Embracing the digital economy

Article image - Embracing the digital economy Vann Phadilok is one of the first participants at Fire Station 101. Photo by Fred McKie.

Ipswich City Council has launched a new startup and innovation hub, and is hoping to position the region as a leader of the digital economy.

A former fire station in the heart of Ipswich’s CBD has been transformed into a digital innovation and startup hub aimed at fostering entrepreneurship.

Fire Station 101, officially launched last month, is owned by Ipswich City Developments and operated by Ipswich City Enterprises.

Fire Station 101 Community Manager Chad Renando said the facility would provide the community with the tools to tackle digital technology industries and the jobs of the future.

“Technology is changing the way we work and the way we interact. Fire Station 101 shows what is possible and provides a way to take advantage of the opportunities emerging from these changes.

“The City of Ipswich is investing in a bright, digitally-enabled future, a future in which your ideas add real value to your customers and the wider community.”

Mr Renando said Fire Station 101 was an incubator and accelerator to activate innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity.

“From our home base of Ipswich – Queensland’s fastest growing city – members have access to mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities.

“Our mentors further accelerate business growth, while our exceptional IT and data capabilities enable business success.

“Members work side-by-side with talented, motivated people. It is the ideal environment in which to learn, share and collaborate.”

Ipswich City Developments Pty Ltd Chairman Paul Pisasale said Fire Station 101 was about investing in the community and creating a collaborative space for startups.

“The jobs most likely to survive in the next 20 years are the jobs that require high levels of social and creative intelligence and technical ability.

“That’s what we will develop, support and strengthen at Fire Station 101, and that’s one key area that we’re focused on in the Ipswich CBD.

“We’re working together here to create real outcomes, real businesses and real success stories now and in the future.”

Ipswich City Enterprises Pty Ltd Chairman Paul Tully said Fire Station 101 would provide a launching pad for new businesses while encouraging the expansion of existing enterprises.

“Manufacturing is the largest employer across Ipswich – more than 16 percent of the workforce is based in the industry compared to the state average of 8.5 percent,” Mr Tully said.

“This reflects our abundance of industrial land, but it’s also worth noting that manufacturing is in decline in Queensland and as a city we simply cannot afford to stand still, we must be innovative.

“The use of digital technology will generate new outcomes for industry and community by developing knowledge-based jobs, driving productivity and building on our regional advantages.”

Fire Station 101 also heralds the beginning of a new partnership with Accenture who will provide a Smart City Digital Blueprint for the city.