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Illawarra ICT sector launches new campaign
Wollongong’s growing ICT sector is making an unconventional bid to attract more technology-enabled companies to the region and achieve the aim of becoming Australia’s answer to Silicon Valley.
Wollongong-based ICT companies within the Information and Communication Technology Illawarra (ICTI) cluster have joined forces with the University of Wollongong, Wollongong City Council, and NSW Trade & Investment to launch the ‘Wollongong is IT’ campaign at CeBIT, Australia’s largest ICT business event, from May 22-24. Wollongong is the only regional centre to be exhibiting at CeBIT.
During CeBIT, Wollongong’s business attraction initiative, Advantage Wollongong, will also be announced as a sponsor of the inaugural NASSCOM Innovation Students Award. The Award will honour innovative technology solutions being developed by graduate and post-graduate students across Australian universities.
According to Tony de Liseo, President of ICTI and Asia Pacific Manager for Wollongong-based Bond International Software, the campaign is designed to promote the competitive advantages of Wollongong to ICT businesses and large organisations looking to reduce costs by establishing shared services centres outside capital city CBDs.
“With high-speed communications, a world-class university and close proximity to Sydney, Wollongong is the ideal location for businesses looking to reduce costs and benefit from access to highly-skilled staff. ICTI is working closely with the University of Wollongong to develop programs to retain their highly-skilled ICT graduates through internships and work experience programs,” Mr de Liseo said.
Wollongong is also hoping to attract emerging technology businesses to the area and retain entrepreneurial students and graduates through the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate initiative. iAccelerate has a strong commitment to entrepreneurial education and includes an incubator, StartPad, now operational in the Wollongong CBD and UOW Entrepreneur Club which is attracting over 100 attendees to its meetings.
The centrepiece of the iAccelerate strategy is a planned 3,500sqm accelerator centre to be built on the University of Wollongong’s award-winning research and business precinct, Innovation Campus, which already houses IT companies Mphasis a HP company, CommScope, iTree and Tickets.com.
Elizabeth Eastland the Director of Innovation and Commercial Research at the University of Wollongong said: “Despite producing the most ICT graduates in Australia, the majority of our graduates have to leave Wollongong to pursue their careers. Through iAccelerate and the Wollongong is IT campaign, we hope to change that and, at the same time, diversify and grow the local economy.”
Companies looking to establish a base in the Illawarra may be eligible for government assistance through the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund (IRIIF). The $30 million Fund was launched last year in response to the restructure of BlueScope Steel at Port Kembla and aims to support the economic diversification of the region. It is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments and BlueScope Steel. Over $15 million in funding was committed in the first round of the IRIIF announced on 2 April. Applications for the second round of funding close on 25 May.
Wollongong is Australia’s eighth largest city, located 80km south of the Sydney CBD and one hour from Sydney International Airport. It offers an enviable quality of life, competitive business costs, and extensive business and industry networks and support services. Over 4,500 people are currently employed in the knowledge services sector across Wollongong according to NSW Trade & Investment (October 2010). For more information, visit http://advantagewollongong.com.au/
Jennifer Parker, Sage Communications
M: 0403 296 864
Craig Peden, Director, Corporate Relations
University of Wollongong
P: +61 2 4221 5407