Rockhampton Regional Council realised early on that the startup businesses of today will be the employers of tomorrow. To address the need for local support and assistance to startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners, they established the SmartHub to activate the local ecosystem.
The SmartHub opened its doors at Customs House, Rockhampton in early 2018 with only two team members working from their co-working space. Since then, it has undergone steady growth resulting in the space now reaching maximum capacity.
SmartHub Business Manager, Elize Hattin said their growth was partially accelerated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the resulting shift in the way people work.
“We have recently increased our co-working capacity by an additional seven desks, to a total of 44,” she said.
“We are a driving force of innovation in the region and many of our SmartHub members have enjoyed strong business growth in the past few months.
“Five of these members have scaled to the point of being able to move to the next step and establish themselves at their own commercial premises,” Elize said.
“They have all remained as SmartHub members and this helps support the next generation of founders in our local innovation ecosystem.
“The SmartHub was instrumental in assisting these startups to launch and scale through programs such as our Start Up Weekend and Turbo Traction Lab, as well as through mentoring and business coaching.
“Our businesses are working to expand their markets and customer base, refine their products and services, and upscale further,” she said.
Some of the member success stories include:
Wendy Bishop’s Projects One Safety Online – a platform for small business owners in the construction industry to manage risk.
Matthew Doyle’s Diabetes Dashboard – an all-in-one personal diabetes management platform designed to improve people's abilities to manage and care for people with diabetes.
Leah Samson’s Queen Cherrybomb – creating High Performance 1950's motowear for the modern-day bombshell.
Donna White’s Our Treasured Memories – offering three COVID-Safe, modern methods of saying farewell to loved ones.
Kat Houghton’s KYK The Label – designing mastectomy bras for breast cancer warriors and survivors.
Mark Allen’s Patch – an application which allows you to make an offer on any property whether it’s for sale or not.
A testimonial from a recent SmartHub member survey signifies the breadth of support available to assist startups in the region. “From fortnightly meetings with Elize, which have and continue to provide me with motivation and advice to keep going – especially during low points, encouragement from staff, organisation of radio and TV interviews and podcasts, connecting me to other startup businesses, hosting the launch of my business, notifications of funding opportunities, arranging an opportunity to pitch my business to the Angel Network and Commonwealth funding representative to attending social events.”
SmartHub is planning workshops, programs and events over the next year for startups, SMEs and those looking for professional development.
Some of the exciting initiatives include a CQ METS Accelerator program, a Start Up Weekend, an Artificial Intelligence workshop, Innovation Awards, a new podcast series, BDO Acceler8or, Business Support CQ program, a Youth Entrepreneurship Program, co-working open days, intern programs, and a series of courses to teach time management, business automation, and how to start a business from scratch.
For more information and updates on these events and programs, follow the SmartHub Facebook page.
For more information on SmartHub:
Phone: 07 4936 8444
SmartHub is proudly supported by Advance Queensland through the Regional Startup Hubs Support Program.