Featured News Unlocking the power of innovation

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Tue, 26 Jul 2022

Unlocking the power of innovation

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Smart Precinct NQ Managing Director Matthew Steine, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs at this morning’s joint announcement between JCU and Smart Precinct NQ.

JCU is strengthening its ties with Townsville’s start-up and business community, with the University and Smart Precinct NQ announcing a number of initiatives that will accelerate the future of innovation in the region.

Expanding to operate at the University’s Bebegu Yumba campus in Douglas, Smart Precinct NQ and JCU will jointly deliver a range of strategic initiatives and collaborate to:

  • Accelerate programs to support commercialisation of research and new industry activation;
  • Launch a regional industry innovation network to enable a collaborative approach to boost opportunities and solve industry challenges;
  • Make entrepreneurship and innovation programs available to JCU students and researchers;
  • Explore the creation of a regional investment fund to support the growth of new ventures;
  • Kick off the collaborative efforts with the upcoming Townville City Council Big Ideas Youth Challenge at the University’s Bebegu Yumba campus, with over 300 of the city’s brightest young minds from local high schools.

JCU and Smart Precinct NQ are also delighted to announce JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs will join the Board of Smart Precinct NQ.

Professor Biggs said the announcements are part of a new, expanded collaboration between the University and Townsville, local councils, entrepreneurs and industry, to help the region meet its full potential.

“I’m excited about what JCU and Smart Precinct NQ together can achieve – this enhanced engagement between JCU and the city holds great promise for the future.

“JCU academics and students will collaborate on a range of exciting projects with industry, councils, and entrepreneurs, providing a catalyst for innovation across our region.”

The new partnership will kick-off with the relocation of the Townsville City Council’s Big Ideas Youth Challenge to JCU’s Bebegu Yumba campus.

On the 11th of August, more than 300 of the North's brightest young minds will gather for the Big Ideas Youth Challenge, to collaborate with leading academics, entrepreneurs, local government leaders and businesses.

The challenge is designed to engage school students in a fun and fast-paced day of listening, learning, and doing. The event provides the city’s youth with the opportunity to hear from inspiring innovators and changemakers, as well as developing their entrepreneurial thinking and design skills.

The Big Ideas Youth Challenge is free for schools and their students to participate. Students in years 7-10 are encouraged to attend and can find out more by phoning 1300 467 119.

Mayor Jenny Hill said this next phase of growth was an important evolution for Smart Precinct.

“We formed Smart Precinct as a dedicated incubator for our region’s talent to collaborate and solve regional challenges creatively.

“The Big Ideas Youth Challenge will expand this innovative business development model and help continue building future focussed businesses and models of work.

“I look forward to seeing the results.”

Smart Precinct Chair, Stuart King said, “we are delighted to have Simon bring his impressive experience to the board and ensuring the region’s start-ups will have all the support they need to thrive at this exciting time.”

About Smart Precinct NQ:

Smart Precinct NQ was established in 2019 by the five councils of the North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils.

The not-for-profit organisation is designed to support innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic activation, and provides a springboard for collaboration, learning and growth through a range of start-up accelerators and incubator programs, business growth advisory services, investment support and events.

It brings together a range of stakeholders to provide a positive impact to North Queensland founders, entrepreneurs, investors, industry and the wider business community.

Media contacts:

JCU Head of Media and Communications, Richard Davis 0413 451 475

Smart Precinct NQ General Manager and Head of Engagement, Cassandra Cazzulino 0418 998 918