Finalist

Innovation and Collaboration Space of the Year Award

Innovation Quarter, IQX

Finalist of the Innovation and Collaboration Space of the Year Award

"Transform your business at IQX"


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Summary

At IQX, we help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) grow, scale and commercialise. We believe in bridging the gap between industry and academia. The ‘X’ in IQX stands for knowledge exchange: the exchange of knowledge and ideas between researchers and industry encourages creativity, disruption and innovation. Since 2018, IQX members have secured more than AUD$2 million in investments and generated 46 new jobs. In just one success story, digital health company Progressive Medical was acquired by Curve Tomorrow and is now working to improve the lives of 1 billion people worldwide. In a unique operating model, IQX is an innovation and collaboration space powered by a partnership between The University of Western Australia and Business Foundations, the largest not-for-profit business advisory service in Australia. We combine our resources to facilitate partnerships that have far-reaching benefits for SMEs, students and researchers. IQX’s members have access to academic expertise, student talent and alumni networks, while the University’s students and researchers can tap into the knowledge and capacity of IQX members, who work across tech start-ups, social enterprises and investment firms, medtech companies and consultancies. Further, IQX is a member of the Asian Association of Business Incubation, the region’s only network of business incubators and co-working spaces. This gives IQX members access to over 8,000 spaces across Asia and market entry to an extensive ecosystem of partners and customers. With a unique focus on growing SMEs through university collaboration, IQX is committed to nurturing innovation in the region.

Key People


Mr. Rob Shannon
Associate Director
Innovation Quarter,  The University of Western Australia



Dr. Jo Hawkins
Business Manager
Innovation Quarter,  The University of Western Australia



Ms. Zoe Vos
Space Curator
IQX,  Business Foundations



Mr. Phil Kemp
CEO
Business Foundations,  Business Foundations


Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the support from Convocation of UWA Graduates who contributed seed funding to kick-start and de-risk the launch of IQX.

Images

IQX hero

Co-working floor

Collaborative breakout zone

Convocation boardroom

Co-working pod

Graduate talent poster

IQX outdoor community event

IQX student pitch - drone technology company

IQX infographic

IQX student pitch - social enterprise

IMPACT STORY

Impacting lifes

When UWA graduate Andrew Walker founded Fleet Engineering, he never imagined his path would lead back to campus. Four years ago, Andrew and his small team were working from the basement of a trampoline park building delivery software for businesses to manage their mobile workforce by tracking jobs and staff locations.

Andrew’s trajectory changed dramatically when UWA’s Innovation Quarter brokered a deal for his start-up, Fleet Engineering, to operate from campus in return for teaching, tutoring and other collaborative services.

Andrew and his team moved into the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the beginning of 2016. Through co-location, Fleet Engineering joined the University community, often recruiting graduates directly to join their start-up. Many of these graduates had been offered jobs abroad at Google and Atlassian, but decided to stay local and work for a start-up that offered greater responsibilities and a share in Western Australian innovation.

In July 2018, Andrew and his team of eight employees became a founding member of IQX. Soon after, IQX and Fleet Engineering reached a major milestone when Dublin-based WeBringg acquired Fleet Engineering, valuing the company at more than AUD$3 million. In February 2019 Andrew, as CTO of WeBringg, signed a contract with Burger King to provide the software that will manage the food chain’s new self-delivery strategy in New Zealand.

Andrew’s entrepreneurial dreams are being realised, brought about by industry-university collaboration, and UWA talent operating from IQX. Not bad for a company that started in the basement of a trampoline park.

LEARNINGS

Lessons learned

Operate the innovation space like a sustainable business. Innovation spaces aren’t primarily about making money. However, charging for access and use of facilities allows universities to sustain high quality operations and services. It means the space has resources to grow as your members scale, and sustains high quality services which further drive business growth. Sustainability creates a virtuous cycle for university innovation spaces.

2. Build partnerships and find your niche. Innovation spaces exist to increase the impact of the wider ecosystem. By partnering with existing innovation spaces, you can leverage their learnings and ensure your space doesn’t duplicate available services, allowing your space to attract a new audience.

3. Find the entrepreneurial people in your university to facilitate collaboration. Managing an innovation space requires a level of entrepreneurship. Use the innovation space to draw out the entrepreneurial talent within your own university, and leverage these people to facilitate collaboration between members and the wider university.

4. Hold events, lots of them. Events and networking functions bring university, community and industry people to the space. The innovation space has a duty to facilitate collaboration between the university and industry. Public events are a low-barrier method of kick-starting connections, learning and collaboration between people who otherwise wouldn’t make contact.

5. Keep it fun. Innovation is hard work. For the first time entrepreneur or innovator, it can be a very stressful experience. The innovation space should also be a place to socialise, promoting health and wellbeing to members whilst growing their business.

FUTURE PLANS

What's coming?

Three strategic priorities guide future activities for IQX:

1. Engaging openly and ensuring innovations benefit the widest possible range of communities.

2. Being the pre-eminent leader in innovation and entrepreneurship in the region surrounding the Indian Ocean Rim.

3. Building deeper and broader partnerships with industry, governments and not-for-profits to commercialise new innovations.

Engaging openly

UWA IQX is evolving from operating as an innovation space into an innovation precinct. Planning is underway to expand the current offering by opening up several new buildings for members. This will create space for more diverse members to join the region’s first innovation precinct dedicated to commercialisation and university collaboration.

Being the pre-eminent leader in innovation

IQX will make use of the University’s global linkages, positioning itself as a soft-landing centre for businesses being developed in other universities that wish to re-locate or open a satellite office in Western Australia. The value proposition to these businesses is access to the global resources extraction industries based in Western Australia (mining, oil and gas) and the agriculture and aquaculture industries, which benefit from world class research institutes connected to these industries.

Building deeper and broader partnerships

IQX will introduce an accelerator program that connects relevant industry and government partners with doctoral and post-doctoral students who are looking for collaborators to help them commercialise their IP. For accelerator partners, IQX will offer space, mentoring and support, and the opportunity to link to UWA community to create new projects and further develop the technology to solve their problems.


KEY STATISTICS

$2+ mil AUD

Investment raised by IQX member companies

46+

New jobs created by IQX member companies

250+

Events held at IQX

15,000+

Total visits to IQX

91

Active IQX memberships

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