The Vice-Chancellor welcomed HRH The Duke of York to officially open the Macquarie University Incubator on campus, at a ceremony in the new building attended by local member of Parliament the Hon. Victor Dominello, University Council members, sponsors and friends of the University, and young entrepreneurs from around the country.
The ceremony began with a traditional smoking ceremony, and a Welcome to Country from local Aboriginal elder Aunty Julie Jenson, a Darug woman whose people are the traditional owners of the land upon which the University sits.
The Vice-Chancellor affirmed the University’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurialism. “The changing world of work will see many of today’s young people working in roles and companies that don’t exist yet. We want to empower our young people to create those roles and companies. Entrepreneurship is an essential skill set to help them realise that vision, allowing them to build on their areas of study and future-proof themselves for their careers after graduation,” he said.
The Incubator was built with support from the New South Wales Department of Industry, and Mr Dominello represented the government and spoke on their behalf. “From this investment, we have seen a great number of benefits for SMEs,” he said. “[It] continues to unlock opportunities for them…making it easier to grow and succeed.”
In launching the Incubator, the Duke of York remarked on the time taken to build the facility and the increasing demand for dedicated infrastructure and support for entrepreneurial students: “I’m pleased it only took you a few months to build, because in a couple of years you’ll need to take it down and build a bigger one,” he said. In touring Australia with his global entrepreneurialism competition, Pitch@Palace On Tour, he reflected on the enthusiasm for innovation and start-ups across the country, and the pace with which they are moving.
Following the launch, The Duke of York joined invited judges from Accor Group, KPMG, Virgin Australia and Westpac for the combined NSW, Western Australian and Northern Territory final of Pitch@Palace On Tour. Competitors were given three minutes to pitch their start-up idea to the panel, with winners progressing to a national final to be held at Sydney’s Government House later in the week.