First Four Months in Review. And what's next for SPARK BUREAU.

Photo: Danny Wishaw

Photo: Danny Wishaw

by Zach Johnson

So.. I didn't do an end-of-year post in December. But the more I thought about it the less I felt like I should do one out of obligation to an arbitrary date and the more I really wanted to talk about what we've achieved in the last 4 months.

We're currently at 13 paying members with many more using our space for casual work, meetings and team collaboration on a daily basis. Incidentally, we’ve already attracted multiple female founders representing 40% of our membership across a range of sectors including fashion, food and fitness/wellness. And 70% of our selected incubator companies have a female founder or co-founder.  In case you missed that, 70% is the exact inverse of the gender ratio in startups throughout the industry where, even in the most favourable environments, female representation on founding teams is 30% at best.

In the final quarter of 2015 we held or hosted 11 events in our space attracting roughly 500 visitors. This has served to both rapidly establish SPARK BUREAU as a highly accessible and desirable destination for startups and entrepreneurs as well as *the* place to be connected with potential future partners, collaborators and investors.

We were covered in various media in 2015 including Forge Magazine, Business Insider, ABC Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine Coast Daily with more than 20 Mentions!

As for funding, we've been awarded a grant from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS). In fact, I believe we will be the first organisation in Australia to finalise our innovation funding agreement under the new government.

More important than our own funding though is SPARK BUREAU members have raised over $600,000 in the last 4 months. That is truely awesome and is indicative of the solid companies we have here and the strength of the investment community on the Sunshine Coast. This is just a sliver of what we can achieve in 2016.

What's next? Well, we're launching our first incubator intake of seven startups on the 1st of Feb so, there's that. Seriously, that's a big deal! More to follow on who they are and what they do.

We're also working on a number of really exciting collaborations with our current and new partners so stay tuned for more details coming soon.