Adelaide University launches new home for innovative start-ups

By Melissa Keogh

A new innovation hub aimed at giving local start-ups a boost has been launched by the University of Adelaide.

ThincLab Adelaide will provide a supportive business environment and drive entrepreneurship opportunities for students, staff and community members.

This month 50 new ventures are expected to move into the ThincLab headquarters which the university says will help foster innovation for the State.

ThincLab is located next to the University of Adelaide’s Business School and its Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC).

Tenants will be from a range of industries, including health, agriculture, aerospace and automotive engineering, environment, energy, digital gaming, science communications, and food and drink.

Premier Jay Weatherill officially launches ThincLab at the University of Adelaide. Photo courtesy ThincLab, University of Adelaide.

Premier Jay Weatherill officially launches ThincLab at the University of Adelaide. Photo courtesy ThincLab, University of Adelaide.

ThincLab, officially opened by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill earlier this month, will offer start-ups a space to access tools and resources while also allowing them to network with academics and business mentors.

It will house a state-of-the-art prototyping lab and design studio with the latest 3D printers and technology.

University of Adelaide’s interim vice-chancellor Professor Mike Brooks says ThincLab Adelaide is an exciting initiative not only for the university but the State in general.

“ThincLab represents a boosted commitment to commercialisation and entrepreneurship in SA,” he says.

“It reinforces our leadership nationwide of entrepreneurship, and in education and outreach programs aimed at fostering innovation, a leadership position the University of Adelaide has held for many years.”

Professor Mike Brooks

The University of Adelaide’s interim vice-chancellor Professor Mike Brooks at the ThincLab launch. Photo courtesy of ThincLab, University of Adelaide.

The value of forward thinkers has been a hot topic in Adelaide recently, with Entrepreneurs Week attracting big-name entrepreneurs, including Texan Suzi Sosa, to the city from July 3–7.

The nearby ECIC runs Australia’s biggest investor-ready program, the Australian eChallenge, which stimulates innovation and business ideas among local entrepreneurs.

Over the past six months, last year’s Australian eChallenge finalists secured more than $5m in funding for their start-up ventures.

Professor Noel Lindsay, pro vice-chancellor entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide and ECIC director, says ThincLab builds on the years of success achieved with the Australian eChallenge.

“We see ThincLab as a place where unconventional thinkers can give their ideas an unfair advantage,” he says.

“It’s home to creative thinkers, to disrupters, people who are willing to challenge the norm and give new ideas a go.”

“Entrepreneurship is about creating new jobs in industries that might not yet exist.”