Optus has become the newest resident of the Sydney Startup Hub, today opening its Optus Innovation Hub, where it aims to collaborate with startups and small businesses (SMBs) to develop new products and solutions for customers.
Matt Ball, vice president of Optus SMB, said the hub evolved out of the company’s Yes Business platform, an online portal housing advice and educational resources for SMBs.
“As much as [Yes Business] helped us share information about SMBs, we learned about them too…and we learned that having a physical space, where they can engage with one another, is just as important as an online space,” he said.
According to Ball, the hub’s doors will be open to startups and SMBs who need support with their business challenges or taking new ideas further, with Optus to also host hackathons and innovation challenges at the hub in a bid to bring collaborators together.
“This is not about us slapping on a logo and saying, ‘we’re here’. This is about connectivity, mobility, and community. Far too often corporates think they have the answer; big businesses aren’t transforming the way of the world, small businesses are transforming the world. Disruption doesn’t come in the form of big business anymore, disruption comes in the form of small business,” Ball said.
“We seek, through this residency, to transform the Optus SMB proposition, and have our customers help develop the products of the future for small business, and tell us, how can we improve?”
With Optus opening up its APIs to collaborators, the first innovation challenge will run on July 9 in partnership with Macquarie University, asking participants to come up with answers to the question of how Optus can support SMBs to grow digitally.
As we come to a year since the launch of the Sydney Startup Hub itself was first announced by the state government, NSW Minister for Innovation Matt Kean said he was thrilled to see the Sydney Startup Hub continuing to expand and facilitate growth.
“It’s incredibly important that we unlock more opportunities for startups to collaborate and innovate with big business, and this is a perfect example of just that,” he said.
“These innovative companies are carving out the next generation of jobs and businesses for our country, and I’m pleased to see some of our best and brightest innovators working together to create a prosperous future for our country.”
Opening on level 9 of the Sydney Startup Hub, the Optus Innovation Hub is located next door to Caltex’s C-Lab. The C-Lab is home to Caltex’s Digital team, which looks to “deliver innovative digital solutions that make life easier for its customers and employees”.
Among the other residents of the Sydney Startup Hub, along with the four coworking spaces who have taken up anchor tenancies, are Microsoft’s Scale Up Program, Innovation NSW, and Transport for NSW’s Future Transport Digital Accelerator.
Image: Matt Ball.