Victoria hunts for operator of $10m Cremorne digital hub

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

The Victorian government is on the hunt for a private operator to run a $10 million digital hub in Cremorne, which it aims to be the “driving force behind Victoria’s tech and creative sector”.

Last year’s state budget included $12 million for the development of a digital hub in the inner Melbourne suburb of Cremorne, which already houses tech giants including SEEK and MYOB.

The Victorian government has now posted an expression of interest for private companies looking to establish and operate the hub, which will deliver “technology and innovation capability, digital skills development and jobs creation”.

Swan Street, Melbourne. Photo: Ian Will

The state government will anchor the new hub, providing up to $10 million in seed funding over four years, after which it is expected the hub will be operated independently.

Companies are being encouraged to apply in partnership to run the hub, and are required to provide a conceptual business model with an “innovative program of initiatives and activities that can deliver on the Victorian government’s vision, objectives and outcomes”.

The state government wants there to be a digital presence for the hub in this financial year.

“This milestone is critical to efficiently respond to the changing global landscape for high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. There is a major opportunity to capitalise on these changing dynamics to develop Cremorne into a global scale, connected and competitive precinct that attracts local and international talent and drives job creation and business growth,” the government EOI said.

An actual physical location in Cremorne has not been selected and applicants are required to find a spot as part of their application.

The state government is looking for a number of “essential” and “desirable” activities at the hub, centred on technology diffusion, digital sector connectedness, knowledge diffusion and a global brand value.

The essential deliverables include precinct and sector networking, research-industry collaboration, talent attraction and for the hub to be a “front door” for Victoria’s digital sector.

The desirable outcomes include a focus on IP and commercialisation, a centralised component with a surrounding network and a framework for social inclusion.

Cremorne will also be home to a new Australian Sports Innovation Centre for Excellence, with the Victorian government announcing earlier this month it would be providing $4 million to the initiative.

The Victorian government has also recently gone to the market for fund managers for two separate funds.

In May it opened applications for a private manager for its $50 million venture growth fund, which will use venture debt to fill a funding gap for local startups.

Two months later, applications were opened for a manager for its $120 million “fund of funds”, which will back early-stage tech firms in the state.

The state government will also invest $180 million to establish a new centre of innovation at the old Holden factory on the outskirts of the Melbourne CBD.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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