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Newcastle a ‘landing pad’ for entrepreneurs


Entrepreneurs and professionals are being invited to set up shop in Newcastle for three months free of charge.

It’s all part of a City of Newcastle (CN) initiative to diversify and increase the local skills base in the region.

Australian and international innovators will be offered a membership – valid until June 2023 – 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. 

According to the Regional Australia Institute, recent banking data shows Newcastle is one of five LGAs hailing the lion’s share of migration away from capital cities.

And, leading the charge are people in their 30s, looking for economic opportunities with a balanced lifestyle, close to nature.

That includes Kate Brettell.

The leadership coach relocated her family from the Netherlands to Newcastle last year and is one of 30 Landing Pad newcomers.

“If you want to make an impact in your community, you can do it more easily in Newcastle than a major city,” she said.

“Newcastle welcomes new ideas with open arms.”

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said Newcastle was a “start-up heaven”.

“The Landing Pad emboldens people to experience the city and its local innovation culture before establishing here permanently,” he explained.

“It also provides extra encouragement for entrepreneurs to build their base from our city and help create new jobs or support emerging industries.

“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.

“It’s a place brimming with innovators, a vibrant nightlife and business confidence, with more than $100m in DAs approved by council each month.”

Senior manager of I2N and Innovation at the University of Newcastle Siobhan Curran said the Landing Pad supported a community of trendsetters 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 outcomes,” she stated.

“We’re industry, sector and stage-agnostic, as long as they’re developing a positive product or solution that’s scalable.

“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.”

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