Wednesday, 08 August 2018 11:52

Digital marketplace aims to help hire out under-used facilities

The University of Wollongong Science Space, one of the many under-used facilities in the state. The University of Wollongong Science Space, one of the many under-used facilities in the state. Supplied

A start-up from Shoalhaven, NSW, has developed a digital marketplace for hiring out under-used facilities and provide the community with access to places where they could hold social functions or sports events.

Berry-based Vennu received a $25,00 Minimum Viable Product grant from Jobs for NSW to develop the digital platform and run a pilot program.

NSW Deputy Premier and Small Business Minister John Barilaro said at Tuesday's launch: “This is a terrific example of how Jobs for NSW can help local technology startups become high-growth, job-creating businesses of the future.

“Jobs for NSW is dedicated to supporting regional start-ups and scale-ups, with 30% of its $190 million fund earmarked for regional entrepreneurs.”

Vennu founder and chief executive Suzanne Campbell launched the app to help community members access spaces more easily, and “asset-rich” organisations increase their utilisation and returns.

“Our mobile-first platform will make it easy for the owners of under-used facilities to hire them out to make money and at the same time provide the community with access to an abundance of unique spaces for social functions and sports events,” she said.

“The fact is there are many facilities like schools, sporting facilities and churches that are largely dormant while the public cries out for more local event spaces,” she said.

Campbell said property analyst CoreLogic estimated there were more than 100,000 community facilities across Australia.

“For asset-rich but cash-poor organisations like scouting groups and lifesaving clubs, increasing use of their facilities through hiring can provide a big financial boost,” she said.

“Vennu will bring customers and suppliers together efficiently and confidently just like Uber does for sharing car rides, or Spacer does for renting storage space.”

Vennu will launch its pilot in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven region in July with partners including Scouts NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW and others, before looking to expand.

Campbell said financial support from Jobs for NSW and the use of the Sydney Startup Hub’s Regional Landing Pad had been vital to the platform’s development.

“Jobs for NSW has been fantastic, and for us to have space to work at the Sydney Startup Hub, where we can engage with other startups has been hugely convenient and beneficial.”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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