South Australia searching for incubators to fulfil key innovation projectBy Benito Carbone
The South Australian government has issued an Expression of Interest to find companies to take up more than 23,000m2 of space available at its Lot Fourteen innovation hub, a former hospital site bordering the parklands that surround the capital city.
The state’s Minister for Industry and Skills, David Pisoni, said they are looking for co-working incubator and accelerator operators with a strong track record of supporting startups to express their interest in developing the hub.
“The hub will accommodate business ventures and entrepreneurs by providing an environment that stimulates competitive advantage to grow a strong business rapidly,” Pisoni said.
“Experienced private co-working incubator and accelerator operators bring the culture and knowledge to accelerate the path to market for startups, helping entrepreneurs tap into and commercialise their creative flare to solve problems.”
Pisoni said the precinct can support up to 650 workspaces as well as conference rooms, event facilities and meeting spaces. Current tenants include defence and space companies as well as machine learning, robotics and cyber security researchers.
“The expression of interest process itself is designed to provide a privately-led and commercially operated hub, as recommended through extensive research and industry engagement,” he said.
“True success is less about picking winners than providing the essential conditions for entrepreneurs to thrive.”
The redevelopment sits on the remnants of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital on Adelaide’s North Terrace at the northeastern end of the CBD.
The buildings were decommissioned last year due to the opening of a new $2.1 billion hospital on the same street but at the northwestern corner of the city.
Lot Fourteen – the name derived from the allotments that South Australian Surveyor-General Colonel William Light laid out in his 1837 plan for Adelaide – is envisioned by the state government to become a “globally-recognised creation and innovation neighbourhood”.
The seven-hectare block will house short-stay accommodation and an International Centre for Tourism, Hospitality and Food Studies, as well as a “public realm and cultural precinct”.
This precinct will be integrated with the adjacent Botanic Garden, two nearby universities and the annual setting of Adelaide’s famous Fringe Festival.
The site’s heritage-listed buildings have been marked for significant adaptive re-use onsite, which has been coupled with the construction of new commercial buildings to accommodate a variety of tenants.
The hub will also house the Office of South Australia’s Chief Entrepreneur, Jim Whalley.
The former fighter pilot and Harvard graduate co-founded Nova Group in 2000, forming a now internationally renowned aeronautics company based in Adelaide.
“Entrepreneurs should be celebrated as the heroes of our community. They have the courage to take risks, to create the future, and make mistakes along the way,” Whalley said.
“We need to inspire more people to embark on this journey.”