By Holger Dielenberg
The Hon. Philip Dalidakis State Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy visited Space Tank Studio on the 13th of September.
Minister Dalidakis received a personal tour of the manufacturing incubator by Space Tank’s founder Holger Dielenberg to experience where the LaunchVic funded Bench to Business Training Program takes place.
The Bench to Business training program has attracted 50 razor sharp product development startups who will complete user centred design, prototyping technology and business skills training. Candidates were selected on their readiness to commercialise their intellectual property and enter export markets.
Minister Dalidakis came face to face with emerging innovators tackling global challenges in Space Tank’s Tech Lab; Marteen Burger from ‘Jaunt’ pitched their electric vehicle concept, Brodwen Mc Bain presented a new medical prosthetic under consideration for global patents and Saeed Dadvar unveiled a new disruptive technique for 3D printing of carbon composite products that is attracting attention from European interests.
Emerging manufacturing is the innovation ‘blind-spot’ in Melbourne’s startup scene and Space Tank has taken a lead to bridge this gap. Business incubators generally cater to desk orientated businesses, leaving product developers and manufacturing startups out in the cold. This is significant because a maker’s journey is a lot harder and there are many more hurdles to negotiate. A healthy economy needs to support its emerging makers because a strong manufacturing cluster supports more parallel industries than any other sector.
One of the most exciting trends at Space Tank is that women are competing in advanced manufacturing and design centric engineering. The blue collar days of male dominated factory floors are well and truly over. As computer aided manufacturing becomes the norm, we are seeing more women using Space Tank.
Dani Storm explains how her disruptive furniture concepts were met with derision and “it can’t be done” comments from our local industry and now her work is being taken on by international property developers.
“Women are naturally better than men at designing good solutions and making ergonomic products” Holger said. “… mainly because they generally have higher levels of empathy and are more willing to break the mould and learn new ways of doing things.”
Minister Dalidakis congratulated Space Tank’s achievements while acknowledging that advanced manufacturing is growing in Melbourne.
“It’s incredibly impressive to see how Space Tank is supporting our young entrepreneurs and product makers. To provide a facility to enable young developers to expand is really exciting.”
“It means that we have an ability to not just talk about our advanced manufacturing capabilities but actually support people as they take on this pathway.”
The Minister’s visit coincided with Space Tank’s fifth anniversary of operations in Melbourne’s north. To mark the occasion, Space Tank Founder Holger Dielenberg presented Mr. Dalidakis with a commemorative plaque boldly proclaiming… #makeit.
Minister Dalidakis invited local Member for Parliament, Lizzie Blandthorn on the tour who was proud to recognise such strong grass roots support in her own back yard, “It’s fantastic to think that this area has gone from old style manufacturing to now becoming a hub for new manufacturers”, she said.
Local councils and State Government are becoming very interested in manufacturing incubation because they see how this builds jobs and supports broader industry growth. LaunchVic’s funding support of $250,000 for the Bench to Business training program is an important way for the Victorian Government to help emerging manufacturers strategise their business growth around product development. Space Tank is very proud to be a part of this solution.
After five years of successful operation and growth, Space Tank has proven a viable business model and is now ready to invest in high end advanced manufacturing infrastructure to meet demand. Holger said, “Space Tank now has a proven track record that demonstrates every time we upgrade our manufacturing technology offering, we attract higher calibre innovators and product developers.”
“Melbourne has a huge population of hungry product developers who are eager to take on the world – we are providing them with a runway.”
Space Tank is open to considerations for equipment sponsorship and infrastructure funding support. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org