Reaping innovation benefits for Queensland regions

Queensland continues to cement its reputation as a regional innovation hot-spot through new funding announced that supports startups and drives jobs for regional Queenslanders.

The learning from the highly successful Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) will now be piloted in three regions – Gladstone, Mackay and Toowoomba to further grow and encourage entrepreneurship in the regions.

QUT Entrepreneurship will facilitate the engagement with the three regions to help identify their own unique competitive advantages.

The MIT Reap team with Innovation Minister Kate Jones (center front) L-R: Professor Arun Sharma, Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio, Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson and QUT Executive Director Entrepreneurship Professor Rowena Barrett.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said each region would receive up to $100,000 in funding to further grow their local innovation eco-system and create jobs.

“Our work with MIT’s REAP and Advance Queensland really highlights the potential of regions in Queensland to innovate and create the firms and jobs of the future,” Ms Jones said.

“Providing funding to pilot this program in Gladstone, Mackay and Toowoomba will ensure that we can continue to develop tailored local solutions to support for innovators and entrepreneurs in regional Queensland.”

A team of Queensland organisations, including the Queensland Government are participating in the MIT-led program for developing Queensland’s innovation ecosystem.

QUT Vice-President Research and Innovation Arun Sharma has championed Queensland’s participation in the MIT REAP program and welcomes the extension of this program into regional Queensland.

Professor Sharma said the university’s participation in the two year program with MIT aimed to identify interventions to transform Queensland into a globally leading innovation hub for sectors linked to the state’s natural resources.

“We have extended the REAP framework to ensure that entrepreneurial ecosystems are not just a big city phenomenon but also a reality for Queensland’s regional towns – each with their unique comparative advantage, Professor Sharma said.

“The three pilots being announced today are an important outcome of the program and a milestone in the state’s innovation journey.”

The report is available via QUT eprints.

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