Home' Forge : Vol 1 No 3 Contents 107
there is potential for small and
large businesses, the local TAFE, the
University of Southern Queensland,
and the Queensland Government to
collaborate through the facility and
help a new generation of start-up
entrepreneurs in Ipswich.
Lindsay says, 'We want the 1860 Hub
to enhance Ipswich's position as a city
with a strong digital focus, and help
diversify its economy from mainly
traditional industries to knowledge-
intensive industries that generate export
income and create jobs globally'.
The Ipswich City Council believes that
the 1860 Hub will attract, encourage and
foster the development of high-growth
enterprises that create high-wage jobs
and compete globally.
'Most of the new jobs' growth is digital
technologies,' Lindsay says. 'The
council wants to encourage more job
creation in growth industries for the
city's young, expanding population.
Youth unemployment is a signifcant
issue across Australia, particularly in
areas that rely heavily on traditional
industries, such as manufacturing. We
must ensure that Ipswich's economy is
ready for the opportunities and threats
of the digital economy.'
The strategy also applies to Ipswich
City Council. Lindsay says that the 1860
Hub will become an innovation 'testbed'
for council ideas, and will help solve
community problems. 'There is a real
opportunity to provide certain council
data to the 1860 Hub and let bright
young entrepreneurs fnd solutions for
problems that range from barking dogs,
to public safety, to energy effciency.’
In turn, the 1860 Hub will help Ipswich
City Council become more innovative
and ensure that it capitalises on
opportunities for local government in
the digital era. 'The 1860 Hub will be
a model for other councils in Australia
to work with their areas' start-up
communities and drive innovation,'
A strong, vibrant community
Ipswich is superbly positioned to
develop a large tech-based innovation
ecosystem. It has one of the country's
youngest populations: the median age
was 32.1 in 2011, Australian Bureau of
Statistics data shows. Unlike most of
Australia, Ipswich is getting younger, as
relatively high housing affordability and
an excellent lifestyle attracts families.
Ipswich also has one of Australia's
fastest-growing populations. An
estimated resident population of
177,323 in 2012 is projected to grow to
435,000 by 2031. Almost one-quarter
of Ipswich's population by then
will be aged 14 or under. This trend
reinforces the council's strategy to
ensure that Ipswich has industries
that capitalise on a young, vibrant,
Location is another strength. Ipswich,
a 40-minute drive west of Brisbane,
is in the epicentre of the booming
south-east Queensland economy. It has
access to two major road networks,
and is less than an hour from major
domestic and international airports
History shows that innovation
ecosystems, such as Silicon Valley in the
United States, often develop in small or
mid-size cities that are satellites to larger
ones. Their size allows innovation to
fourish, while their proximity to capital
cities helps start-up ventures connect
with larger businesses.
Innovation ecosystems also develop in cities
with vibrant cultures. As Queensland's
oldest provincial city, Ipswich has a rich
culture and history, and is less than an
hour 's drive to the Gold Coast. This
lifestyle is important in attracting young
entrepreneurs and innovators.
An opportunity for business in the
Lindsay says that there are two core
opportunities for business in the 1860
Hub. The frst is commercial: becoming
a fnancial partner or sponsor in the
design, construction and operation of
the Hub, which is expected to have up-
front ft-out costs of up to $500,000.
The second is through business support:
mentoring entrepreneurs in the hub,
collaborating with them on projects,
and helping the best ones grow through
investments or other support.
'The 1860 Hub is not just a tool for
young entrepreneurs and the council,'
Lindsay says. 'It can become a very
signifcant resource for established
businesses in South East Queensland
that use it to create, test or develop
ideas. There are a stack of common
industry problems that businesses and
start-ups in the 1860 Hub can work on
together to fnd commercial solutions
and help the community.'
Asked what the 1860 Hub will look like
in fve years’ time, Lindsay says: ‘I don’t
know, and that's the great thing. We
want the 1860 Hub to take on a life of its
own as the innovation ecosystem grows,
and not be too prescriptive or have too
many rules about what it should or
should not do.'
The 1860 Hub will be another exciting
chapter in a city that is embracing the
digital era like few others -- and will build
on Ipswich's position as one of Australia's
-- and the world's -- smartest places.
To learn more about Ipswich City
Council, visit www.ipswich.qld.gov.au.
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