The Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast is continuing to help young businesses generate vital funds to grow their businesses during some of the toughest economic times Queensland has experienced in decades.
In fact, just in the past 3 years, the Innovation Centre has helped entrepreneurs in its network raise more than $8 million in equity investments and grants and a further $2.3 million in loans.
Add to this the $4.4million, visiting R&D tax concession experts RADBE Consulting has helped raise for Sunshine Coast businesses in the same period and it is not surprising that the Innovation Centre has been recognised as an international hotspot for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Innovation Centre entrepreneur-in-residence Nigel Hall said in the last three years it had become more and more difficult to get investment.
“The global financial crisis has affected all areas of investment, with investors in all areas considering their investment decisions more carefully,” Mr Hall said.
“This means entrepreneurs have to do more work to attract investment in the increasing competitive environment which is why programs like ours are important.
“Here at the Innovation Centre, we work closely with entrepreneurs through our business development program focusing on five key areas including business planning; sales and marketing; strategy; finance; and operations & systems,” Mr Hall said.
Mr Hall said equity investment in young businesses could come from one of four different areas: friends and family (sometimes called friends, fools and family in the industry); angel investors, high net-worth individuals; venture capital third party managers; and/or industry partners.
“Now regardless of which area your investors come from, they have all been adversely affected by the GFC, which in Queensland so far this year has also been compounded by the effects of the natural disasters experienced.
“For this reason it has never been more important for entrepreneurs to spend more time ensuring they have done their homework and business planning which is what we help them with,” Mr Hall said.
As part of the Innovation Centre’s commitment to growing businesses and the economy on the Sunshine Coast, this year it is continuing to run its business development and networking program.
The next event in that program is April’s Enterprise Tuesday event on Tuesday 19th April featuring business incubation and investment expert, OneVentures Innovation Fund General Partner, Anne-Marie Birkill, who will present “Gathering resources to make your ideas happen”. Enterprise Tuesday runs from 4pm sharp to 6.30pm. Tickets are $33 per person. For more information visit the events page of the Innovation Centre website – www.innovation-centre.com.au.
Mr Hall said the Sunshine Coast, like many other areas in Queensland still reliant on tourism, was struggling and that was why it was so important to continue to nurture business in the area.
“The Sunshine Coast has to develop a more robust economy that is less reliant on the tourism industry. We have the talent and the expertise and with the continuing commitment of stakeholders in the region such as the Innovation Centre, the University of the Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and other levels of government, we could become national leaders in areas such as clean technology, digital and creative industries.