Australia’s fintech and regtech industries have received a major boost, with the country’s first-ever ‘sandbox’ facility opened in Sydney’s northwest.

Australian start-up ID Exchange and UK firm have combined to convert a heritage-listed house in Glenwood into a cutting-edge, 22-desk ‘Innovation Campus’, that will house developers and early-stage entrepreneurs.

To be known as the ID Exchange Innovation Campus (IDX), the facility will focus on application development for the regtech and fintech sectors.

Founder and Managing Director of ID Exchange, Joanne Cooper, said the initiative would help create open data solutions for everyday Australians.

“This partnership will immediately advance the development of secure, ethical, compliant and society-focused open data solutions as called for by the Australia Productivity Commission's report on Data Availability and Use, as well as the Treasury's views on consumer centric approaches being currently tabled via the Review into Open Banking,” she said.

As well as enabling greater consumer control in banking, it is hoped the sandbox will attract app developers in government, eHealth, retail and the social sector, and give them the opportunity to try out their product.

‘Sandbox’ is a term given to testing environments for software development.

ID Exchange and also announced a “Stay & Play” competition for 12 app developers to win a rent-free seat at the new campus.

Opening the premises, NSW Minister for Innovation, Matt Kean, said the campus will help upcoming Australian start-ups become established.

“I’m thrilled to see the continued growth of innovation hubs in NSW. It’s incredibly important that we unlock more and more opportunities for start-ups to get a foothold in the marketplace,” Kean said.

“These innovative companies are carving out the next generation of jobs and businesses for our country, particularly around data management, which is transforming the 21st century economy.”

There is also one eye on the future workforce, with the site to be open to secondary and tertiary STEM students from local schools and universities.

Associate Professor and director for Women in Engineering and IT at the University of Technology Sydney, Dr Arti Agrawal, said the campus will help show students the possibilities of a career in STEM.

“By inviting secondary and tertiary students to meet developers and early-stage entrepreneurs at campuses like these, there is hope that the next generation of innovators will be inspired to study engineering and IT,” she said.