Slingshot and the University of Newcastle awarded $475k to launch regional accelerator

Corporate accelerator Slingshot and the University of Newcastle (UON) have been jointly awarded $475,000 by the Federal Government to establish a two-year program that will support up to 16 start-ups in the Hunter region of NSW.

In addition to supporting local entrepreneurs to scale their businesses, Slingshot expects the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) Regional Accelerator will lead to the creation of at least 45 jobs in the short term and result in a $2m investment back into the local economy over two years.

“This program will stimulate regional growth, connect businesses with innovative new services and technologies and make local Start-ups and Corporates more agile, resilient and competitive,” said Slingshot co-founder Trent Bagnall.

“I2N presents an exciting opportunity for both start-ups and local organisations to connect and collaborate to deliver real business outcomes.”

The I2N regional accelerator builds on momentum generated by the recent establishment of the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N), a UON initiative partly funded through a NSW State Government Boosting Business Innovation grant (2016-18) and designed to support and nurture local innovation ecosystems, anchoring entrepreneurial activities at key locations in the Hunter region.

UON Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall said the I2N regional accelerator program will leverage a longstanding track record of successful collaboration between Slingshot and UON.

“UON is excited to be taking our partnership with Slingshot to a new level,” he said. “The I2N Hunter Regional Accelerator will leverage recent UON entrepreneurial initiatives, which have come on line in the past twelve months, to create a distributed accelerator model across the I2N Hubs. It will provide an additional layer of impact to the current service offering of both Slingshot and UON, to the benefit of the region, by generating greater inter-disciplinary and intra-regional collaboration.”

The University of Newcastle was an early sponsor and supporter of the first Slingshot cohort and one of the inaugural corporate partners in Slingshot’s recently announced SaaS CoVentured platform. The organisations have also collaborated on the university’s STAR4000 program which provides students with entrepreneurial skills and pathways for innovation and future self-employment.

Since 2014, Slingshot has run ten accelerator programs in metro and regional areas, accelerating 43 Startups and 21 Scaleups. More than 88% of the participating start-ups are still operating today, with a current market capitalisation of $163m. Slingshot is currently seeking out corporates who are interested in joining the consortium for the I2N regional accelerator.