City entices entrepreneurs to Newcastle

24 Oct 2022

City of Newcastle (CN) is inviting entrepreneurs and professionals to set up shop for three months free of charge as part of a program to diversify and increase the local skills base.

Australian and international innovators are being offered a free three-month membership to the 'Landing Pad', a shared working space at the University of Newcastle's I2N hub with access to smart city infrastructure, an investor network, and collaboration with academic experts.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen says Newcastle is ‘start-up heaven’ and the Landing Pad initiative encourages people to experience the city and its local innovation culture before establishing here permanently.

"City of Newcastle's Economic Development Strategy is built around people, and the Landing Pad provides extra encouragement for entrepreneurs to build their base from our city and help create new jobs or support emerging industries," Cr Clausen said.

“Local governments often spend a lot of time and money trying to attract big businesses. We've flipped that narrative and are attracting highly-skilled entrepreneurs who’ll bring their networks, their expertise, and their innovative businesses to create local opportunities.

"People considering a move away from the big cities will experience the best of modern Newcastle, a place brimming with innovators, a vibrant night-life, and business confidence, with more than $100m in DAs approved by Council each month."

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky said that innovation and entrepreneurship is a big priority for the University.

“We are delighted to partner with the City of Newcastle on this exciting initiative,” Professor Zelinsky said.

Senior Manager of I2N and Innovation at the University of Newcastle, Siobhan Curran said the Landing Pad supported a community of innovators to leverage technology to scale their businesses globally.

“A Landing Pad candidate might be looking to mitigate climate change or deliver better health or business outcomesWe’re industry, sector and stage-agnostic, as long as they’re developing a positive product or solution that’s scalable,” Ms Curran said.

"The Landing Pad offers professional office facilities, mentoring opportunities and a network of like-minded people in an enviable location.

“You might strike up a conversation in the cafe or kitchen that could spark your next collaboration, or connect you to customers and clients. You need to increase your surface area for luck to strike, and it’s harder to do that at home on your laptop.”

According to the Regional Australia Institute, recent banking data shows Newcastle is one of five local government areas welcoming the lion’s share of migration away from capital cities. Leading the charge are people in their 30s, looking for economic opportunities with a balanced lifestyle, close to nature.

Leadership coach, Kate Brettell, relocated her family from the Netherlands to Newcastle last year and is one of 30 Landing Pad new members.

“If you want to make an impact in your community, you can do it more easily in Newcastle than a major city. This city welcomes new ideas with open arms,” Ms Brettell said.

The Landing Pad is a joint initiative of City of Newcastle and University of Newcastle to support scaleups and skilled professionals relocating to Newcastle. Eligible applicants will be granted free access for three months to the world-class co-working space in the vibrant Honeysuckle precinct (valid until June 2023).