Innovation Centre launches competition to support Australian aspiring entrepreneurs

The Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (ICSC) is continuing its campaign to encourage entrepreneurship and new business on the Sunshine Coast and throughout Australia hosting a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style National Business Pitch Competition on Thursday, 3 May.

The competition welcomes Australian entrepreneurs and students to submit an innovative business plan or idea for the opportunity to win $15,000 in prizes including $1,000 cash, a $2000 MacBook Air Lapton as well as business service packages from sponsors: redchip lawyers, BDO, RADBE Consulting, Fisher Adams Kelly, Traffika, and ICSC. Entries close Thursday, 12 April.

Innovation Centre CEO, Mark Paddenburg said the competition was just part of the Innovation Centre’s commitment to supporting new businesses and the economy.

“In these economically challenging times, entrepreneurs have to do more work to gain recognition and attract investment in the increasingly competitive environment, which is why opportunities like this are important,” Mr Paddenburg said.

“This competition provides a practical and high profile way for anyone looking to advance their business and commercialise their new ideas,” Mr Paddenburg said.

The top ten entries will be shortlisted and presented to an audience and a panel of potential investors, similar to the popular ABC TV show, Dragon’s Den. The finalists will then be given the opportunity to further impress the judges, venture capitalists and angel investors in a final pitch, after which, the winner will be announced.

The competition is just one of the exciting events that make up the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, an event that marks a decade of smart business success. Proudly sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Council, Westpac, Business Matters and Knowledge Wise (formerly EH Technologies), the event is open to the community who are invited to join leading entrepreneurs, investors and advisors for a day that is expected to be one of the biggest technology and innovation celebrations ever held in the region.

“The event is an opportunity to recognise the strong contributions made by the Innovation Centre throughout the past ten years, and its ongoing commitment to support and build innovation and entrepreneurship on the Sunshine Coast,” Mar Paddenburg said.

Since 2002, the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast has directly supported the start-up and growth of more than 87 businesses, created over 350 jobs and helped raise $24 million in investment for client companies. By 2020, the Innovation Centre goal is to have helped nurture an additional 180 start-up companies and 420 knowledge-based career opportunities. 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.

“Here at the Innovation Centre, we work closely with entrepreneurs through our business development program, offering advice and a wide range of networking opportunities,” Mr Paddenburg said.

“We are proud of the accomplishments the Innovation Centre has achieved in its first ten years and I am expecting the next ten to be even better.”

As well as the National Business Pitch Competition, the event will also include the Sunshine Coast’s best entrepreneurs’ networking opportunity of the year, gourmet barbecue dinner hosted by the CEO and board, an update on ICSC client companies succeeding on the global stage and keynote presentations by Queensland Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garett AO and Lockheed Martin Deputy Director, David Fallon.

For more information about the competition, details on how to enter and the rest of the program of events, please visit

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