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 funding  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 a funding 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.

    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. 

    Find out how to set up an online presence for your business and how to manage and improve the way your business interacts online, including information on how to create a Digital Strategy, build a website, manage online sales & payments.

    More information

  • 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.
  • This program aims to support Australian technology companies to expand globally.

    Landing pads are a network of specialised programs that are delivered in collaboration with partners deeply embedded in their local tech ecosystems and are part of Austrade's services to Australian business. It will provide businesses the opportunity to:

    • Prioritise markets, validate market entry plans and check readiness for expansion into new markets.
    • Seek advice, connections and introductions to help execute on market entry, and scaling into international markets.

    Landing pads are located in San Francisco, New York, Bengaluru, Shanghai, Singapore, London and Tel Aviv. The landing pads in London, New York and Singapore include a focus on fintech and related sectors; those in Bengaluru, established in 2022, are a part of the Government's commitment to expanding technology business links with India, under the India Economic Strategy.

    More information

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

    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.

    Peregian Digital Hub Tribes 

    A number of tech and digital ecosystems group that regularly meet at the Peregian Digital Hub 


  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    The R&D Tax Incentive has an updated application process. You're now able to draft your application using our R&D Tax Incentive customer portal. The new portal provides you:

    • improved security
    • ability to view the status of your application in real time
    • indicators of approaching deadlines.

    There are also new questions, that make it clear on how you address eligibility criteria in your application.

    There is also a Research and Development podcast that can provide more information, click here.

  • 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.