Six years ago, the University of Sydney’s celebrated startup accelerator INCUBATE was one of the first of Australian universities. A partnership between the University of Sydney Union (USU) and the University of Sydney, the student-lead initiative has now graduated 99 startups.
As applications for the 13th cohort close this week, INCUBATE celebrated another achievement today: the launch of a custom-built innovation space, the INCUBATE Hub. A capital works project in partnership between the University of Sydney and USU, the Hub enables INCUBATE to house more entrepreneurs and deliver on plans to double the amount of startups and programs available to students and alumni.
Speaking at the launch, Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM congratulated INCUBATE on their new accommodation.
“I am delighted to be able to celebrate the opening of your new space,” said the Chancellor.
“At the University of Sydney, we are fortunate to have some of the brightest and most creative people, immersed in an environment that gives them room to think and grow, and to meet like-minded colleagues.
“Incubate brings together groups of brilliant people, firing with ideas about how to make people’s lives easier and better, to increase productivity, and improve our world.”
James Alexander, co-founder of INCUBATE, said the Hub was intended to further support INCUBATE’s ability to help the University community realise its commitment to provide hands-on opportunities for students and engage productively with business.
“The new INCUBATE Hub is a fantastic space where we can help foster student entrepreneurs, involve industry through our high-tech event space and support the startups in the program,” said Mr Alexander.
Designed by Trent Schatzmann of Cox Architects, the space has been customised to create an environment of osmosis and excellence, including coworking desks, breakout areas, pitch and celebration spaces. Much of the furniture is moveable, to create smaller team areas or accommodate larger functions, masterclasses and keynote addresses.
Both the INCUBATE startup accelerator and proto, a pre-accelerator program for early startup ideas, will run concurrently in the Hub.
USU Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ashlea Wallington pointed to the launch of the Hub as the start of INCUBATE’s next phase of growth, citing the 2017 The Economy in Transition Report by Startups Aus that found that cohabitation and clustering in the startup ecosystem can lead to greater osmosis and organic collaboration.
“We’re seeing incredible outcomes already from our latest cohort sharing a space,” Ms Wallington said.
“We’ve had fintech startups teaching another startup how to use a sewing machine, an AI company helping to solve a technical problem for a graphics startup.
“Multiplier effects from our startups working side-by-side can’t be measured by the bottom line, but we expect them to result in a richer ecosystem to develop exciting discoveries and businesses for tomorrow.”