hunter region innovation

Hunter Region Pitched as Australia’s Next Innovation Hot Spot

Six of the Hunter region’s most promising start-ups have been selected to travel to Sydney and unveil their innovations at ”Hunter iF’s Startup Xpress” pitch event at the Sydney Start-up Hub on 17 June.

Innovations to be showcased include one of the world’s most efficient wind turbines, a robot with human-like instincts that can mow lawns and take out trash, miniaturised spectrometers that generate farm lab results from the paddock, and an app that helps prevent dementia deaths through social inclusion measures.

The trip is one of many new initiatives being coordinated by Hunter iF, the support organisation that connects the Hunter region’s growing number of start-ups, investors, universities, and research facilities as a means to manage the region’s sudden innovation boom.


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According to Hunter iF, the Hunter region – more commonly known for viticulture and wine tourism – is now flourishing in its support of emerging technologies due to its unique configuration of heavy industry and world-class research facilities.

“When people think of the Hunter region, they probably think first of its ample wineries, gorgeous scenery, and decadent cheeses and chocolates,” said Richard Christian, Project Coordinator at Hunter iF.

“However, what isn’t common knowledge is that the region has been leveraging its position as Australia’s largest regional economy with an unmatched lifestyle to develop an entrepreneurial knowledge-based economy producing a range of world-class innovations and businesses.

“This group of six breakthrough entrepreneurs were selected to showcase the types of world-class businesses that are being produced within our newly emerging innovation hot spot.

“We wish them every bit of luck as they showcase their work in front of some of Sydney’s most influential investors, industry and government stakeholders, and innovation ecosystem participants.”

The Hunter region is home to 50+ start-ups and 10+ co-working spaces nestled amongst industry and research heavyweights such as CSIRO’s Energy Centre, the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), University of Newcastle, aerospace titan Boeing Defence Australia, and BAE Systems which is supporting Australia’s first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters’ entry into service with the Royal Australian Air Force.

A major success story is oncolytic biotech, Viralytics, which began as a Hunter-based start-up and has since been acquired for $502 million to commercialise its work in applying the common cold virus to preferentially infect and kill cancer cells.

More proof of the increasing interest in innovation in the region came with the recent Hunter Innovation Festival, which ballooned from just 13 events in 2018 to 46 a month ago in 2019.

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