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Plans to transform Macquarie Park into innovation hub include start-up support

Macquarie University has partnered with neighbouring businesses – including Optus, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, Konica Minolta, NAB and AMP Capital – to transform Macquarie Park into a world-class, collaborative ecosystem and innovation hub for entrepreneurs, SMEs, multinationals and researchers.

The Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID), which covers more than 350 hectares, consists of 180 multinational enterprises, 200 SMEs, Macquarie University and Macquarie University Hospital.

According to Professor David Wilkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Engagement and Advancement), Macquarie University, the MPID will offer entrepreneur and start-up support, collaboration spaces and a program of innovative events.

Welcoming Commonwealth, State and local government support, Professor Wilkinson said the MPID growth strategy includes plans to heavily investment in infrastructure, innovation programs and incubation over the next five years.

He spoke to Dynamic Business about the short-term and long-term plans for the MPID and the support available to entrepreneurs.

How will the MPID support start-ups?

“MPID will host events and create shared spaces to encourage innovation and creativity for Australia’s brightest minds. We plan to host weekly events including hackathons as well as innovation, arts and community engagement events that will allow individuals to brainstorm how to tackle challenges across healthcare, cybersecurity, business and commerce. We will also run events that engage corporates and businesses in setting challenges for startups and entrepreneurs to respond to.”

“The incubators in the district will also be supported with programs to provide co-working space, mentorship and the networking opportunities for start-ups. Further, we’ll be helping start-ups take advantage of funding opportunities. We also plan to partner with international innovation districts and, if successful, these partnerships will open up opportunities for international collaboration.”

What strategies are in place to drive innovation?

“Within the coming months, we’re launching a pop-up incubator whilst the new Business Innovation Centre, a purpose-built incubation facility, is being built. This will open in Autumn 2017. Wet-lab, medtech and deep tech incubation space is also being built which is due to open in 2019. We’re also updating cafés to become SMART event venues and plan to host weekly events such as hackathons as well as innovation, arts and community engagement events, in addition to launching intrapreneur and entrepreneur programs.

“By 2022, MPID will have a central University campus hub and business hub as a part of a new town centre precinct. These hubs will also be used to foster engagement and incubation for businesses.”

How will the MPID transform the area?

“Apart from the new incubators, SMART cafés, engagement spaces and town centre business hub development, MPID will drive innovative solutions within the community using the strengths of Macquarie University and the businesses involved in the district. Through this initiative, we are aiming to increase student placements, job growth, economic growth and community engagement. This will provide economic impact as well as offering the North Shore community access to entrepreneurial and startup programs and facilities.

“Based on residential and retail growth, Macquarie Park is a thriving hub and is predicted to double in size in the next 20 years to become Australia’s fourth largest CBD – there’s no better place to build Australia’s own internationally recognised innovation hub.”

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James Harkness

James Harkness

James Harnkess previous editor at Dynamic Business

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