$1 million boost for Darling Downs and Maranoa Advancing Regional Innovation Program

The Palaszczuk Government is backing a $1 million community-driven program to fuel economic growth, spark innovation and drive job creation in the Darling Downs and Maranoa region, Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch announced today (Monday).

Ms Enoch said the government will support the collaborative project led by the Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE), with funding of $500,000 over three years through its $6 million Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP).

“The Palaszczuk Government’s ARIP is driving growth around Queensland by fostering innovation and strengthening the capabilities of regional businesses,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Darling Downs and Maranoa ARIP project will target local communities across the region with grassroots activities that will include town hall-style events and hackathons. Businesses in the region are keen to ride the innovation wave and will be able to do that through this program, which supports innovative businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups.”

The five partners working with TSBE are Heritage Bank, Engage and Create Consulting, University of Southern Queensland, Rural Business Collective and Seed+Sprout.

Darling Downs and Maranoa ARIP Project Coordinator Julia Telford said the ARIP funding would empower people in the region to forge new networks and connections.

“What this funding allows us is the chance to be proactive about the future we are wanting to create for ourselves, and learn from the different communities,” Ms Telford said.

“One size does not fit all when it comes to rural and regional Queensland, and we have valued that from the beginning of this process. This funding allows the opportunity to work within each community so they can develop solutions using some of the skills this project will provide.”

Food Leaders Australia General Manager Bruce McConnel said the ARIP program would take innovative learning to businesses in the region and give them the tools to drive their own destiny through sustainable growth.

“The regions have a strong history of community collaboration and mentorship towards a common purpose,” Mr McConnel said.

“This community spirit and drive to see the regions succeed through innovation and new ideas will be key to the success of the program. The ARIP will break down the mindsets that inhibit innovative thinking and new growth within our regions.”

University of Southern Queensland Institute for Resilient Regions Executive Director Professor John Cole said the university was delighted to be a collaborating participant in the ARIP program.

“Realising the entrepreneurial potential of the rich human capital of regional Queensland is a major economic and social opportunity for our state,” Professor Cole said.

“This partnership will enable new innovative capacities and linkages to be embedded in the region better enabling regional Queenslanders to secure their share of growing global markets.”

Under ARIP, the Palaszczuk Government is providing matched funding of up to $500,000 to 12 regions: Darling Downs Maranoa, Far North Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, North Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Fitzroy, Outback Queensland, Wide Bay Burnett, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and West Moreton, Redlands and Logan.

Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $420 million flagship initiative to drive innovation across the state and turn great ideas into new products, businesses and jobs.

Visit the Advancing Regional Innovation Program (http://advance.qld.gov.au/small-business/advancing-regional-innovation.aspx) for more details on ARIP, or contact ARIP Project Coordinator Julia Telford on 0427 408 713 or [email protected]