An incubator for innovative business ideas

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The next generation of South West entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators gathered together for the first time on March 7, with the inaugural event of the 2023 Ideas Place program held at the Lighthouse Theatre.

The Ideas Place aims to help people in the South West with innovative business ideas make them a reality, while giving them the tools and skills they need to become the business leaders of tomorrow.

The initial program participants include a farmer looking at ways to incorporate low-cost wool into environmentally-friendly fertilisers, the developer of an app to help streamline healthcare plans for people with a disability and a man growing shiitake mushrooms in his Warrnambool garage.

The Ideas Place consists of workshops, seminars and presentations from industry leaders and past and current successful entrepreneurs.

This is the second time that The Ideas Place has run, with the inaugural program held in 2019.

Warrnambool City Council Manager Economic Development and Investment Stephen Hoy said that he was looking forward to seeing how the participants grew and developed their ideas over the next year.

“It was great to hear from Ideas Place graduate Jarrod Pickford at the event, who has founded a successful podcast audio tour company. But he started with just an idea, and a motivation to make it work, and the Ideas Place helped him to make it a reality,” he said.

“It can be pretty daunting to start any new business, let alone one that’s really innovative and might not have been done before. The Ideas Place helps by giving you access to experts to guide you along the path of testing all aspects of your idea before preparing you to bring it to market. 

“With the disruptions caused by COVID-19, and how the pandemic accelerated trends or changed consumer behaviour, there are opportunities for new businesses to adapt and find niches, fulfilling the wants and needs of customers that may have been completely different even a few years ago.”

The Ideas Place is a partnership between the Warrnambool City, Moyne Shire and Corangamite Shire Councils, South West TAFE, Food and Fibre Great South Coast and LaunchVic.