Renew Yorke and Mid North via Coworking Spaces

Location: Clare Valley, SA

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: September 2019

Project Background

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Yorke and Mid North is a partnership between the Australian, state and local governments to support the growth and development of Australia’s regions. RDA builds partnerships between governments, regional development organisations, local businesses, community groups and key regional stakeholders to provide strategic and targeted responses to economic, environmental and social issues affecting the regions of Australia. RDA Yorke and Mid North is keen to explore the option for creating one (or potentially multiple) coworking spaces across the region, in an effort to support emerging industries, develop entrepreneurial eco-systems and inject vibrancy into declining main street areas.

Providing a professional and connected place for founders and entrepreneurs to work on their business can significantly contribute to the success rates of start-ups and small businesses. The establishment of Lot Fourteen on the old RAH site in North Terrace, Adelaide, and the intention of the State Government to promote and support the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups, has flowed through into supportive policies and resources, including the office of the South Australian Chief Entrepreneur, the development of an ‘Innovation Framework’ to drive investment and create a pathway for economic and business attraction opportunities, and physical site re-development designed to create ‘hubs’ which will form ‘entrepreneurial neighbourhoods’, leading to the development of new ideas and new enterprises.

There is considerable hollowing out of regional Main Streets, which appears to be accelerating at both national and local retail level. RDA Yorke and Mid North has been engaged in some main     street renewal activities through community development delivery in Peterborough but developing these schemes sustainably is complex as is modelling how State and local government support individual businesses directly. RDA are keen to explore what this model could look at a regional level under Renew Yorke and Mid North in the same way that there is a Renew Adelaide model, and to determine the locations most suited to the application of a  renewal program, and to determine the cost benefit of investment into these locations.

Research to be Conducted

RDA have identified several potential locations for coworking sites: Kadina, Port Pirie, Jamestown, Burra and Maitland/Minlaton. In order to develop an appropriate economic development implementation plan, they need a thorough understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with establishing a coworking space in each of these towns, by measuring local demand from potential sub-tenants, entrepreneurs and service providers, assessing suitable locations for establishment of a coworking space, and determining which available programs for supporting entrepreneurs and business development can be incorporated into the support model at each site. The successful intern will conduct a detailed market research analysis of each of these towns/locations, with an aim to provide clarity regarding:

  • Determining the most appropriate location/locations for the development of a coworking space/spaces, and the required investment and cost structure for the establishment of each site
  • Identifying existing and emerging support programs for small business owners and entrepreneurs, which may be accessed through each implementation site, and an implementation and marketing plan for rolling out the chosen programs at each site
  • Development of a community engagement model for coworking spaces, to encourage uptake from local community and business tenants, to drive local market demand for the coworking facilities
  • Research availability and appropriateness of potential funding sources(local/state/national) which may be suitable for the establishment and ongoing operation of the spaces

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following:


  • Experience and/or understanding of entrepreneurial mindsets and supports, small business development, and/or business development strategies
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Experience in engaging with communities and business owners to discuss concepts, gather and evaluate feedback
  • A thorough understanding of the challenges of economic development for regional Australia


  • A thorough understanding of South Australia’s economic development plan, particularly in relation to regional South Australia
  • An understanding of Regional Development Australia’s role

Expected Outcomes

  • A feasibility report which details the viability of a determined coworking model at each location, and recommendations for methods of implementation at each site, along with list of suitable tenants/entrepreneurs to approach at each location,
  • Mid-term Presentation to the RDA outlining initial key findings relating to the study
  • Presentation of final key findings to the RDA Board, with a focus on recommendations for an initial implementation site, as well as a two-year implementation plan for remaining sites.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

31 July 2019


APR – 1044