Regional Startups 3 MIN READ

Startup Mackay has today announced a raise of $15,000 to fund its second startup weekend on November 18-20, with the combined investment coming from the Queensland Government, Mackay Regional Council, and the Bank of Queensland.

The state funding comes from the Government’s $300,000 Queensland Startup Event and Activities fund, which is focused around supporting the state’s tech and startup ecosystem through, as the name suggests, events and other initiatives.

As such, the Startup Mackay event fits well within the criteria, with the November event open to entrepreneurs with creative ideas and will look to facilitate the collaboration between educators, students, developers and community leaders alike.

“This year is shaping up to be really interesting. With the hype of our 2015 event still buzzing around Mackay we should see an abundance of new ideas pitched,” said Dennis Murphy, president of Startup Mackay.

Startups will have the opportunity to pitch ideas, develop prototypes, network with mentors, investors and cofounders. Teams will present their ideas in front a panel of judges for the chance to win from $1,300 in donated prizes from BlueChilli, with the event open both profit and not-for-profit organisations.

Startup Mackay was first launched in July last year, where 33 budding entrepreneurs pitched, validated and presented their ideas at Central Queensland University. Winning the event last year was live-streaming platform Numismatics, with their idea of an online current trading platform of coins and notes.

Event organiser Joel Cox told the Tech Street Journal that he was pleasantly surprised by the outcomes of the event and the number of participants.

“From what we saw of the organisers of Startup Weekend there are just so many amazing ideas, that young and old people have, and they now have an outlet to actually take these ideas to and take them off the ground,” Cox said.

Queensland is home to more than 200 startups which employ over 1,900 people and play an important role in creating jobs for the future. The Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland program is assisting in funding startup weekends like Mackay to help deliver events and activities that build entrepreneurial and technology startup skills.

Recently Queensland has stepped up its game in the startup space, securing one of the largest regional hubs and coworking spaces in Australia – last month Mackay announced it would be launching its first coworking hub, Split Spaces, to support small businesses and startups.

Founder of Split Spaces Jarryd Townson said the hub will help facilitate a startup’s journey by offering coworking space and support local entrepreneurs with access to internationally-renowned members and business advisors.

“Think Google and Facebook’s creative work spaces…then imagine one just like it in Mackay,” Townson said.

“Split Spaces is more than just a coworking space. It is a community of like-minded, driven, inspirational and dedicated change-makers who want to be part of the bigger picture, who believe in the power of innovation, who want to foster their individual and team growth, and who want to work together to improve the business landscape in Mackay.”

The Government has also recently injected $7.5 million into Queensland’s network of regional hubs like Mackay and also Fire Station 101 in Ipswich. Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the investment into Regional Innovation Hubs is an important shift in how governments treat innovation and how ‘soft infrastructure’ can foster collaboration.

By investing in the ecology of innovation, Queensland aims to drive long term innovation from its more diverse and regional areas.

“Our investment is designed to draw on this huge potential, through supporting our regional startups and entrepreneurs and funding activities that will enable our regional innovation ecosystems to grow and mature. We want regional innovation activity that will continue to build well beyond this funding commitment,” Enoch said.

Image: Startup Weekend Mackay 2015. Source: Supplied.

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