BegaDistrictNews HackathonEven with recent government layoffs, the ACT outperforms any other comparable population centre in terms of income, education and employment opportunities.

This overall attractiveness of Canberra has become increasingly apparent to many of those in the townlands along the Monaro Highway including Cooma, and further south to the coast, Bega, Bermagui, Merimbula and Eden.

A group with representatives from Canberra, Cooma and the Bega Valley has formed to promote opportunities for networking, business and technology-related collaboration between people from these three regions.

The initiative, set to formally launch in January 2015, is to be known as the '3C Corridor'.


The idea of the '3C Corridor' was originally raised in a discussion between the Mayor of Cooma, Dean Lynch and 2 groups from the Bega Valley, Community Training Partnerships (CTP - visit and IntoIT Sapphire Coast (IntoIT - visit Some initial goals were outlined :-

  • to promote a view of Cooma and the coastal towns of the Bega Valley as being more deeply linked to the ACT region
  • to turbo-charge the level of inter-networking between businesses and groups in all three centres
  • to increase travel between the centres in support of each others cultural, social and tourism-related programmes, and other shared programmes that will be developed in the future
  • to promote the incorporation of the 3C Corridor concept at the heart of local government policy-making
  • to significantly grow the volume of inter-reliant economic activity between the 3 locations, particularly in the spheres of technology, intellectual property and knowledge service-based industries

The initial possibilities looked exciting, and so it has proved, with Canberra's Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre (Lighthouse) joining the 'party' soon after these early conversations. The Lighthouse team, led by Anna Pino and Candice Edye, have been key drivers of the innovation, funding and entrepreneur support initiatives that have blossomed in the ACT over the past decade. 'We see this type of partnership as key to the development of new businesses and industries in Australia. While Canberra is well established in many ways, it is still itself a start up in the areas of economic diversification and we look forward to sharing knowledge and experience across the corridor'. Lighthouse, in seeking to increase its reach to regional areas, is partnering with CTP and IntoIT to introduce many of its successful programmes to Cooma and the coastal towns of the Bega Valley. These include :-

  • a micro-credit financing scheme
  • the festival of ambitious ideas
  • StartUp Camps for young entrepreneurs
  • fostering links and introductions to the Canberra equity-funding community
  • entrepreneur support services including access to the BizLab 'startup self-monitoring' web portal
  • a simulcast peer support workshop linking the three centres using the popular Google Hangout facility


The Lighthouse programmes dovetail very comfortably with the initiatives already underway in the regions as overseen by CTP and IntoIT.

In the case of CTP, their vision for a localised jobs and training platform to improve skills matching and cross-industry transferability, particularly focussed on young people, is widely regarded as a pressing need in all towns within the 3C Corridor region. And the work of IntoIT in fostering a 'coding culture' and greater community interest in entrepreneurship and technology as tools for increased job creation, resonates with many in the Corridor.

With the core supporting groups now in place, and others, chambers and councils, potentially becoming involved in the coming months, the 3C Corridor initiative looks set to have a defining impact on the cultural and economic well-being of the participating regions in the years ahead. Considering the beauty of the landscapes, diversity of the people and cultural richness that abounds in each of the three areas, a wonderfully rewarding and stimulating journey ahead is in store.


Upcoming 3C Corridor Events:

Future of Work Peer Group, 27 February 2015 (contact Lighthouse for details)

Sapphire Coast StartUp Camp, Pambula, 29-30 May 2015 (contact IntoIT for details)


Photo: Bega District News (Ben Smyth)