DHive, an Indigenous-led hub looking to engage minorities in the digital and innovation economies, has opened in Cairns.
A ‘Digital Social Impact Venture’, the hub has a focus on inclusion, aiming to bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees, new immigrants, and people with a disability and provide them with opportunities to actively learn about and participate in the tech space.
Led by Leigh Harris and Julie-Ann Lambourne, DHive will operate out of the offices of Envizion Group, a training provider run by Lambourne. Here it will provide the community with coworking space, digital literacy programs, and business support initiatives such as workshops, an accelerator program, and access to mentorship.
“We want to ensure that Australia’s most disadvantaged groups are part of an innovation and digital ecosystem; we don’t want people to get left behind,” Lambourne said.
“Imagine the potential talent we may be missing out on if Indigenous people, new migrants, and those with disabilities are excluded from participating and contributing to the growth of the digital economy.”
Harris added, “Innovation is critical to regional development but we must also be more innovative in the way we ensure that the benefits of the new digital economy don’t pass by those who are already missing out.”
The hub has already unveiled a number of programs, including a ‘Tinkering Tiddas’ workshop focused on engaging Indigenous women in tech; Elders in Technology, an initiative to introduce Indigenous elders to technology; and the TechInclusion Conference, planned for November.
The launch of DHive follows that of Barayamal, an Indigenous-focused accelerator program in Brisbane late last year. Founded by Dean Foley, the program first ran as a four week mini-accelerator in November and is now gearing up for a full program this year.
The idea for it came from Foley’s running of the first Indigenous Startup Weekend last August, where 80 Indigenous Australians came together to work on ideas around closing the gap and encouraging entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities.
To further grow the tech landscape in the north, the Federal Government today announced its awarding of a $500,000 grant to Darwin-based Paspalis Enterprises to help the company develop an innovation hub.
The company is to partner with Charles Darwin University to develop the Darwin Innovation Hub, described as a “custom-built incubator environment” to support a pipeline of local startups.
With the funding coming from the $23 million Incubator Support program, part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), Assistant Minister for Innovation, Craig Laundy said the hub will help diversify the regional economy and create jobs in the Northern Territory.
“Creation of an innovation hub in Darwin will help startup businesses in northern Australia to build their capabilities and get their products and services into international markets faster, especially into Asia,” he said.
Image source: Julie-Ann Lambourne.