Written on the 26 February 2016 by Karen Rickert


BRISBANE City Council has chosen Queen Street Mall as the location of its $5 million innovation hub to foster the city's startup community.

The Capital will be home to more than 200 emerging businesses, as well as host a number of digital events throughout the year.

It will occupy three levels above the Zara building at 155 Queen Street, with access through the heritage-listed Regent Theatre which is occupied by the Visitor Information Centre.

Sydney-based startup operator Fishburners and local co-working success story Little Tokyo Two will share their expertise as anchor tenants at the hub, which was first announced in December.

Little Tokyo Two founder Jock Fairweather (pictured) says his new venture Happy Panda Two will collaborate with Fishburners to foster the startup lifecycle.

"We entered with the reputation of Little Tokyo Two, but with a blank canvas as a company," Fairweather says.

"Fishburners will host startups that are starting out, while Happy Panda Two will host startups that have been funded and offer services to help scale and get to the next round of funding.

"Little Tokyo Two can feed startups that really want to give it a red hot go to Fishburners, then Fishburners can send startups that receive funding to Happy Panda Two for what they need to complete the ecosystem."

Fairweather says the increased government support offers emerging businesses clout with investors and business leaders, rather than financial incentives.

"The real reason it's so good is because it provides social proof to everyone that startups and innovation are vital to the future of Australia," he says.

"It's not about the funding, it's more about having people that aren't involved with startups or innovation take it more seriously.

"I believe it's the validity of what the people in the system are doing is where the real bonus is. A lot of corporates would look at us and wonder what these young whippersnappers are doing, but now the government is involved they realise it's the real thing."

Fairweather says they couldn't have secured a better position in the CBD, with The Capital set to complement his other spaces in Spring Hill and Petrie Terrace.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says the innovation industry will play a key role in building Brisbane's economy, with The Capital set to create hundreds of jobs.

"My team is focused on keeping Brisbane's economy on the right track, with a strong financial future and new jobs," Quirk says.

"A critical part of the planning process has also been to integrate the wider business community with The Capital, so that operators can benefit from unprecedented access to capital, expertise, global markets and commercial networks.

"Along with our hotel investment and student accommodation strategies and free city Wi-Fi, this initiative to attract entrepreneurs to the CBD adds to the considerable momentum we're building for our vibrant New World City."

The building's redeveloper ISPT will join The Capital as a founding partner, with the official opening expected to be in July.

Author: Karen Rickert Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn





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