Queensland’s regional innovators can share in $6 million of dedicated funding to encourage local entrepreneurs, business leaders and key industries to harness innovation and create new economic opportunities and jobs.

Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said 12 regional innovation funds, each worth $500,000 over three years, would help build momentum for innovation and entrepreneurship across Queensland.

“Our regions are incredibly innovative and resilient – and the new Advancing Regional Innovation program will help locals work together to connect and leverage efforts that spur innovation and create jobs,” Ms Enoch said.

The funding is available to support activities including upgrading or equipping innovation spaces, boosting capability and skills development, increasing access to mentors and investors, tools and platforms to enable greater collaboration, and programs that connect entrepreneurs with each other and with regional businesses and industries.

Regions choose the activities they want to undertake.

“This is a direct result of input from hundreds of regional stakeholders who contributed to co-design workshops for the Advance Queensland initiative,” Ms Enoch said.

“We have consulted across the state to identify what each unique region needs.

“Our regional stakeholders told us that collaboration was critical to innovation success.

“We want this funding to be used to stimulate and link up efforts at a regional level and to encourage greater understanding and collaboration between entrepreneurs, local business leaders and major industries, councils, universities and the community at large.”

The funding is available for 12 regions including Far North Queensland, North Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Fitzroy, Outback Queensland, Wide Bay Burnett, Darling Downs and Maranoa, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and West Moreton, Redlands and Logan, and the Gold Coast.

Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said regional Queensland had always been a source of entrepreneurship.

“Regional Queenslanders face many challenges associated with their environment and geography which lead to resilience and innovation,” Mr Sowerby said.

“The investment in this initiative will help regional communities to capitalise on their region’s natural strengths.”

Applications must show strong collaboration with multiple partners matching the state funding, and activities in multiple places within a region.

To be eligible to apply for the relevant regional fund, interested applicants must pre-register their interest on the Advance Queensland website by 5pm Friday 18 November 2016.

Ms Enoch also announced an additional $1.5 million Network fund which will be used to link efforts across regional Queensland, provide tools that can be used across the state, and support visiting international entrepreneur programs.

“We will meet with regional representatives to determine priorities for the Network fund and information sessions will be conducted across the State to answer questions about the program and the application process,” Ms Enoch said.

For more information, visit https://advance.qld.gov.au/entrepreneurs-startups/advancing-regional-innovation.aspx

 

Media contact: Daniel Lato 0438 830 201