Benchmark report validates the power of innovation to local businesses

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Media Release 23 August 2019

A Sunshine Coast first – the Regional Innovation Benchmark shows that local businesses who prioritise innovation increased their sales of new products and services by 20% and higher, according to the 2018-2019 Regional Innovation Benchmark completed by USC Researchers, Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers and Dr Saskia de Klerk for the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Project Team (SCRIPT).

“With our start-up community reaching the energetic adolescence stage, it’s time to take stock of the Sunshine Coast's progress - the successes, the struggles and, most importantly, build on the regions solid foundation. This is where SCRIPT and its partners will play a pivotal role.” SCRIPT Chair, Myles McNamara said.

248 Sunshine Coast businesses were surveyed about their approach to innovation and benchmarked across 1500 Queensland and Australian businesses. The research found that Sunshine Coast businesses were equivalent to, and in some cases more advanced, than Queensland and Australian counterparts.

Project lead USC Entrepreneurship and Innovation researcher Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers said the survey data compared measures such as types of innovation, sources of ideas for innovation, the awareness and support available to regional firms, and the performance and benefits of innovation.

For example, Sunshine Coast businesses are more likely, in comparison to Queensland and Australian businesses to introduce novel, new-to-their-business innovations. Sunshine Coast businesses that innovate are significantly more likely to have an innovation strategy and an e-commerce platform (than non-innovators) - demonstrating a higher than average uptake of contemporary business practices.

“We also found that Sunshine Coast innovators are significantly more likely to use knowledge-based sources for innovations, such as professional conferences, journals, universities or research institutes, compared to the rest of the country.” Dr Scheepers said.

Similar to other businesses across the country, approximately 30% of Sunshine Coast businesses indicated that they collaborated with other businesses, however those that do collaborate find they experience a wide range of benefits from sharing development costs to developing new knowledge, skills and competencies.

“The most fruitful entrepreneurial outcomes usually take place where founders, investors, talent and early adopters collaborate and connect both locally and globally.” SCRIPT Chair, Myles McNamara said.

CEO of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, Mark Paddenburg said “Genuine, deep collaboration in this region gives us a competitive advantage and when that is combined with dynamic business hubs, timely capacity building programs, resilient founders, talent and one of the fastest-growing economies in Australia you create something very special.”

“On the Sunshine Coast it is the ‘innovate, hustle and collaborate now’ mentality that puts our thriving ecosystem in a similar league as Boulder, Colorado - where you have a very high percentage of start-ups per capita. I’m excited about our future because like SCRIPT, the Innovation Centre will continue to be audacious in our tactics, bold in our vision and courageous in our programs which inspire more innovators to thrive.” Mark Paddenburg said.

Overall, the Sunshine Coast benchmark validates and aligns with the statements from leading demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt who maintains “the Sunshine Coast stands apart from its peer cities as a place with a history of entrepreneurship and innovation”.

Innovation activities will be measured again in 2020 and 2021 to gain long-term data insights into the effect and consequences of regional business innovation on the Sunshine Coast region.

 

ENDS

Media contact: Toni Binstead, SCRIPT Regional Innovation Coordinator

E: hello@sunshinecoastinnovation.com.au

 

Media opportunities:

The official launch event for the Regional Innovation Benchmark Report will be held on;

29 August 2019 at 4.30pm

Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast 90 Sippy Downs Dr, Sippy Downs QLD 4556

Myles McNamara, Anne Lawrence & Mark Paddenburg are available for interviews about SCRIPT initiatives, including comments on the Sunshine Coast Innovation Ecosystem.

Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers is available for interviews about the innovation benchmark research findings in the RIB report.

 

The report can be viewed online here:

http://digitalsunshinecoast.com.au/regional-innovation-benchmark-rib