Information Technology could be Rocky's next big industry
FORGET the Smart State, Rockhampton is preparing to become the Smart City, fostering information technology startups.
The process begins with a program to audit and map existing IT businesses in the region after the State Department of Science, IT and Innovation requested a $3000 contribution from Rockhampton Regional Council to map the region's startup ecosystem.
A similar exercise was undertaken in the south-east last year by Boundlss, which will also complete the regional audit.
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Council's economic development manager Rick Palmer said the project would make sure regional Queensland did not get left behind.
"For us, this is about contemporary Rockhampton and understanding what modern businesses are here," he said.
"This subculture is much stronger than you realise and the nature of the industry means regional areas are at no disadvantage. IT can be conducted anywhere from large regional companies to home-based businesses.
"People in small places can have a contemporary business… it comes down to having good broadband connections but the problem is people don't have that."
Mr Palmer told yesterday's performance and service committee meeting the Regional Startup Ecosystem Mapping exercise would identify significant stakeholders and community leaders.
"It will help to attract startups and innovators out of their silos and into a collaborative environment, fostering an entrepreneurial community," he said.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said the council was aware of a lot of startups and micro businesses in the region but there was very poor information about who they were, where they were and what could be done to help.
"We have a great track record in establishing IT-related businesses," Cr Strelow said.
"I'm thinking of Steve Baxter and Bevan Slattery and Jason Gomersall, but sadly they had to leave Rockhampton to grow.
"It would be lovely if we could do the things we need to do to grow businesses like theirs 'in place'."
What is a startup?
Startups search for a repeatable and scalable business model and are generally in the research and development phase.