The four-year wait for the $20 million iAccelerate building at Wollongong University’s Innovation Campus is almost over. With only a few weeks until it opens, the building and the iAccelerate program have already been hailed as landmark achievements by its early-adopters.
The business incubator, funded by the Restart the Illawarra Infrastructure fund, will house more than 280 entrepreneurs, start-ups, and fast-growth businesses. Since its launch in 2012, iAccelerate programs and network connections have helped establish and expand more than 50 businesses.
Video footage shot with a drone of the iAccelerate construction process in December 2015.
James Moore, founder of start-up company Zest Desk, the world’s first portable and adjustable standing desk, is an iAccelerate resident.
“It’s the first step on a long journey to really positioning the Illawarra as an innovative region in Australia,” Mr Moore said.
Originally from Adelaide, Mr Moore envisioned Zest Desk as a scalable commerce business that had global customers.
He said iAccelerate had provided a ‘home’ and allowed him to keep his business on track.
“It has made it easier to access my vision and speed up my learning,” he said.
Mr Moore was enthusiastic about the positive impact the building and the iAccelerate programs would have on the Illawarra.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic, I think it puts us on the map with having a really professional, world-class facility,” he said.
“One part of it is having the facility, the other part is having all the systems behind the facility.
“It will attract talent to the Illawarra, but also keep them here permanently.”
Nathan Harper, founder of BeerMogul, a company creating Formula One simulation games for mobile devices, said iAccelerate has brought creativity and commerce together.
“The building will provide a focus for the local start-up community and facilitate broader collaboration between local businesses,” he said.
“[It] helps diversify the local economy, by providing a viable alternative for those businesses that would traditionally need to relocate to a capital city in order to access resources and networks.”