Mount Panorama race track in Bathurst, NSW

Regional startups get $2.1 million boost

Seven locations across regional NSW have been selected to be sites for a $2.1 million Local Innovation Network to support local entrepreneurs to grow and create new jobs across our regions.

The NSW Government-backed Jobs for NSW is driving the scheme to boost jobs, drive collaboration and help regional startups and fast growing SME communities thrive.

Funding of up to $300,000 will be provided to each of seven regional NSW areas with strong potential for startup or scaling SME growth: Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Newcastle and Wollongong.

Applications are being invited from recognised leaders in the local startup and innovation community including from incubators, co-working spaces, startup networks, local universities and business groups.

Local groups are encouraged to work together on projects that could include refurbishment and technology upgrades for local startup spaces, and the delivery of events and workshops to support local startup growth.

Jobs for NSW will also partner with each regional network to make its suite of financial products – including grants, interest free loans and loan guarantees – more readily available to regional entrepreneurs.

Regional businesses will be connected to other NSW Government programs including the Boosting Business Innovation ProgramBusiness Connect advisory service and export advice, and advocacy through the Small Business Commissioner.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said as an ex-small business owner himself, he knows the challenges that come with trying to set up and run a small business.

He said the new Local Innovation Network would help connect local businesses and entrepreneurs across the state, helping them to collaborate, and in turn benefit from the sharing of ideas and resources.

'When business people work together, bounce ideas off each other, they actually have a better chance of success and we want to make it easier for that to happen.

'The NSW startup sector extends substantially beyond Sydney with more than 10% of startups based outside the harbour city.

'By supporting the best environment for new businesses we can help create the jobs we need to make sure NSW continues to be the best place to live and work, start a business or bring up a family– whether you’re in the city or in the bush,' Mr Barilaro said.

Expressions of Interest will be open from Monday 14 May until 2.00 pm on Friday 1 June.