Wollongong is already building a reputation as a hub for innovation in New South Wales.
The University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus has become a focal point for Wollongong’s role in the new economy and for some time has been seeking funding for a new prototype space (Maker Space) to provide small and medium enterprises, both existing businesses and new ones, with access to the technology and expertise that they need to develop and test their ideas.
As an addition to the Wollongong Science Centre it would also provide space for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education and training activities for school-aged children and their teachers.
The iMake Maker Space will provide technologies such as 3D printers, design software and laser cutters, ordinarily out of reach of small and medium-sized enterprises, available to those businesses on a pay-for-use basis.
This helps to reduce the barriers to access to technology that small and medium businesses face when they are trying to develop a new idea to support existing jobs or create new ones.
While the Illawarra’s economy has been shifting to services, manufacturing remains an important foundation.
The nature of manufacturing has and will continue to change. Specialised, advanced manufacturing incorporating on-going servicing of produced goods, including research and design is becoming the way of the future for this crucial sector.
iMake will also provide an avenue where small and medium-sized businesses can gain access to the right researchers and research at UOW and provide new entrants into the iAccelerate start-up incubator.
Labor’s support for the iMake Maker Space comes as part of its commitment to utilising the emerging technologies of the ‘sharing economy’.