Establishing the iMake Maker Space on the UOW Innovation Campus

Wollongong is already building a reputation as a hub for innovation in New South Wales.

The University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus has become a focus point for Wollongong’s role in the new economy and for some time has been lobbying for funding for a new prototype space (Maker Space) to provide small and medium enterprises, both existing businesses and new ones, with access to the technology and expertise that they need to develop and test their ideas.

As an addition to the Wollongong Science Centre it would also provide space for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education and training activities for school aged children and their teachers.

The iMake Maker Space will provide technologies such as 3D printers, design software, laser cutters that would ordinarily be out of reach of small and medium sized enterprises available to those businesses on a pay-for-use basis.

This helps to reduce the barriers to access to technology that small and medium businesses face when they are trying to develop a new idea to support existing jobs or create new ones.

A Foley Labor government will provide $5 million to build a maker space on the University of Wollongong’s innovation campus to provide the infrastructure for the research and design work needed to deliver new technological advancements and business models

While the Illawarra’s economy has been shifting towards services, manufacturing remains an important foundation. 

The nature of manufacturing has and will continue to change.  Specialised, advanced manufacturing incorporating on-going service of produced goods, including research and design is becoming the way of the future for this crucial sector.

iMake will also provide an avenue where small and medium sized businesses can gain access to the right researchers and research at UOW and provide new entrants into the iAccelerate start-up incubator.

Labor’s support for the iMake Maker Space comes as part of its commitment to utilising the emerging technologies of the ‘sharing economy’. 

Businesses like Airbnb can contribute to the regional economies by enticing visitors to visit areas outside traditional tourist hotspots benefiting homeowners, local businesses and tourists. 

Initiatives like the iMake Maker Space will allow the Illawarra to play its part in the new economy.