7 June 2017
A Queensland Government initiative to encourage a cooperative approach to foster innovation across the Sunshine Coast has been warmly welcomed by USC’s Innovation Centre CEO Mark Paddenburg.
Mr Paddenburg today hosted an event at the Innovation Centre at which State Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch announced $500,000 in funding over three years for the region under the Government’s Advancing Regional Innovation Program.
Ms Enoch said the funding would be matched by a consortium of 26 partners, called the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Pipeline Team, that includes the Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils.
“The Advancing Regional Innovation Program is supporting regional growth by connecting communities and boosting grassroots activities, leveraging key regional strengths and lifting the capability of innovative local businesses,” she said.
“It will encourage entrepreneurs, consumers, business leaders and key industries in regional areas to embrace new ideas, showcase local innovative businesses and work together to build new opportunities and jobs for their local communities.”
The Minister congratulated Mr Paddenburg and the Innovation Centre for their significant work in building innovation and entrepreneurship in the region over the past 15 years.
“There is something very special on the Sunshine Coast in terms of innovation,” she said. There is an appetite and a drive for it.”
Mr Paddenburg said the new program would encourage local entrepreneurs, business leaders and key industries to work together to drive innovation and create economic opportunities.
“The Sunshine Coast has seen enormous growth in the number of local entrepreneurs and this funding will be a catalyst for sustaining and accelerating this growth,” he said.
“We have an amazing depth of local talent and resources here which has helped to position the Sunshine Coast as a destination of choice for entrepreneurs. We are also benefiting from people moving from interstate and overseas,” he said.
Mr Paddenburg said the program would have a particularly emphasis on encouraging younger entrepreneurs.
“It will facilitate greater outreach activities across the Sunshine Coast region and it will also help develop an integrated calendar of events for entrepreneurs.”
Mr Paddenburg said more than 30 businesses were currently located at the Innovation Centre – a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of the Sunshine Coast – and more than 130 businesses had graduated from its startup incubator or business accelerator programs since 2002.
“More than 700 jobs have been created and more than $30 million raised in early stage capital and government grants,” he said.
— Terry Walsh