Newcastle University is the founding member of the Orana Opportunity Network launched at the State of the Region event in Dubbo this week.
Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana ran the event and called the launch of the new network, dubbed O2N, a "momentous occasion" for the future of the region's business community.
It says member-based O2N will support the development of businesses to "improve export capability, sustainability, connectivity and investment opportunities".
At Wednesday's event, Newcastle University's Professor Alan Broadfoot said it would provide "knowledge".
"Knowledge is one of the biggest competitive edges you can have," he said.
"It's understanding what opportunities have been developed, what new technologies have been deployed to the regions and...the supply chain."
Professor Broadfoot, the executive director of the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, said membership would also open the door to "training programs and research developments programs we can deliver through the university".
Newcastle University has made an annual cash contribution of $40,000.
"We've been working with RDA Orana for a number of years and we have a lot of clients in the region so it's really building on that," Professor Broadfoot said.
O2N board member David Payne says it is a groundbreaking network for the business community and able to enhance future trade and development.
"O2N has been established to support industry and business development for the Orana and Central West region" he said.
"There is so much investment happening in the region and an organisation that supports local industry participation and business capability development is essential to our region and its businesses if we are to benefit from the investments.
"Now more than ever, the Orana and Central West region is the focal point for infrastructure, METS (Mining Equipment, Technology and Services) and energy development opportunities."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.