Welcome to the first edition of the Ignite FNQ newsletter!
Advance Queensland has approved $500,000 in funding for the Advancing Regional Innovation Program in Far North Queensland.
After submitting our collaborative FNQ Advancing Regional Innovation Program application at the end of April, followed by a Skype ‘pitch’ session to a panel from the Department of Science Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) in June, we are very happy to report that on the 30th of June the Honourable Leeanne Enoch (Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business) announced Far North Queensland as the second region in Queensland (behind the Sunshine Coast) to receive funding towards the Advancing Regional Innovation Program.
You can read the Media Statement here.
‘Ignite FNQ’ has been established as the new not-for-profit entity which will lead the program. Currently the board members for Ignite FNQ are:
- Troy Haines, CEO, theSPACE
- Professor Allan Dale, Professor of Tropical Regional Development, James Cook University
- John Brisbin, Chair, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group
Julie-ann Lambourne, CEO, enVizion Group Inc
The vision for Ignite FNQ is to connect and empower diverse FNQ communities by fostering innovation to build social, economic and environmental prosperity.
What will we do?
Ignite FNQ will enable a regionally-connected network of innovation by providing the tools, support services and training to build capacity and capability for fostering success in growing jobs through start-ups and existing businesses.
This vision and the collaborative action plan developed to execute the work of Ignite FNQ was directly informed by workshops held earlier this year with stakeholders from across FNQ including Councils, NGOs and businesses. Our ability to come together as a region – despite our enormous geographical area – was critical in being awarded the funding.
A working committee continues to meet regularly to drive the initiatives for Ignite FNQ forward. This group is made up of representatives from:
- Cairns Regional Council
- Central Queensland University
- enVizon Group Inc.
- Ingeous Studios
- James Cook University
- Northern Gulf Resource Management Group
- Regional Development Australia, Far North Queensland & Torres Strait
- Tablelands Regional Council
- TheSPACE Australasia
Advancing a Regional Innovation Ecosystem
The Far North Queensland region (see map below) extends from Cassowary Coast in the south to the Cape and Torres Strait in the north and west to the Queensland/NT border. Ignite FNQ will establish an innovation ecosystem based on a ‘hub and spoke’ model. Core innovation centres in Cairns and the Tablelands will empower outreach centres in remote and rural locations to deliver grassroots innovation programs.
Currently the working group is in the process of drafting position descriptions for the roles of Ignite FNQ Board Chairperson (independent, voluntary position) and Ignite FNQ Co-ordinator (paid). We will be sure to forward on the details of these roles once recruitment has commenced.
The other big task has been finalising the draft budget and activities for Year 1 of the program. Thank you to all of those stakeholders who put forward letters of support and details of initiatives they would like to see included in the program, as this information has provided the basis for the budget and activities outline to be put together.
How can I be involved?
We will be working with key groups and organisations in the region to develop a 3 year program of activities, events and workshops to help build the innovation ecosystem in Far North Queensland. There are also sponsorship opportunities for businesses and organisations wishing to promote innovation in the region.
We will be sending out information providing more details on how you can be involved with Ignite FNQ. Also, a Facebook page has been set up for Ignite FNQ here. Please like the page to stay up to date with all things innovation in FNQ.
Until next time …
It is an exciting time for FNQ and we look forward to working with you to deliver programs, spaces and support to help our region thrive. Should you have any queries or ideas you would like to discuss regarding the Advancing Regional Innovation Program, please feel free to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.