A push is on to strengthen the information and communication technologies sector in the state’s North West, with about 20 people attending a forum in Burnie to discuss the industry’s prospects.

The University of Tasmania, in partnership with the Australian Computer Society and Cradle Coast Authority, presented the forum to explore the role of ICT in shaping the region’s future, with the industry deemed a crucial enabler.

The event formed part of Tasmania’s inaugural Techstars Startup Week, a movement building momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship.

James Riggall from the University’s Community, Partnerships and Regional Development portfolio, and Managing Director of Bitlink, shared insights into projects the Cradle Coast campus has been leading in the North-West to support the development of ICT literacy.

“The university recognises the increasing importance of ICT, and the need to equip future generations with entrepreneurial skills that ready them for jobs of the future,” Mr Riggall said.

“This year’s North-West projects have included a SumoBot competition, exposing participants to robotics; Hackerspace workshops that immersed students in advanced manufacturing, electronics, the Internet of Things and computer programming concepts and also the Big Idea Challenge which empowered entrants to embrace entrepreneurship in ICT.

“We are also working with Burnie Primary School on a project that is teaching students how to program a ‘Farmbot’ – a machine that combines traditional agricultural practices with modern technology.”