News & Analysis

Incubate @ 35 degrees program launches in Wagga Wagga to support regional startups

- September 5, 2016 2 MIN READ

Wagga Wagga coworking space Working Spaces HQ has announced the launch of incubate @ 35 degrees, an incubator program looking to nurture and support people with ideas or problems, and help create entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups in regional Australia.

Created by Simone Eyles, founder of Working Spaces HQ and 365Cups, and Di Somerville, founder of RGTC Group and Australia’s first Regional Pitchfest, the program aims to help launch 100 startups by 2020 and scale the program across regional Australia.

Eyles said, “We knew the region had an appetite for such a program, but our ecosystem is so immature. However that is our opportunity, we want to grow an ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, create local jobs and diversify our local economy.”

The 10 week program will see participants meet weekly at Working Spaces HQ and take part in online activities to, among other things, help them leverage technology, market to the right customer, create a pitch deck, and explore revenue streams.

The startups taking part cover a range of industries, from foodtech to agritech, health and fitness, and social enterprise, with egg farmer Anna Lashbrook also taking part.

Having worked in nursing and aged care, Lashbrook sought to match her work as an egg farmer to her previous work and created a diversional therapy program where she brings chickens to visit nursing homes and childcare centres. Lashbrook is now looking to leverage technology to help fund the initiative so it can be offered to centres for free.

Michael McCormack, Federal Minister for Small Business and Member for the Riverine, said that Wagga is the perfect location for new, innovative businesses to get their start.

“Time and again we are reminded that the smart businesses of tomorrow don’t need to be in Silicon Valley, or even Sydney. There are many opportunities to build your dream in the heart of rural and regional Australia, with great flexibility and untapped local resources,” he said.

The potential of regional entrepreneurs was showcased at the Regional Pitchfest in Wagga in July, where 13 year old entrepreneur Michael Nixon took out the judges’ first prize and community choice with his pitch for edutech startup Edukits, beating out sportstech, subscription art, and social enterprise startups.

Of course, being a regional area, innovation in agritech is also strong and will be further explored at the Agrihack hackathon at Charles Sturt University this month.

Demo night for the first incubate @ 35 degrees cohort is set for 31 October.

Image: Anna Lashbrook. Source: Supplied.