Illawarra and Shoalhaven chosen for pilot program for digital marketplace vennu

START UP: Scarborough Wombarra Surf Life Saving Club is one of many community spaces up for hire on new digital marketplace vennu, created by Suzanne Campbell. Pictures: Supplied
START UP: Scarborough Wombarra Surf Life Saving Club is one of many community spaces up for hire on new digital marketplace vennu, created by Suzanne Campbell. Pictures: Supplied

Like Airbnb is for holiday homes, vennu is for finding community spaces for hire and it’s now available in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

The Berry-based digital marketplace will begin a three-month pilot project on the South Coast from Tuesday. It will showcase spaces for all occasions such as scout halls, community meeting rooms, basketball courts, rooms for party hire, retreats, performance spaces and religious gatherings.

“Our mobile-first platform, vennu, makes it easy for the owners of underused spaces to hire them out to make money,” CEO and founder Suzanne Campbell said.

“And at the same time provide the community with access to an abundance of unique spaces for social functions, sports events and small business.”

It’s free for a venue to list their space on the website, while guests who book via vennu automatically receive CGU Liability Insurance Policy cover which can provide cover for property damage or personal injury claims related to the venue hire.

Founder of venuu, Suzanne Campbell. Picture: Supplied

Founder of venuu, Suzanne Campbell. Picture: Supplied

Ms Campbell received a $25,000 grant for the venture from Jobs for NSW as well as the use of the Sydney Startup Hub’s Regional Landing Pad to develop the platform.

“I first started thinking about this early last year during the community consultation process for the Berry Bypass,” she said. “I was reflecting on why we were talking about new facilities in conjunction with that effort rather than use with what we already had.

“So with a background in IT and telecommunications I thought about how we could make it really easy for people to discover facilities.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said this was a terrific example of government grants helping start-ups become “high-growth, job-creating businesses of the future”.

Currently more than 50 spaces are available to hire on vennu like Aspire at the University of Wollongong, Balgownie Village Community Centre, Chittick Lodge, Community Gateway, Helensburgh Stanwell Park Surf Life Saving Club, Interchange Illawarra, Illawarra Sports Stadium, Scarborough Wombarra Surf Life Saving Club, Scouts Australia and Shellharbour Community Centre.

Ms Campbell said property analyst CoreLogic estimated there are more than 100,000 community facilities across Australia.