OUR STORY, SO FAR...
The genesis for SPARK BUREAU was a parliamentary presentation in early 2014 by Daniel Petre, former VP of Microsoft and partner of AirTree Ventures. Sunshine Coast MP Mal Brough was in attendance and heard Daniel describe the impact of digital disruption, robotics and the internet on the Australian economy, and the need for Australia to lift its game or be left behind. Mal invited Daniel to present to a cross-section of business and academic leaders from across the Sunshine Coast. Tony Riddle, Glenn Ferguson and Zach Johnson were among those who attended and were subsequently motivated “do something” to grow the digital opportunities available on the Sunshine Coast. Mal followed this presentation up with a visit to Silicon Valley, where he established relationships with a number of expat Australians as well as Google, Facebook, Adobe and many other leaders in the global digital economy.
Upon his return Mal and others agreed to work together to establish a not-for-profit company as the vehicle to support ‘acceleration’ on the Coast. The group visited leading incubators, accelerators and shared working spaces in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide – including muru-D, Fishburners, River City Labs, Innovyz and Google’s Australian operation – to learn from those who had runs on the board. The vision was to draw on the best elements of those facilities to create an accelerator, coworking and event space that would upskill local entrepreneurs, bring new talent to the region and help lead the growth of the Sunshine Coast economy.
Why SPARK BUREAU?
The Sunshine Coast currently has a unique opportunity to capitalise on major infrastructure projects, including Australia’s only greenfield CBD, the first new public hospital to be built in Australia in 20 years, expansion of one of the country’s newest universities, and the creation of a new international airport. The Coast is undergoing a profound transformation, but we want it to also be part of the transformation that is happening around the world – a community-driven movement inspired by innovation and entrepreneurship, which has the potential to deliver unprecedented economic benefits.
As one of Australia’s youngest and fastest growing regions, the Sunshine Coast is a natural partner for young, innovative businesses seeking to test and trial their solutions. The rapidly diversifying local economy is the perfect test site for innovative new products, and SPARK BUREAU companies will become part of the Coast’s growing entrepreneurial community, creating new jobs, revenue and valuable export opportunities. SPARK BUREAU is uniquely positioned to create direct social and economic impact for the Sunshine Coast region. We want to show Australian startups that success isn’t limited to capital cities – that they can take on the world from right here on the Sunshine Coast.