Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, left, UNE SMART Region Incubator Director Dr Lou Conway and University of New England Vice Chancellor and CEO Professor Brigid Heywood discussing the funding secured for the Scorched project across the region.
Monday, 10 May 2021.
A NEW initiative from the University of New England’s Smart Regional Incubator (UNE SRI) will ‘ignite’ the ideas of the local young people and support them to develop programs to improve natural disaster resilience, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing a $287,000 grant, funded by the State and Federal Government, for the Scorched project.
Mr Marshall said Scorched was a business resilience program for young entrepreneurs, which brought ideas, business and technology together to problem-solve the challenges restricting bushfire-resilience.
“As we all experienced during the devastation of the 2019-20 bushfires, no section of society goes untouched when a disaster of that magnitude sweeps through,” Mr Marshall said.
“Scorched offers a new insight into potential ways to increase community and business resilience by harnessing the ideas of a so far untapped part of the community, young entrepreneurs.
“Using its experience supporting new startup businesses, the UNE SRI will engage with young people to develop concepts on how to mitigate, recover and reform bushfire and natural disaster management.
“From next month a co-ordinator will be employed who, over the next two years, will run problem solving hackathon style events and workshops to discuss the challenges facing communities when it comes to natural disaster management.
“The participants will then be given an opportunity to work with the UNE SRI to build their ideas into a business start-up, before pitching it to existing businesses or government agencies for consideration.
“We owe it to those places hardest hit by the ‘Black Summer’ fires, villages like Ebor and Wytaliba, to leave no stone unturned when it comes to investigating new ways to address fire management.
“No idea is a silly one and I look forward to hearing the concepts which result from Scorched, and more importantly hope to see some of them implemented as practical solutions to protecting livelihoods and lives.”
Director of the UNE SMART Region Incubator Dr Lou Conway said when the energy, drive and passion of young people were brought to the challenges of climate reality, we have the fuel to generate new solutions and enterprises that can make a difference in our communities.
“Scorched will bring young people in our Armidale region together with technologists, land managers, business and community to help prototype solutions,” Dr Conway said.
“Scorched is looking to work with up to 200 young people, aged 12 to 35 years in the Armidale region. Key supporters of the UNE SRI application are BackTrack Armidale Secondary College, Renew Armidale and Armidale Regional Council.
“Members of all these organisations can make strong contributions towards developing more effective ways to tackle persistent challenges caused by climate variability.
“Who better to think about the future than the people who will own it – our young people?”