Canadian innovation experience comes to Wollongong

[box]#feb026[/box]It takes more than a great idea to succeed as a start-up, says Canadian expert visiting UOW to share his experience with budding entrepreneurs.

Find and develop the entrepreneur in the person and the idea will often follow, says Andrew Jackson, who has spent the past eight years helping a Canadian city become a hot-bed of high-tech innovation.

Mr Jackson, Vice President of Client Services at the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, Canada, is in Wollongong to share with tonight’s UOW Entrepreneur Club (eClub) meeting the lessons gleaned from eight years of building a start-up culture. 

“People are entrepreneurs and they don’t even realise it,” Mr Jackson said. “You’ll hear people who are successful talk about how they had the lemonade stand when they were young or sold newspapers - that’s entrepreneurial and these are the people you want running your business.

“You need to find the entrepreneur, not only the product they’re inventing.

“People come to us with great ideas and they need to become business people or they come to us as great business people and we need to figure out how to create a better product.”

The Waterloo Accelerator Centre cultivator of technology entrepreneurship has in its eight-year existence created 120 companies, more than 1,000 jobs and injected CAN$100 million into the region’s economy.

It lists the telecommunications company BlackBerry, a Waterloo start-up formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM), as one of the major success in fulfilling its Canadian-Government brief to build multinational companies.

Mr Jackson is visiting iAccelerate to further the Canadian collaboration with iAccelerate in Wollongong and is the guest speaker at tonight’s eClub meeting where he said he would provide insights into what makes a successful start-up company by highlighting experiences from Waterloo.

UOW’s Director of Innovation and Commercial research, Elizabeth Eastland, said the visit further enhanced the relationship between iAccelerate and Waterloo and would allow the UOW incubator to adapt the Canadian programs to suit the Illawarra as it seeks to accelerate the creation, growth, and maturation of sustainable new technology companies for the benefit of the region and broader economy.

“The advantage that we’re excited about offering to iAccelerate is that we are now eight years in operation, so we are night and day compared to where we were eight years ago,” Mr Jackson added.

“We had no idea what success was going to look like, so the advantage we’re hoping to bring is the knowledge of all the trials and tribulations that we have learned from.

“It’s as if iAccelerate are starting with eight years experience in their back pocket."

iAccelerate is also accepting applications for the next intake of its Start program -  where people with ideas can access a shared working space in a structured, creative environment where residents are offered entry-level business development support.

WHEN: 5:30-7:30pm tonight (26 March)
WHERE: Leon-Kane Maguire Theatre, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, North Wollongong. Tours of the facility will be conducted from 4:30pm, contact info@iaccelerate.com.au to book.
RSVP: join this event page or email Stephane Recouvreur at stephane@uow.edu.au.
MORE INFO: iaccelerate.com.au