24 March 2023

Bushfire-funded innovation summit to boost business opportunities in the Bega Valley

| Katrina Condie
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Smoke from the vast Yankee Gay Fire west of Bega hangs over the Bega Valley. Photo: Rachel Helmreich.

The business summit is being funded by the Federal and NSW Governments’ combined Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. Photo: Rachel Helmreich.

The University of Wollongong will bring together industry leaders, business owners, investors and problem solvers at the Regional Innovation Summit for Entrepreneurs (RISE) in the Bega Valley this month.

To be held at the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre from 29 to 31 March, RISE aims to support the growth of regional businesses, build connections, and advance ideas.

UOW’s iAccelerate initiative was awarded $999,570 in 2021 from the Federal and NSW Governments’ combined Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund to bring the program to 10 bushfire-affected regions, including four Local Aboriginal Land Council areas.

The initiative has delivered education programs to support the most promising entrepreneurs and business owners in bushfire-affected areas to create new jobs.

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The Bega summit will highlight promising regional businesses, connect industry leaders, investors, and government, and will also showcase First Nations business perspectives.

iAccelerate Director Dr Tamantha Stutchbury says it’s a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and business owners in bushfire-affected regions to connect and exchange ideas.

“This RISE program is really the genesis of the ecosystem to support regional entrepreneurs,” Dr Stutchbury said.

“The summit will bring together diverse perspectives, foster collaboration and create a fertile environment for ideas and knowledge exchange – creating new opportunities in the regions.”

Dr Tamantha Stutchbury

iAccelerate Director Dr Tamantha Stutchbury is encouraging Bega businesses to attend the summit. Photo: UOW.

RISE has attracted local, national and international speakers who share expertise in different ways on entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurs.

“Our focus is twofold – the first stream is directed to entrepreneurs, with panel discussions on ‘Getting Investment’ and ‘Getting Customers’. The second stream is for people supporting regional entrepreneurs, with panel discussions on ‘Regional Trends’ local and global and a discussion on circularity,” Dr Stutchybury explained.

“There is no other place in Australia where our RISE regional entrepreneurs can connect with other regional entrepreneurs, leaders in industry and three levels of government.”

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The RISE program was developed in consultation with local government and local communities.

iAccelerate is a unique business accelerator and incubator program at UOW, where start-ups, scaleups, social enterprises and businesses thrive.

Businesses and not-for-profit organisations in the Bega Valley region are invited to take part in the event where they will have an opportunity to meet with angel and venture capital investors and learn from First Nations entrepreneurs who are in the early and growth stages of their business.

Participants will have a chance to talk to people who are in the early stages of their business and hear their stories, and to meet extraordinary, innovative people doing extraordinary things in the region.

Tickets for the event are available HERE.

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