Paving a smoother path for entrepreneurs..
  • Thursday 08 September 2016
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.. That’s the aim of a new research project currently being undertaken by council and the University of Sunshine Coast.

USC lead project researcher Dr Retha Scheepers said universities, lead entrepreneurs, investors and mentors across South East Queensland were being interviewed to find out what support entrepreneurs find most useful.

“The purpose of this research project is to investigate regional support for entrepreneurship by mapping the programs available on the Sunshine Coast; examining the relevance and usefulness of these programs for local entrepreneurs and designing better entrepreneurial support programs,” she said.

“Around $9billion is currently being spent on innovation across Australia. In Queensland the Regional Innovation Hubs program is under discussion in several regional areas, with over $6million being spent. Yet there are few innovation metrics and management tools currently available to assess the impact of entrepreneurship support.

“So the findings of this project has been used to map the different role players in the Sunshine Coast innovation ecosystem and now we’re finding out how we’re performing as a region.

“We’re also capturing the perspectives of entrepreneurs by examining the relevance and usefulness of entrepreneurship support programs and from these findings we’ll be able to design more effective support programs into the future.

“The research is being conducted in four stages. The first two stages are complete. First we mapped the support different role-players in the Sunshine Coast’s entrepreneurial Ecosystem provide and second we compiled case studies of the support available in three South East Queensland entrepreneurial ecosystems: Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane. We studied more than 291 articles and reports and interviewed 25 experts.”

“The third stage is taking place from now until October and focuses on Sunshine Coast entrepreneurs at different stages of their business, namely start-up, growth and exit, as well as youth, women, and immigrant entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and business owners who’d like participate, should contact Erika Kruger on ekruger@usc.edu.au.”

Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre CEO Mark Paddenburg said the research project was extremely important for the future growth of innovation in our region.

“In the spirit of enhancing regional collaboration and innovation outcomes its always worthwhile researching reviewing what’s been done to date and to  see how we can strive to improve outcomes for entrepreneurs and innovators into the future,” he said.

Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the research project exemplified the essence of innovative thinking and the future of the Sunshine Coast economy as identified in the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) 2013-2033.

“We want to build a desire and focus to be a start-up business hub in Australia and an international communications centre and considering the investment that’s going into the health and wellbeing sector in our region in particular, there’s a great opportunity for future career opportunities and smart applications and the utilisation of technology within our region,” Cr Robinson said.

“So it’s crucial that we’re creating a supportive and innovative environment for entrepreneurs to prosper and maximise their abilities here on the Sunshine Coast. Council is a very proud supporter of programs like the Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards, CoderDojo as well as the annual Start-up Weekend and Start-up Weekend Youth because the future of the region depends on our ability to nurture, create and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

 “This research project with USC aims to take it a step further and find out exactly where we currently are and what we need to do to ensure the best possible environment for our entrepreneurial ecosystem into the future.”