Innovation hub designed to help start-ups capitalise on their ideas.
The creation of the Darwin Innovation Hub in mid-2017 provided the Northern Territory with its first custom built innovation facility that brings together entrepreneurs, start-up opportunities, talent and capital – all under the one roof.
DIH founder and Chief Executive Harley Paroulakis said the incubator had partnered with the Federal and Northern Territory governments and Charles Darwin University.
“In July 2017, Paspalis successfully tendered for and was awarded the Federal Government’s Incubator Support Program for the Northern Territory, a partnership with the Northern Territory Government and Charles Darwin University,” he said.
“This has resulted in the creation of the Darwin Innovation Hub, a new incubator in that will attract and support start-ups through the commercialisation of research, co-working, seed funding, mentoring and introductions to valuable international networks.”
Paspalis has invested about $3 million into building up the infrastructure at the hub, and will now invest an additional $500,000 cash plus in-kind support alongside the Northern Territory Government’s $250,000 and Federal Government’s $500,000 to implement the program.
“I’ve really thrown myself into this project 100 per cent, which puts a lot of pressure on me to make it work. By year three we want to see 75 start-ups, 25 commercialised; $10-20 million in venture capital invested and the creation of 100 jobs in the ecosystem,” he said.
One of the other goals of the DIH relates to leveraging our vicinity to the Asian region. Mr Paroulakis wants to send an NT business to China and bring a Chinese business to the Territory.
“First, we attract a Chinese company to the Northern Territory that is able to test bed an innovation or technology in a Northern Territory industry,” he said.
“Our industry sectors or ‘sandbox’ are vast and wide-ranging from energy generation opportunities, agritech, oil and gas tech, mining and exploration technology, aquaculture and research and development opportunities at Charles Darwin University. The second, backing a Northern Territory innovation company to set up in China. Our company is also open to the possibility of developing partnerships with Chinese companies in the innovation and investment sectors potentially via a parallel venture capital funding agreement that focuses on Belt Road innovation investments between our two countries.”
DIH offers many aspects to help start-ups reach their potential including an expert in residence program. DIH has partnered with CDU to provide expert in residence activities within the university and VET context. The experts project includes events, workshops and mentoring at both DIH and CDU that will underpin the DIH Innovation Program.
There are three experts in residence. These are Dean Alle who specialises in IP & Research Commercialisation; Karmen Karamanian who is a brand expert, graphic web and app designers and Matt Bell who has specialist skills in cloud accounting, business set up, administration and accounting.
“We’re excited to bring three new experts into the HUB, as part of the federal Governments Expert-in-Residence program,” Mr Paroulakis said. “This program will allow DIH to boost its innovation support.
“The program will provide expert mentoring and strategic planning to provide our start-ups with the best chance of commercializing both locally and nationally.
” Specialist support will be provided to link opportunities across the region as well as into overseas markets.”