Smart partnership has big benefits for creative businesses
  • Tuesday 09 April 2013

Sunshine Coast Council and the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre today announced the first two placements of emerging creative industry businesses to call the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre home.

Digica and Photografica were successfully chosen to receive rent-free office space, mentoring, high-speed internet and access to business development programs for a period of six months through the Creative Industries Business Incubation Lab program (CIBIL).

Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said this unique opportunity is part of council’s smartArts+ program, in partnership with the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (IC).

“smartArts+ builds partnerships, sponsorships and services between exciting creative projects and businesses to enable the development of creative and cultural industries on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

“By creating an umbrella program to unite the key partners and projects, this program has been able to transform $20,000 seed investment from Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund, into offers of almost $500,000 of sponsorship and support by local, state and national organisations.

“The Creative Industries Incubation Lab is a great example of smart partnerships that provide positive outcomes for council, the Innovation Centre, local businesses and local creative industries at no cost to rate payers.”

IC CEO Mr Mark Paddenburg believes Digica, a creative agency specialising in digital media, and Photografica, a professional photography and web design business, could use this opportunity to significantly accelerate their development.

“Overheads such as rent and the lack of access to high speed broadband often hold regional start-ups back. Programs such as the Creative Industries Business Incubation Lab are so important because they reduce some of these common barriers to entry, or remove them altogether,” he said.

“We’ll take care of the distractions for the next six months so Digica and Photografica can fully devote their time and resources to building their businesses.”

Both Digica and Photografica had been operating out of home offices until securing a place in the program.

Tim Nixon, Director, Digica said the new location offered a fresh set of opportunities, different to the home office setting.

“My company was outgrowing its old premises and I was looking for a dynamic environment that would cater for my changing needs. The IC fitted the bill perfectly and the chance to be involved with the Creative Industries Incubation Lab couldn't be passed up,” he said.

“I've found a really good professional vibe at the Innovation Centre and mixing with other small businesses and entrepreneurs helps keep you focused on your business goals.”

The length of tenancy offered through the program was extended from two months to three months following feedback from all applicants. By choosing to co-locate in the office, Photografica and Digica have been able to extend their tenancy to six months.

Mr Geoff Powell, Director, Photografica said he hopes when his time is up at the IC, he will feel like his business plans have progressed significantly and that he has had lots of good advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.

“I want to leave with an increased confidence to expand and develop my ventures further,” he said.

The next round of the Creative Industries Business Incubation Lab will be open to application in June 2013. Details will be advertised through the Sunshine Coast Council and Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast websites.

For more information about smartArts+ visit council’s website or call the Customer Contact Centre on 5475 7272.