces as part of the Boosting Business Innovation Program.

A new smart hub was also development by UON in partnership with economic development company Dantia, while another defence-focused innovation hub is currently in development and set to open mid this year.

Also looking to further innovation in the Hunter region, last year the NSW government announced the Hunter Innovation Project, which pledged a total of $17.8 million to transform the area into a digital innovation precinct by 2019.

The project looks to set Newcastle as a “cutting-edge research and innovation” hub, through the development of an a new collaborative space in the city’s CBD and the transformation of Newcastle’s digital infrastructure.

An estimated 250 properties will gain access to high-speed, fibre-based broadband, while free wifi-linked sensors and integrated smart tech solutions will be implemented across Newcastle’s city centre.

You can read more about the festival here.

Image: Jemma Enright. Source: Supplied.

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