Supporting innovation in Victorian SMEs

The DISH will provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) impacted by digital disruption and now reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic with access to a new collaboration and innovation hub at Deakin University’s Burwood Campus.

The repurposed and redesigned space and services will concentrate on SMEs in sectors such as manufacturing, utilities, health and social care, traders, technical trades, agriculture, professional services and technology providers.

In its first two years the project will deliver an array of services and allow businesses to access Deakin’s research, education, and partnership capabilities to provide support services and technologies to drive business growth in a post-COVID world.

The project has been supported by a $2 million dollar investment through the Victorian Government’s Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF), a further $1 million will come from industry investment, while Deakin is backing the project with $3.5 million.

Projects and timelines

Businesses that partner with The DISH will have access to Deakin’s expertise in business, law, arts, health and information technology domains such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), software engineering, machine learning and automation.

This will be combined with Deakin’s know-how in industry collaboration and translational research and commercialisation, resulting in impactful business growth and solutions for SMEs.

SME Health Checks

Health checks will be conducted by Deakin’s Faculty of Business and Law, the School of IT and partner organisations to identify new product opportunities, funding, cashflow and efficiency improvements, and potential new markets.

Post-COVID Pivot Bootcamps

These two-day bootcamps will look at the impact of COVID and what can be done to support recovery and resilience and drive business growth.

Cyber Defence Centre (CDC)

Deakin's Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation (CSRI) will be helping SMEs become more cyber resilient with a range of services and programs through the Cyber Defence Centre (CDC).

Delivering an Australian-first, the CDC will have a live, student-run Security Operations Centre (SOC) protecting SMEs; offering penetration/vulnerability testing facilities and an Industrial Control System/OT showcase demonstrating security innovations.

Innovation Discovery Workshops and Rapid Innovation Hacks

These workshops will discover areas of high potential for innovation returns, coupled with rapid innovation hacks, and delivered as iterative problem-solving sessions with industry partners.

Active engagement with the problem owner will result in real-time pivots and superior outcomes.

Completion of the Innovation and Collaboration Hub

The construction of The DISH centre at Burwood will be completed and operational in late March, 2022. Once open, it will host:

  • A live Cyber Defence Centre and Cyber Testing and Hacking Lab to help businesses improve their cyber awareness and resilience.
  • Two Co-Innovation Labs an an Industry Makers Room to create new products, devices and industrial systems.
  • An Advanced AI, Robotics and Automation Lab exploring artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Thing, advanced data analytics and mixed reality executions to help businesses innovate.
  • An Events Space and executive briefing rooms to host eco-system events, digital trade-shows, and industry forums and roundtables.
  • Sprint Rooms designed for 'idea hacking' of some of Victoria's SMEs prominent challenges.
  • Facilitation spaces for deep discovery and design-thinking work.

Enhancing Victoria's research capabilities

The DISH will also provide end-to-end SME support while enhancing Victoria's research capabilities through:

  • Establishing a collaboration fund to support approved partners and projects.
  • Fitting out the Cyber Defence Centre (CDC) in Burwood.
  • Establishing an industry co-innovation lab for development of new digital, cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI) enabled technologies.
  • Jobs creation. The project is expected to create 122 direct jobs by 2025, with more expected to be created within the SMEs participating in the program.
  • Providing SMEs with specialist cyber security expertise to protect Victorian businesses.
  • Providing SMEs access to Deakin’s highly successful SPARK and ManuFutures programs.

Partners matter most of all

Just as in the real world of business, industry partners are foundational for the success of The DISH for SMEs and our future SME leaders, today’s students.

The coming together of university, industry, government and SMEs can achieve high impact and sustainable sector growth, future education pathways, skills and jobs.

Partners can participate in The DISH in a number of ways.

  • Industry Prime partners – actively support research, co-innovation projects and/or commercialisation projects with SME’s, related to agreed shared priorities for their industry sector.
  • Sponsors of The DISH – support The DISH financially so that high quality and affordable (subsidised) services can be provided to SMEs.
  • Educational pathways partners – collaborate to provide students (under and post graduate) with integrated work experiences and may also co-design learning pathways and credentials that will positively impact future work skills and jobs.
  • Mentors, coaches, delivery partners and technology partners for The DISH eco-system – contribute expertise or technologies to enable services.

To find out how you can partner with us contact Deakin Research.

Get in touch

For further information on our other VEHSIF funded projects please visit the links below.

Contact Us

For all enquiries about The DISH project please contact:
Debra Bordignon
Director, Digital Innovations
debra.bordignon@deakin.edu.au