Omar Khalifa, CEO of iAccelerate talks about the value of connections in the innovation ecosystem 

Accelerators and incubators such as iAccelerate are in many ways dynamic switchboards that spend a lot of effort creating, valuing and reinforcing connections across all parts of what is today termed the “innovation ecosystem” – but for us it goes further than what may be readily apparent.

The overlay pictured below is just the first layer that our group came up with as we began to re-assess who we need to communicate with and how.  The elements of course included the usual suspects – business, government, community and media.  We also add other accelerators, our own residents, mentors, the University of Wollongong and its many departments, researchers, students, relevant associations and faculty.

Where there is no easy link or capability in place we look to create one – like our own iAccelerate Seed Fund (our first is in conjunction with Artesian) or a cohort of angel investors and an outreach program with other regional hubs.

Community plays a big role: We specify caterers using local produce; we feature local beers at our events; our tables are made by a local recycler artisan.  We now house the local arts festival creators. 

Will every connection be useful?  No.  But sometimes we just have to be ready to take that call…

Omar Khalifa, CEO, iAccelerate



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