New research has found that business innovation is stronger in the Hunter, with 46 per cent of the region’s businesses introducing new or improved products or services in 2017.
The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre released the latest research results on business innovation at its Hunter economic breakfast on 26 May. HRF Centre Lead Economist, Dr Anthea Bill said businesses in 2017 reported the highest rate of innovation since data collection began in 2009.
The degree of novelty in innovation within the Hunter remains low, however. In 2017, 25 per cent of Hunter firms introduced goods or services that were new to Australia but only seven per cent reported new to the world innovations. This is up from four per cent in 2015.
Most local innovation over that two-year period was new to the firm or industry.
“The research confirms the importance of innovation to business success with Hunter businesses engaged in innovation more likely to be profitable, exporting overseas and hiring workers,” Anthea said.
The HRF Centre also released the latest Hunter Economic Indicators data at the breakfast, a 2017 Hunter Innovation Festival event. Anthea said that although business confidence in the Hunter economy has softened from the highs of the December quarter, it remains above long-term averages in early 2017, and capital expenditure and hiring intentions have improved.
“While confidence in the region remains high, our index of household spending was below the long-term average, which fits with a softening in consumption nationally,” Anthea said.
“Employment within the Hunter also fell in the March quarter, reversing a rise in the December quarter,and unemployment has risen to 5.5 per cent to match the average NSW rate again.”
The breakfast was held at Wests City and introduced the HRF Centre’s new Director, Professor Will Rifkin, and featured a presentation by University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor for Industry Engagement and Innovation, Dr Sarah Pearson. An expert panel provided feedback on two business start-up pitches by local entrepreneurs.
IMAGE |New research from the Hunter Research Foundation Centre was released at its Hunter economic breakfast in May.