Hunter iF Limited announced the successful acquisition of the NEWiHub Innovation Community platform from the City of Newcastle. The NEWiHub platform, built by Ramen Life, is a robust and contemporary community platform designed to foster the growth and prosperity of innovation ecosystems. This acquisition marks a significant milestone for Hunter iF Limited as it strengthens its commitment to supporting the thriving innovation ecosystem in the Greater Newcastle and Hunter regions.
For over four years, NEWiHub has been a pivotal hub within the local innovation ecosystem, facilitating connections, disseminating valuable information, and fostering relationships among key stakeholders. Recognizing the platform’s exceptional value and immense potential for further growth, Hunter iF Limited has strategically decided to invest in NEWiHub and drive its expansion to benefit the community.
Hunter Innovation Festival (New Format 2022 – Present)
In 2022, Hunter iF Limited made significant changes to the format of the annual Hunter Innovation Festival, introducing a transformative Innovation Conference and an engaging exhibition with an external showcase. These changes were implemented to enhance the impact of the festival and better cater to the evolving needs of the innovation community in the Hunter region.
The addition of the Innovation Conference brought a new dimension to the festival, providing a centralized platform for leading experts, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders to share their insights, experiences, and innovative ideas. With carefully curated presentations, panel discussions, and workshops, the conference became a focal point for knowledge exchange, fostering collaboration, and inspiring the attendees to embrace forward-thinking ideas.
Moreover, the incorporation of the exhibition with an external showcase expanded the festival’s reach and accessibility. By creating an open and inclusive environment, the festival connected with a broader audience, including the general public. The external showcase brought innovation to the streets, allowing the wider community to experience and engage with cutting-edge technologies, startups, and projects. This move not only inspired the public but also attracted more interest and participation from potential investors and stakeholders, further nurturing the innovation ecosystem in the Hunter region.
Through these strategic changes, Hunter iF Limited succeeded in making the 2022 Hunter Innovation Festival a resounding success. By combining the Innovation Conference and the exhibition with an external showcase, the festival cemented its position as a vital catalyst for growth and collaboration in the region, empowering the local innovation community and attracting valuable resources to drive sustainable progress in the Hunter innovation ecosystem.
Innovators Lunch Series (New Format 2022 – Present)
Post Covid pandemic, Hunter iF relaunched its popular social gatherings with a new venue, partners and format. The Innovators Lunch series features a lineup of industry-recognised thought leaders who share their insights and experience on a range of topics to build stronger ties within the region’s innovation community including investors, entrepreneurs, executives, mentors, policy-makers, inventors and researchers from all industry sectors.
Hunter Innovation Festival (Acquired – 2021)
Hunter iF acquired the long-running and respected Hunter Innovation Festival from RDA Hunter. The aim of the festival was to educate, inspire and connect people to new ways of thinking, new opportunities and new collaborations over a 3 week period. Hunter iF coordinated and promoted 50 bring-your-own events across the Greater Newcastle and Hunter region with approximately 2000 attendees.
Innovators Lunch Series (2021)
Through the COVID pandemic, Hunter iF helped the organisers of the “Innovation Lunch”, Eighteen04 to deliver the popular monthly Innovators Lunch online, a social gathering for local entrepreneurs, researchers and people passionate about commercialising clean tech and smart city technologies.
Startup Xpress (2019)
Hunter iF built on the success of 2018‘s Startup Xpress by working with the regional innovation ecosystem to organise a pitch evening to promote our region as an innovation ‘hot spot’. The evening showcased our region’s best scaleups and startups to sophisticated investors and venture capitalists in Sydney. The aim was to also expose regional investors and mentors to new national and international.
Investor Training (2019)
Hunter iF teamed up with Slingshot, one of the most active and successful early-stage investors in Australia, to provide a free series of seminars on how to invest in the next generation of Startup businesses.
Media and Investor Outreach Program (2019)
Hunter iF organised and operated a media and investor tour of the Hunter region’s innovation ecosystem.
Mentor Training Program (2019)
The Mentor Training Program offered a comprehensive overview of the mentoring process, including the roles and necessary skills and better equip participants to establish and maintain successful mentoring relationships, helping mentees achieve their personal and professional goals. Mentors gained valuable skills in communication, active listening, and providing constructive feedback. The Mentor Training Program also offers the opportunity for mentors to connect with other experienced professionals and expand their network.
Local Innovation Network (2018)
Hunter iF Limited was selected to join The Local Innovation Network (LIN), which was a 12-month funding commitment by the NSW Government to develop regional entrepreneurship and support startups and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) across the state. The Local Innovation Network consists of seven emerging innovation locations in regional NSW, including Armidale, Bathurst, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, the Wollongong region, and Hunter iF Limited. Each area has one collaborative, community-led initiative funded by the NSW Government to provide local entrepreneurs with opportunities, facilities, and professional development to help them grow their businesses and create jobs. The participants were selected through an Expression of Interest process.
Hunter iF Limited incorporated (2018)
In 2018, Hunter iF Limited was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit for-purpose member-based organisation, with the help of initial funding from the Local Innovation Network (LIN) grant provided by the NSW Government. This funding played a crucial role in establishing Hunter iF Limited as an organisation dedicated to serving its members and the community. Today, the organisation continues to operate as a member-driven, not-for-profit entity, driven by its mission and values.
Regional Incubator Program (2018)
The Regional Incubator program was developed and delivered in partnership with The Business Centre, incubating approx. 25 startup and existing company ideas over a 3-month period to accelerate their growth via mentoring, capability building and connecting to opportunity.
The iF Report (2017)
The iF Report served as a roadmap to elevate the innovation ecosystem of the Greater Newcastle and Hunter region and led to the establishment of Hunter iF Limited, which seeks to unify and amplify the region’s innovation landscape into a sustainable global model. To attract entrepreneurs, investors, and industries to the region and diversify its economy, the report proposed a governance structure and engaged over 200 stakeholders from industry, government, and research think tanks and more than 300 people from the Greater Newcastle and Hunter region. Key stakeholders, include the University of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie City Council, Eighteen04, Hunter Angels, The Business Centre (Newcastle) and the City of Newcastle. The report serves as the foundation for the region’s economic, social, and environmental transformation and the development of a world-class innovation ecosystem, with a focus on engaging as many people as possible to build commitment and deliver results. It was published in late 2017 and set out the roadmap for the region’s success.