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    REVOLUTIONARY: From left, Digital Twins Victoria Program strategic lead Dr Adam Mowlam, Ararat mayor Jo Armstrong and Ararat council chief executive Dr Tim Harrison during an information session about Ararat’s inclusion in the program. Picture: DEAN LAWSON

Ararat digital hub to grow business

Ararat businesses and entrepreneurs will have a better opportunity to connect and collaborate through a digital hub in the rural city’s jobs and technology precinct.

Ararat Rural City Council has launched Ararat Community Hub and Digital Co-Working Space in Laby Street.

The multi-use hub features a modern design, from open floor plans to office greenery, furnished with standing desks, 85-inch smart screens and conference and workshop space.

It also includes three-dimensional printers, a photographic studio with a camera, backdrop and lighting, and sound-proof podcasting booths.

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Council chief executive Tim Harrison said the new digital hub and co-working space supported businesses and start-up groups in the community.

“We’re fortunate to be able to deliver a digitally sophisticated space for businesses and professionals to connect, collaborate and innovate,” he said.

“It’s a great outcome for our community, resulting from partnerships with the State Government, Federation University Australia and the council.

“In addition, we’ll have a strong research presence including a professor who will live and work in our community along with eight PhD students joining the precinct within the next two years. It’s also close to Ararat College – so hopefully, we’ll start to grow something pretty special in that space.”

Ararat mayor Jo Armstrong said the purpose of the hub was to accelerate business and employment growth.   

“It’s vital that we’re providing a physical space where people can get together, share knowledge, access and feel supported. The hub has the potential to help people cultivate ideas and grow their business, from shooting product with the built-in photographic studio, hosting workshops and meetings, and accessing better connectivity,” she said.

“The council’s economic development team has also relocated to the hub to assist with business support, investment attraction, training and business development.

“Having access to reliable digital technologies helps communities stay connected and pivot towards working online.”

 Co-owner of SubRosa Wine and ambassador for the co-working space Nancy Panter said the digital hub would provide a place for business people to access resources and tools.

“I’m very excited to hear the Ararat co-working space is now open to the public. As a small-business owner who lives out of town, a co-working space will help me grow our small business,” she said.

 “At the moment I use the library, cafes and my car to run my business while our children attend kindergarten and day care. I will work from this dedicated co-working space and I’m sure it will lead to increased productivity, growth and sustainability of our business.” 

The State Government has provided $92,000 for the project through its Regional Digital Fund.

The co-working space is open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. 

The community can use the space free of charge until further notice as part of Ararat Rural City Council’s COVID-19 business-support measures. The council will introduce a fee structure in 2022.

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!