Leading Newcastle businesses back the region's innovation drive

Monday, 13 September 2021

The University of Newcastle today announced new partnerships with two Hunter industry leaders to drive forward the region’s innovation ecosystem.

Port of Newcastle and patent and trade mark attorney firm, Davies Collison Cave (DCC), are the inaugural Gold Strategic Partners in the University’s Integrated Innovation Network (I2N), an initiative that supports the region’s innovators and entrepreneurs through enterprise skill development, entrepreneurship, venture creation and scale-up support.

I2N Senior Manager, Siobhan Curran, said the Strategic Partners initiative recognised that a strong connection between entrepreneurs and industry was vital for a thriving innovation ecosystem.

“Since opening our doors in 2016, I2N has worked with more than 100 teams on exciting new ventures or innovations within an existing enterprise, in addition to thousands of individuals seeking to develop enterprise skills that are highly valued by employers,” she said.

“We know that an innovation ecosystem does not grow without connection and collaboration, and so our focus is on connecting innovators and entrepreneurs to community, customers, coaching and capital. Our Strategic Partnership program is pivotal to this focus.

“We are delighted that Port of Newcastle and DCC are joining I2N as our inaugural Strategic Partners. Port of Newcastle is among the most innovative organisations in the region, and DCC has a long history of working with innovators to create, protect and commercialise their intellectual property, including in Newcastle and the Hunter.”

Strategic Partners are offered a range of opportunities including input into the development of I2N’s programs to align with their businesses’ needs, opportunities to explore and develop commercial prospects, and VIP access to participants and partners.

Port of Newcastle Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Byrnes, said there was strong alignment between the Port’s strategic plans and I2N’s programs.

“As Australia’s deepwater global gateway, innovation underpins the Port of Newcastle’s long-term vision to diversify for the future and honour the Hunter region’s resilient and proud spirit,” he said.

“The Port is committed to fostering the innovation required to create new markets and opportunities. This partnership with the University’s I2N is a natural fit with exciting prospects for the future.”

The I2N Strategic Partnership with DCC offers program participants legal support in the specialised area of intellectual property,  including patents, trademarks, designs, copyright and confidential information. DCC’s Strategic Partnership includes a prize of an IP legal advice package to a pre-accelerator or pitching program participant each year.

“As leaders in IP protection, enforcement and commercialisation, we are thrilled to be able to share our expertise with the Hunter’s entrepreneurs and innovators through one-on-one consults, interactive workshops and presentations,” DCC Principal and patent attorney, Will Hird, said.

“IP is a major foundation piece for the success of any new business, startup, scale-up or enterprise. It creates a competitive advantage and should be a key part of overall business strategy. We look forward to working with Hunter businesses to help them explore their full potential.”

Opportunities are open for organisations to partner with I2N. For more information or interviews about the Strategic Partners program, contact Siobhan Curran, I2N Manager on 02 4921 6951 or siobhan.curran@newcastle.edu.au

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Pictured: Simon Byrnes, COO at Port of Newcastle (left). William Hird, Principal at Davies Collison Cave (right).


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.