partners with industry, partners with community
Celebrating a silver anniversary is a significant milestone, 25 years of developing your relationship, exploring and accepting your strengths and weaknesses, growing together through the ups and downs and becoming stronger together. In this case however it’s not a marriage, but a partnership between the region’s much loved university and its community. And there’s much to celebrate. SCU’s Pro Vice Chancellor of Engagement, Ben Roche, says 2019 will mark the university’s 25th year.
“We are proud to be a young progressive university that champions a model of regional and community engagement, along with our proud Indigenous and international heritage,” Ben says. “We believe that ideas that matter can be nurtured to have long reaching and lasting impact. Our university is a place where challenges faced locally, are translated into solutions that are nationally and globally relevant.”
The University has been continually meeting the needs of the Northern Rivers community with its proactive campus and course development over the years, by working hand in hand with industry and identifying local needs early.
It was this progressive thinking that led the University to establish the Southern Cross Enterprise Lab in 2017 in partnership with the NSW Government. Based at the Lismore campus, the Southern Cross Enterprise Lab fosters the region’s business creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Since its launch, the Lab has been nurturing entrepreneurs to develop solutions to problems worth solving, and focusing on the importance of developing entrepreneurial mindsets, capabilities and connections that allow new and existing businesses to thrive.
The Lab’s startups have access to a flagship collaboration and co-working facility complete with optic fibre broadband. They can tap into the knowledge and expertise of the university, and participate in workshops and short courses to boost innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The cornerstone of the Enterprise Lab’s approach to activating future entrepreneurs is our 3Cs Framework – Capability, Connection and Collaboration. The 3Cs methodology informs all that we do in the Lab and provides a conceptual and strategic framework for action and impact,” Ben says.
As a partner in the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program, Southern Cross University has been helping small to medium enterprises that are ready to scale up and innovate through research collaborations. This exciting program works by awarding TechVouchers on a competitive basis to eligible companies for amounts up to $15,000, with funding matched by cash from the business. The projects – using the university’s expertise, facilities and instruments – have ranged from chemical profiling of honey, a reduction of no-show rates at GP clinics, to fertiliser management strategies.
Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker is confident about the region’s future. “In an interconnected world our future prosperity, health and sustainability is closely bound to our capacity for innovation,” Adam says.