Innovation in Townsville has thrived in the past couple of years, with several startups seeing brilliant success since their inception in our regional city. Now, entrepreneurs from all over Australia and the world are being invited to innovate and grow in our slice of paradise thanks to the combined efforts of Hot DesQ, iTAP and the Government’s Innovate Queensland program.

When it comes to innovation and starting a business in Townsville, we are exceptionally lucky. We have the perfect sample size population for rolling out products and doing so is incredibly affordable. However, translating that to startups has always been quite difficult – until now. Myles Coker – Partnerships Manager for Innovation Programs over at GHD – says the government is working harder than ever to put a spotlight on innovation in Queensland.

“I think there’s a dual focus. There’s one on fostering entrepreneurs and startups who are homegrown and also a clever strategy to attract more from elsewhere as well,” says Myles. “Part of this strategy is to attract high calibre entrepreneurs and startups from outside to Queensland. I think their tactic there is to inject some talent and some mindset of an entrepreneur into the state, which will act as a catalyst. The more people who understand what it means to be an entrepreneur and what challenges you might face as a startup, the bigger the chance for larger organisations to add some value to entrepreneurship and maybe partner or buy services from new startups.”

Aside from the affordable living and strong business network, entrepreneurs and startups who gain entry into the Hot DesQ program and move to our sunny side of the world will also see huge benefits for their business. One of these is monetary, with a minimum of $50,000 equity-free funding available and a maximum of $100,000.

Successful applicants will also receive six months worth of free co-working space for 6 months as well as access to support and mentors to achieve Hot DesQ Network points, which are activities that measure your contribution to the Queensland startup ecosystem.

This is brilliant news for regional cities such as ours, as it means we can both learn from and collaborate with a whole new world of entrepreneurs.

“We need to open ourselves up, invite them over and see what other potential things we could do with interesting companies. What can we learn from them? How can they help us improve our business? How can they modernise our practices and inspire our own people to come up with new solutions or how we can partner with them to create new solutions?” says Myles.

“Hot DesQ is as much a cultural exchange as it is a technology and innovation exchange.”

Helping to foster the exchange of ideas and create a healthy startup environment is InnovationNQ (iNQ), who are working closely with Hot DesQ and iTAP in order to provide a creative hub for successful applicants. One such startup is Zentivo, an Insurtech startup, focusing on digitising the life insurance claims process, who was enticed from New South Wales to iNQ in the latest round of Hot DesQ applicants.

Mayor Jenny Hill also sees the valuable potential for both our city and startups, saying that council are taking huge steps to stamp our city as the digital capital in northern Australian – something that will be hugely appealing for tech startups wanting to move.

“We’re building a data centre as part of our disaster management centre that will give us capability through all events to maintain contact with the digital world,” Mayor Jenny Hill says. “In terms of resilience and recovery, it also means that if someone’s business has gone down because they don’t have power we may be able to allow access through our own digital centre for them to be able to have business continuity. That in itself aids companies if they are looking to move north, to know that no matter what the event is, they will still be able to do business even during the worst disaster you can think of.”


Photo courtesy of Sebastian, Co-Founder at LESS Industries and mentor at 2017’s Hot DesQ event.



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