INNOVATE NQ (iNQ) HAS BECOME SYNONYMOUS WITH HOUSING SOME THE NORTH’S OUTSTANDING INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS SEEKING A HUB TO HARNESS THEIR IDEAS AND CREATIVITY AND CONNECT WITH LIKE-MINDED GAME CHANGERS. RECENTLY iNQ WELCOMES THEIR NEW CO-ORDINATOR NICOLE LUCAS. WE SPOKE WITH HER ABOUT HER ROLE AND VISION FOR THE CENTRE.
Tell us a little about your personal and professional history.
I grew up in Brisbane but have also lived in Sydney. I moved to Townsville two years ago and I love it here! I have spent most of my career in retail operations at both a national and international level. After having children, I started consulting in retail and marketing to local businesses both here and in Brisbane.
What motivated you to take on this new role?
I took on this role as I love connecting with people and this role with iNQ (as I see it) is all about relationships. My passion has always been for the start-up phase of business – the ability to have input into the ‘how and why’ and developing strategies around this is such an exciting time in a business. The experience I have gained in marketing and business operations will no doubt be of great value to many of our members and I am excited to assist them by sharing my knowledge and experience in these areas.
Tell us about what your role will entail and what you aim to achieve personally.
My role is part of iNQ’s funding with ARIP – Advance QLD and is focused on the growth and support of the innovation and start-up community within North QLD. I hope to help individuals in the early stages of their business head in the right direction – preventing them from wasting both time and money.
My focus will be placed on three key areas:
- Community development
- Events and education
- iNQ central management
My hope is that iNQ will bolster existing business support services located in Townsville as North QLD’s premier innovation centre.
What vision do you have for the future of iNQ?
I hope to put iNQ on the map as the central point for those wanting to innovate and disrupt current markets and grow our network. There is no reason why living in a regional area should be a barrier to success. (Local business) SafetyCulture is a firm testament to that.
What are your thoughts on the innovation and start-up activity in Townsville currently?
We have an incredible amount of talent here, although I think we can still do more to help founders turn their ideas into something marketable.
iNQ’s recent ‘Local Hero’ event showed some incredible examples of just how far some of our local entrepreneurs have come. There were two common threads that came out of the event – they need assistance with marketing and/or they need funding.
We hope to facilitate these needs by providing either the education or connections required.
Tell us about what kind of services and connections iNQ is currently offering local entrepreneurs and how you can assist in not only getting ideas off the ground but helping businesses thrive.
iNQ is focussed on providing a solid network, education and opportunity for entrepreneurs. Everyone who is involved at iNQ is incredibly passionate about the start-up space and are willing to go where others won’t to facilitate the needs of those starting out. Our strength is undoubtedly our network, with successful entrepreneurs from all over the Australia and beyond acting as mentors to our members. iNQ has run a number of successful programs and hopes to not only continue this but hold workshops and events more frequently in line with the needs of our members. For anyone in the start-up space, things have never been more accessible or achievable.