CONNECT with a better kind of cluster

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Innovation Cluster is to deliver the 2021 CONNECT Regional Innovation Hubs. Image: Pexels

The CONNECT Regional Innovation Hubs program is rearing up for it’s third year, held this year in Collie and South West regions.

The hubs are designed to benefit regional startups and small businesses who are searching for ways to accelerate growth.

Newly rebranded Innovation Cluster are the masterminds behind this year’s event. They are a South West business with a focus on regional innovation and development.

The six month CONNECT program is valued at more than $10 000 and is free for selected participants, applications close in less than two weeks on 6 April.

Innovation Cluster welcomes applicants both privatly run or not for profit, and from any industry.

Previous year’s events. Source: Innovation Cluster

This year the hubs will have a particular focus on tackling some of the relevant challenges faced by regional businesses today such as isolation and distance. Experienced mentors and experts will facilitate sessions regarding this and other issues.

Through a two-day business bootcamp and masterclass participants will learn about funding business growth, sales, partnerships,  business development,  export readiness, financial resilience, intellectual property, digital marketing and pitch training.

The CONNECT program also includes a networking event, the Regional Innovation Showcase. It is held in Perth Town Hall and allows regional innovators to connect with strategic partners, government stakeholders, industry leaders and investors to open doors to new marketing and funding.

The program includes various other events such as a regional pitch event. Participating busineses will benefit from free access to a co-working space for the full six months of the program

The event is supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. The CONNECT hubs are just one of a suite of programs run by Innovation Cluster.

Whats in store this year? Image: Innovation Cluster

More than 50 businesses across five regions have reaped the benefits of the program over the years. Many of these speak highly of the opportunity.

This program is absolutely invaluable to small businesses and I believe could be the difference between them surviving and thriving, not to mention prevent them from failing! I have enjoyed the program as much for those intangible things as I have for the skills I have developed the information I have [learned].

ANTHEA ABBOTT, ENHANCING LEARNING

“When applying to join this free program I was doubtful that there would be more than $10,000 of value, but nevertheless was keen to go ahead and see… On reflection I would say there [were] many multiples of this value created for our little business, that will grow year by year as the enunciated and [learned] principles are expanded on by my team!”  according to Peter Gilmore from Futari Wagyu.

 “It’s been fantastic to join in with other businesses from around WA to showcase the great innovation and energy that exists to grow WA’s economy and connections. Programs like this are critical to building local networks and businesses in our vast state and across the distances we face between regional communities and global markets,” said Florian Popp from Gemtek.

Innovation Cluster is not the only program supporting startups in Western Australia, with a supportive ecosystem across the state.

This year’s CONNECT regional program is set to kick off in May, for more information connect with Innovation Clusters.