Innovation

Person sketching on pad

Innovation is important to every sector of the economy and is about new and existing businesses creating new products, processes and business models to deliver new sources of growth.  Assisting businesses to stay competitive through innovation and the use of new technologies will contribute to economic growth, job creation, our quality of life and support diversification in industry sectors of high economic value that have a low environmental impact.

The Sunshine Coast is arguably Australia’s leading regional centre for innovation, with a substantial contribution from the Noosa community, and here’s why - view the Sunshine Coast Innovation video.

The Australian and Queensland governments have a range of programs and funding support to help you develop your innovation and grow your business, as outlined in Innovation Journey.

Innovation Programs

  • The GI Challenge is a FREE, innovation driven program that connects budding young entrepreneurs with the marketplace in a way never seen before.

    Each year, a talented group of entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 25 is selected into the program and are given the skills, training and business connections required to begin building their dream business concept.

    Those who make it into the program will receive ongoing guidance as they design and conceptualise their business idea, and will then battle it out against their peers for the first-place prize of a $10,000 package to be used in launching their dream business.

    Over the course of the GI Challenge, our entrepreneurs gain:

    1) knowledge of advanced business concepts
    2) a variety of invaluable life-long business skills and techniques
    3) vital connections with leading businesspeople on the Sunshine Coast
    4) the opportunity to take action on their ideas
    5) the chance to win a $10,000 package to build their dream business
    6) the ability to learn how to create opportunities for themselves

    Generation Innovation  

  • Advance Queensland is a comprehensive suite of programs designed to create the knowledge-based jobs of the future, drive productivity improvements and build on Queensland's natural advantages.  The program includes educational initiatives, funding programs practical tools and networking and collaboration opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators, industry, universities and government.

    Programs include:

    QiHub is the Queensland Innovation Hub – an entrepreneur-led online community that showcases and connects Queensland’s vibrant innovation and startup ecosystem.

    This platform is the only one of its kind in Queensland – a place to discover all the state’s entrepreneurs in one convenient location. It’s a place to get noticed.

    Our community is diverse and bursting with ideas, drive and talent. So why not join? Be part of something bigger. It’s simple.

    Together, we can show the world that Queensland is the place to be if you’re a startup or innovator.

     

    The Female Founders Program aims to assist female founders at different stages of the entrepreneurial cycle.  It focuses on increasing the participation rates and business skills of female founders in Queensland along with providing support to those who are in the growth phase and need assistance to take their business to the next level. 

    The Program is delivered under two sub-programs:

    1. Female Founders Impact Program which delivers capability development activities.  Applications open October 1.

    2. Female Founders Advisory Board Program which focuses on delivering the skills and exposure to engage effectively with advisors and best practice governance to support business growth. 

    Startup Onramp is a program for startup founders who currently have a day job and want to make the transition from employee to startup founder. It's a 12-week program and using a combination of workshops, mentoring and courseware, is designed to encourage more people to become startup founders and to give them the knowledge, skills and connections they need to maximise their chances of success.

    Innovate Queensland is a suite of workshops, webinars and collaborations that help innovators, entrepreneurs and organisations. Their programs include:

    • Skills Development Workshops offer practical ’how-to’ skills and development training.
    • GRID which is a FREE LinkedIn forum and webinar series designed to foster innovation, commercialisation, knowledge sharing and collaboration across industries.
    • Collaboration Activities which provide opportunities to meet and work with the potential innovation partners and commercial collaborators.
    • My Innovation Advisor service which offers Queensland Innovators and inventors 1 hour of free advice from innovation specialists.

    Startup Catalyst offers a structured program of site visits, private tours, guest speakers, events, dinners and social interactions, to provide participants with opportunities to build networks and connections for trade-in ew international markets.  Individual Missions are tailored specifically for the attendees, and include visits to tech giants, high-growth startups, local investors, corporate innovators, accelerators, incubators, and co-working spaces.

    For all Advance Queensland events, visit the Advance Queensland Calendar.

  • Learning how to get your business online can provide an abundance of new opportunities and benefits. Considering there are many different ways to do business online, it's a good idea to work out which ones might suit your business.

    Access the ‘Doing business online: the basics’ guide to give you an overview of getting your business online, ways of doing business online, future opportunities and more: https://bit.ly/2UWjQQb

  • IP Australia is the Australian Government agency that administers intellectual property (IP) rights and legislation relating to patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder's rights.   IP Australia helps small to medium sized enterprises protect their inventions. 

    If you’re an innovative small to medium business (SME) you’ll want to know how you can protect and leverage your ideas.

    Seeking formal protection through the patent system can seem daunting, so IP Australia has launched some new initiatives to help you navigate the patent process.

    The new initiatives include:

    • a dedicated SME portal where SMEs can access tailored digital products, including IP webinars, toolkits and information, ranging from IP basics through to more complex issues including enforcement and commercialisation
    • SME Fast Track which is means any SME can fast track their patent application at no additional cost
    • an SME Case Management service particularly aimed at SMEs who may not yet have legal representation, providing dedicated IP Australia subject matter experts to assist at any stage of the patent process.
  • Innovate Noosa
    A private economic development collective, which aims to facilitate change through connecting ideas to resources, and providing solutions through projects and programs with and for the Noosa community.

    Silicon Coast
    An entrepreneurial online community on the Sunshine Coast.  A place for discussion, collaboration and ideas about innovation, creativity and startups.

    Digital Sunshine Coast
    Digital Sunshine Coast is a region wide collaborative project which implements the Digital Sunshine Coast Action Plan which outlines a series of digital initiatives to grow and support the sector on the Sunshine Coast.

    Coding from Beach
    An informal networking group for Sunshine Coast based programmers with a focus on new technologies.

    Create Noosa
    Create Noosa aims to create an innovation culture and help make Noosa a centre of excellence for Creative Technology and to empower the next generation through skills, jobs and entrepreneurship.

    Reboot Noosa
    Reboot is a group for digital creatives and professionals based in the Noosa area who provide online marketing, web/app development, content creation or related services.

    Noosa Crypto
    This is a local group of stakeholders involved in Bitcoin, altcoins, ICOs, the blockchain, and new revenue streams for business.

  • The Innovation Centre, based at the University of the Sunshine Coast, is an entrepreneurial hub for 40+ innovative enterprises and mature startups that want to scale their business in a collaborative environment. The Innovation Centre has a purpose-built 1,500 sq.m facility, a dedicated support team, incubator/accelerator programs, collaborative events, 300MBps internet connection, video studio, prototyping lab, meeting rooms, mentor panel, professional partners and access to USC Facilities and talent.

    With an extensive network of local and international connections, the IC provides a highly supportive ecosystem that enables business owners to take a viable product or service to the world. Have a read of their useful KPI guide (PDF) for businesses looking to scale their business.

    Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast

  • The National Innovation and Science Agenda is designed to embrace new ideas and enable innovation. The Agenda puts forward a package of initiatives that will be developed over time.

    The National Innovation and Science Agenda focuses on four key pillars:

    • Culture and Capital
    • Collaboration
    • Talent and Skills
    • Government as exemplar

    Programs include:

    Innovation Connections assists businesses to understand their research needs, connect with the research sector and fund collaborative research projects. Up to $50,000 in matched funding support is available through the Innovation Connections Grant should the facilitator connect the business to appropriate expertise.

    Incubator Support Initiative provides support for new and existing incubators, and funding for Expert in Residence to provide access to top-quality research, managerial and technical talent through secondment of expert advisers.

    Global Innovation Strategy is a whole of government approach to increasing Australia’s innovation and science connections internationally. Includes Landing Pads in global innovation hotspots to support entrepreneurial Australians; Global Connections Fund to support global SME researcher collaborations and seed funding to test concepts.

    Tax Incentives for early-stage investors are available to eligible companies to ensure innovative start-up companies with high growth potential are supported at the risky start-up phase.

    Digital Marketplace is a platform for government buyers and digital experts to do business together. The purpose is to make it easier for smaller businesses to compete for the governments multi-billion ICT expenditure per year.

  • Noosa Council, Sunshine Coast Council and Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast, along with their project partners have been awarded Advance Queensland Regional Innovation funding. The funding was collectively matched by a number of organisations providing over $1 million over 3 years to develop innovation and entrepreneurial activities across the Sunshine Coast region.

    For more information, visit Digital Sunshine Coast

  • Co-working spaces are a key part of the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. They provide purpose-built spaces for freelancers, sole traders and micro and small business to work beside like-minded people in a professional, cost-effective environment to encourage connection, collaboration and creative thinking.

  • Applications are now open for the 2nd Annual Global Landing Pad to be held in Denver, Colorado later this year.  Global Landing Pad is a business acceleration program for foreign entrepreneurs to validate their fit in the US market and explore opportunitites in Denver. 

    The ten-day program consists of education, networking and introductions that support prospects for businesses to expand into the United States via Denver.

    More Information 

  • The Research and Development Tax Incentive looks to help more businesses to innovate through research and development.   This incentive is a targeted, generous and easy to access entitlement program that helps businesses offset some of the costs of doing research and development.

    What are the eligibility criteria?

    To be eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive you must:

    • be a company that is liable to pay income tax in Australia
    • conduct at least one activity that meets the definition of a core R&D activity
    • have eligible R&D expenditure greater than $20,000

    There has been a refreshed Guide to Interpretation in November 2020 released. The refreshed Guide has clear language and less duplication. It helps you to plan, conduct and register eligible R&D. To read more click here

  • The Digital Scorecard is designed to help businesses identify ways to improve their digital capability and become more competitive in today’s global digital economy.

    Small to medium enterprises and not-for-profits can use the scorecard to find out how digitally aware and capable they are compared with others in similar industries.

    You can take the assessment here: Digital Scorecard Assessment

  • A draft map was created by Digital Sunshine Coast to provide a visual representation of the Sunshine Coast’s growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. It is designed to capture the support and resources available for new, emerging and established entrepreneurs within the Sunshine Coast region.

    By mapping the Sunshine Coast’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Digital Sunshine Coast wants to encourage closer partnerships that will cement the Sunshine Coast’s position as a leading region for innovation and business development.