Melbourne’s home grown start-up community, Inspire9, will begin construction on a brand-new makerspace in their new Footscray location.

The 'makerspace', to be known as Fab9, comes after Inspire9 received $650,000 of funding from Victorian government start-up body, LaunchVic.

In late 2015, investment funds manager Impact Investment Group, acquired the 7000-square metre Footscray warehouse, or as it is now known: the Dream Factory.

When it opened in 2016, one of the first major residents was Inspire9, which was launching its second site.

Last week ACS President Anthony Wong visited the new site, alongside Vice Chair of ACS Victoria Rod Dilnutt and Management Committee Member Jo Dalvean.

They met with General Manager of Inspire9 Footscray, Garry Williams, who spoke about their vision.

“From our existence in Richmond, we’ve expanded over to a second site here in Footscray, and we basically run co-working and community engagement for the people working here and for the community,” he said.

“We’ve got three floors: a rooftop space, two primary levels and a basement space which is soon to become a makerspace.”

Since its inception in 2008, Inspire9 has been home to hugely successful start-ups such as Rome2Rio and CareMonkey, as well as holding offices for large-scale businesses such as Uber and NAB.

Equipped with 3D-printing, digital sewing and laser-cutting technologies, as well as a virtual reality lab, Fab9 will assist with the commercial development of the building’s tenants, while also focusing on community engagement.

“It'll be a mixture of commercial ventures, so people can come in utilise the tools or the technology within here for their commercial purposes, whether that be by producing products or offering bespoke training programs.

“There will also be a hybrid model, which is people working upstairs in the Inspire9 spaces and then manufacturing or making in this space.

“We’ll invite kids to learn how to use robots and ready-print, and people to come in and utilise the use of 3D printers to make prototypes of products as part of workshops for the community,” said Williams.

Inspire9 hopes that the new inner-west location will bring with it a different demographic.

Situated virtually next door to Victoria University, collaborations between the two institutions have already begun.

“We hosted their education hackathon last week and we've had their senior team, including their vice-chancellor, here for their strategic off-site meeting.

"Footscray is a heavily gentrifying area. A huge percentage of local small-business owners are working from home in a fast-growing region, so they'll focus in on a place that's offering them skills and educational up-skilling.

"It's not the type of space that people are used to in Melbourne, so it'll generate its own niche interest, as well as a lot of curious minds.”

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