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More than 600 people connected with Australia’s top entrepreneurs, industry experts, visionaries, global futurists and trailblazers at this year’s Forward Fest (August 2-3).

The two-day innovation festival at Venue 114, Bokarina offered a jam-packed program with 99 guest speakers delivering dynamic presentations and exploring ground-breaking ideas, trends and strategies.

The event kicked-off with one of Australia’s most successful start-ups – Daniel Flynn co-founder of Thankyou – who shared his remarkable journey and reminded the audience that ‘it’s never too late to reimagine your business’.

Queensland chief entrepreneur Julia Spicer shared her passion and insights on the power of regional entrepreneurship and reassured the audience that innovation can happen anywhere.

One of the highlights was the inclusion of Sunshine Coast Council’s popular Thriving Through Change Business Resilience Expo, where global futurist Chris Riddell delivered a compelling keynote address sharing his predictions for 2030 and beyond.

Global futurist Chris Riddell.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson congratulated Silicon Coast for the key role they played in fostering innovation and delivering a successful event, now in its second year.

“This is the sort of event you’d normally have to travel to a capital city for, but with our emerging technology and innovation ecosystem, there is no better home for Forward Fest than our Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Council is proud to partner with Silicon Coast to support Forward Fest, which aligns strongly with our Regional Economic Development Strategy

“Through this strategy we support local businesses to respond and adapt to market change and promote entrepreneurship, innovation, research and digital connectivity.”

Left to right Queensland chief entrepreneur Julia Spicer, Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn, Silicon Coast’s Chief Engagement Officer and Co-Founder Craig Josic and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson.

Silicon Coast’s Chief Engagement Officer and Co-Founder Craig Josic said the event fostered connections and knowledge sharing.

“From fireside chats to solving problems and forming relationships, it was fantastic to see the business community come together to collaborate and celebrate Forward Fest,” Mr Josic said.

“The Innovation Showcase provided a dynamic platform for local businesses to promote their cutting-edge products, services and digital solutions including an AI assistant for emergency services communications officers.

“Now in its second year, Forward Fest is going from strength to strength and will hopefully become a permanent feature on the Sunshine Coast’s business event calendar.”

“We're also thrilled about our three-year partnership with Advance Queensland which validates our commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Together, we'll drive business growth, create jobs and position Sunshine Coast as a global innovation hotspot."

Forward Fest is proudly supported by Silicon Coast, Sunshine Coast Council, Queensland Government through Advance Queensland, CSIRO, Dataminr and Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).