When you think innovation, you think Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York, Boston or Tokyo. However, there’s one we’ve missed: regional North Queensland. It’s easy to give in to the notion that only trendy start-up hubs can birth great ideas but our humble city is no stranger to the challenges of innovation. So how can a small regional city be more attractive to entrepreneurs than the world’s most popular start-up capitals?
WHY I CHOSE TOWNSVILLE
“Each place is a perfect innovation ground for the unique problems that it faces. Personally I’ve lived in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and since moving to Townsville eight years ago I have started three businesses, all of which are currently operating. My personal experience is that Townsville has all the ingredients necessary to allow innovators to test new products, try new services and experiment within a diverse and responsive marketplace yet without the prohibitive investments and crippling challenges faced by innovators in larger cities. I would encourage young entrepreneurs and innovators to give it a go in Townsville. When you’re considering the best location to launch your new product, don’t simply follow the crowd. Take a look in your own back yard. You might find that this city will provide you with a nurturing foundation that will grow your idea to maturity. Still not convinced? Here’s some strong reasons why Townsville will help your business flourish.”
– Maddy Voinea, Bluekino.
“The opportunity today is greater than its ever been in all of history. We’re seeing virtually every industry being impacted by the efficiencies and the improvements that technology brings. You can innovate literally anywhere. We need to think globally and think bigger about what we are doing. The problems that we face here today are not dissimilar to problems faced all around the world by people. So when we’re thinking about how to solve a problem, we should think; who else has this problem? How could I create a solution that can be used anywhere?” – Luke Anear, SafetyCulture
“I look at my staff at the University and we can focus on ideas, work late and do really amazing things without having to worry about spending hours commuting. You don’t realise how much cognitive load goes into just existing in a city until you leave one and come to a place like this.”
– Ian Atkinson, eResearch Centre, James Cook University.
“You don’t need to be in a capital city. I think people need to move from that mentality of ‘you need to have the support of a major city’ when you don’t. Here you can come up with product innovation.”
– Carolyn McManus, McManus Group.
“Having experienced the whole San Francisco dream, I realised; unless you’re trying to raise money or your customers are there, you don’t have to be there. You’re better off being in Townsville because the lifestyle in Townsville far outweighs being anywhere else.”
– Stuart King, Fierce Ventures.
“Often in cities you have to go through seven different people before you find a person who can help. We cut out about five or six of those steps in Townsville because we know exactly who can do it.”
– Carolyn McManus.
“One benefit to being in Townsville is that there is far less noise. You go to San Francisco and there’s meet-ups all the time, people inviting you to all kinds of events. Those things are distractions, they are time wasters and they are slowing you down. The best entrepreneurs don’t waste time with things that aren’t progressing and moving their company forward.”
– Stuart King.
“Business is tough for everyone, everywhere. If you think it’s easier somewhere else, you’re wrong, because markets that are really prospering have a lot of competition. This is not about the market, it’s not about the economy, it’s about you. The greatest businesses on earth were built in difficult times.”
– Andrew Acton, Explore Property.
“You might have more customers but you’ve got more competition as well. It’s here where you start. I know many, many successful entrepreneurs that are still based here.”
– Carolyn McManus.
“For the creative process to happen, I need to be in an environment that inspires me on a personal and professional level. In Townsville, I’m surrounded by nature, people who support innovation and a community that wants to see things and make them happen. So for me it’s the perfect environment.”
– Larissa Bright, Larissa Bright Skincare.
Townsville also has a plethora of programs and events to help innovators in our city. Smart Seeds is one of them – check it out.