Dantia Smart Hub (DaSH) has seen a boom in co-working demand in the year since the last Hunter Pitchfest was hosted in its Charlestown space, with the hub taking on another level of office space to accommodate its members’ growing teams and new ideas.
All signs are pointing to headway in the region’s wider startup community too. In fact, industry event Newy Startups’ i2N Hunter Pitchfest is expanding by making the move to the 110-seat Hoyts Cinema in Charlestown this year.
Someone who is no stranger to the changing trends in the innovation space is Harry Balding, who spends his weekdays as the DaSH Community Manager and evenings connecting and collaborating with entrepreneurs as a result of his role on the Newy Startups board.
“Over the past 12 months I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with and seeing the three winners of our 2016 Pitchfest succeed to varying degrees in the market,” said Harry.
“We’re seeing two of these three startups move into a growth stage, and are poised to make a big impact given a little more work on the product.”
Later this month, eight of the community’s brightest sparks will be selected to showcase their big ideas on the big screen, with only five minutes to convince both the judges and audience as to why their concept is the most creative, viable, scalable and likely to disrupt the market.
“In-house, we’re seeing some of the startups in our i2N Incubator @ DaSH program gearing up to put their application in to pitch on the night. There are three or four really viable startups that could feasibly take home the prize,” Harry said.
“So far we’ve had applications coming in from startups focused on solar power to fashion solutions, so there really is no saying what kind of pitches we’ll see on the night. If you’ve got a wacky idea, apply now as it might just be a winner.”
Deciding who will claim the $3,000 cash first prize will be Founder of Regional Angels, Andrew McCallum; Three76 Operations Coordinator, Siobhan Curran; and Founder of Slingshot Accelerator, Trent Bagnall.
The event is proudly supported by DaSH and the University of Newcastle’s i2N program, along with Growthwise and Lake Macquarie’s Economic Development Company, Dantia.
i2N Hunter Pitchfest is on Thursday 30 November from 6:00pm until 9:00pm at Hoyts Charlestown.
IMAGE | Harry Balding hosting Pitchfest in 2016.