Last week I gave up 4 full days to help out the Fraser Coast region as part of my "giving back" by discussing incubators and startup hubs.

On an invite from the Mayor Chris Loft, from the Fraser Coast Regional Council, they organised a packed schedule of public speaking and events for the four days.

I was very impressed by their proactive approach and committed to helping them wherever possible, sharing intellectual property and knowledge from our experiences at The World Incubator.

As we discussed:

  • What IP we have developed we are happy to share at no cost. This was always about giving back to rural and regional communities and that is first and foremost on our minds. We are not in the business of making money. Charity has to start at home.
  • It is most probable that the Fraser Coast Innovation Hub will use the IP of The World Incubator and it will be worded as such. 
  • This IP will be extended and continually improved collaboratively.
  • The Fraser Coast Regional Council has given $600,000 to their Innovation Hub. While Charters Towers Regional Council have not given any money, they have given us the use of the front space of Wherry House, which we are appreciative of, however, we would like more support from them, which at this point has not been forthcoming with the new Council. Let me reiterate that we love Wherry House, but monetary support like all other councils are happy to commit would help with wages of Community Manager and the program as a whole.

We are pleased to share our IP nationally, and perhaps one day internationally. This is not about holding on to our "IP" but sharing it with the world and giving people confidence to start businesses and believe in themselves. Hopefully by doing this they will be able to build businesses and create jobs. By building businesses, they will inherently give young and old, the opportunity to have meaningful careers in the region.

Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Chris Loft is incredibly proactive. He, alongside Rick Whittle, the Saturday Morning Presenter of ABC Wide Bay, organised:

  • An interview with ABC Radio in Bundaberg
  • A presentation to all of council at Fraser Coast Regional Council for an hour on The World Incubator, Charters Towers and why the Council needs to lead the way and encourage the community to support the initiative.
  • A presentation to all of council at Bundaberg Regional Council on The World Incubator, Charters Towers and how their community would benefit from a similar model.
  • Television interviews with Channel 7 and Win Television.
  • Presention to over 100 students in Maryborough from schools in the region for gifted students. One student has already developed a robotics business. Impressive.
  • Presentation to over 200 students in Hervey Bay, Members of Parliament, Dignitaries and business leaders.
  • Prestentation to Rotary Club
  • And many discussions related to how the Innovation Hub may work.

I was immensely impressed with the world that the Mayor had done. This proactive approach is a game changer. In Charters Towers, we need to ensure that Mayor Liz Schmidt has a more proactive and active approach to the incubator. While she did inherit it from her predecessor, it certainly is game changing for the 10 people in it. A little more support would go a long way - as jobs are needed in the region. 

We hope that given the time she has had to settle in, that this is her next step, as promised in our original meeting. These Incubators are hard work, and require funds. Given the trolling, I have funded this initiative so that no brands are tarnished by trolling. But next round, we would hope that the council takes this more seriously, as there doesn't appear to be any other initiatie that is doing what we are doing and putting Charters Towers on the map.

More than 1,000,000 people now have engaged with The World Incubator on social media and off line through the media. It's time for the Council to step up and be counted as a proactive, entrepreneurial outfit, that wants people to succeed in business, create jobs, and keep the young in town.

Stepping business up a notch in Charters Towers

You always need someone to take the first step, and for what is now considered an "outsider", it was a person who now lives in Melbourne and sometimes the U.S. - namely, me.
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