Innovation Minister announces $1M program to create ideas and jobs on Sunshine Coast
  • Wednesday 07 June 2017
Mark Paddenburg, Tony Wellington, Minister Leeanne Enoch, Mark Jamieson

The Sunshine Coast will benefit from a $1 million program to drive innovation, boost economic opportunities and create new jobs - thanks to a co-funded partnership between the Palaszczuk Government, Sunshine Coast Council and 26 partners.

Speaking at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast today (Wednesday), Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch announced the funding was the first allocation from the $6 million Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP).

“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,” Ms Enoch 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 Sunshine Coast Region will receive $500,000 over three years from the State Government to collaborate with and encourage local entrepreneurs, business leaders and key industries to work together to innovate and strengthen the region’s economy.  

The Palaszczuk Government funding will be matched by a consortia of 26 partners called the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Pipeline Team, who have pledged their support and contribution to the program.

Ms Enoch said matched funding of up to $500,000 is also available for another 11 regions: Far North Queensland, North Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Fitzroy, Outback Queensland, Wide Bay Burnett, Darling Downs and Maranoa, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and West Moreton, Redlands, and Logan and the Gold Coast.

She said these additional ARIP program applications are continuing to be assessed.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed today's announcement by Ms Enoch and praised the collaborative approach that had underpinned the region’s application to secure this funding commitment.

“This is a great collaborative initiative supported by the Queensland Government, the Sunshine Coast and Noosa Councils and numerous partners in our innovation ecosystem, which would have to be one of the most vibrant and productive hubs in Queensland,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Our partnership in this initiative reflects that the future of our economy and our community’s prosperity lies in ideas, innovation, creativity and driving entrepreneurialism.

“This $1 million joint commitment could not have come at a better time for the Sunshine Coast and fits really well with the new economy we are building in our healthy, smart and creative city region.”

Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said: “Noosa Council is committed to strengthening and broadening our local economy, and recognises that businesses don’t adhere to local government boundaries.

“This funding opportunity represents an important cross-fertilisation of ideas and opportunities that will benefit the entire region.

“These include the appointment of a Regional Innovation Coordinator, online platforms, and activities and events that showcase the region and support greater connections and collaboration.”

Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast CEO Mark Paddenburg said: “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.

“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 internationally,” he said.

Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $405 million flagship initiative to drive innovation across Queensland and turn great ideas into new products, businesses and jobs.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Sunshine Coast project can contact council's Economic Development Branch at 07 5475 7272. Visit the Advancing Regional Innovation Program webpage for more details.

Image: Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast CEO Mark Paddenburg, Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington, Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch, Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson.