Innovation Centre to celebrate impressive 15 years | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Innovation Centre to celebrate impressive 15 years

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s Innovation Centre will celebrate its 15th anniversary on Friday 8 December by welcoming back its many alumni members, mentors and supporters for a networking lunch.

Since 2002, the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (IC) has directly supported the startup and growth of more than 200 businesses, creating more than 840 jobs, providing 240 student placements, and helping to raise $34million in investment for client companies.

An independent impact assessment by AEC has shown that the centre’s activities and member outcomes have contributed more than $60million in economic value to the regional economy.

To mark this important milestone, the Innovation Centre will showcase some of the key innovations that its members have commercialised, unveil its alumni members hall of fame, and share a special anniversary cake.

The program from midday to 2pm on 8 December will also include:

• Networking lunch provided by IC GrowCoastal 2017 food accelerator members;
• Updates on IC members like Terragen Biotech, Food Matters, iDcare, WandsPro, Future Oceans, Guzu and Point Duty – all succeeding on the global stage;
• a presentation by USC Chancellor Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) and Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill;
• Summary of key achievements by IC Chairman Dr Peter Isdale AM;
• Founder insights about the real entrepreneurial journey; and
• Tours of the IC facilities.

Innovation Centre Chairman Dr Isdale said the quality of companies that have graduated from the IC have helped build the Sunshine Coast’s reputation as highly collaborative, innovation hotspot.

The companies include design prototyping company Guzu, automated publishing software company Typefi, affiliate marketing platform Commission Factory, digital strategy company Traffika, and nutrition education leaders Food Matters.

“The Innovation Centre board members and staff are proud of having accomplished a lot in its first 15 years,” Dr Isdale said. “And with our 35 mentors and new capacity-building programs in 2018, the centre will continue to be an ideal base for innovators and entrepreneurs to commercialise and scale their ventures”.

Schoolzine founder Phil Reardon said starting off at the Innovation Centre had made a profound difference to his business.

“Joining the Innovation Centre in 2007 was instrumental in our startup and growth phase, enabling us to then move to a larger office in Maroochydore where we now employ over 45 staff,” he said.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the strength of the Innovation Centre was its ability to effectively connect innovators with a range of programs, mentors, research facilities, students and capital to ensure they can develop and grow quickly.

“The Innovation Centre is a wholly owned not-for-profit entity of the USC and its location on Australia’s fastest growing regional university campus has been highly beneficial for students, researchers and the entrepreneurs,” he said. “Its collaborative events and outreach has also enrichened our local community.”

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Innovation Centre member case study

The most recent Innovation Centre graduate is a design prototyping company, called Guzu, which is currently fitting out its own premises at Premier Circuit, Kawana.

The company designed its award-winning BlindSnakeTM electrical plug-in device at the Innovation Centre. This device, which turns a traditional three-minute ceiling light connection into an efficient, tool-less eight second task for electricians, was launched in September this year.

The first batch of 500,000 units sold out in three weeks and the company was awarded the prestigious International Red Dot Design Concept Award in Singapore in October, placing it alongside major brands like Toyota, Panasonic, Range Rover, Yamaha and BMW.

Guzu currently employs eight people and is recruiting for another four creative innovators.

— Terry Walsh 

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