THE COAST COMES OF AGE
WE’RE EARNING A REPUTATION AS THE ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITAL OF AUSTRALIA THANKS TO THE AMAZING BUSINESSES SPRINGING UP HERE. IT’S A FAR CRY FROM THE COAST OF OLD.
When my husband and I first visited the Sunshine Coast back in 1996 we were in awe of this piece of paradise and fell in love with the Coast that summer. We knew in our hearts it was more than a fling and our love affair with the Coast continued until we bit the bullet and relocated in 2010. The Sunshine Coast today is very different to what it was then. We were yuppies from Sydney who wanted the lifestyle, with good coffee and restaurants but we were concerned about what the Sunshine Coast could offer us in terms of career prospects – for us and our children in years to come. Fast forward 20 years and thanks to a combination of progressive and innovative councils, passionate and determined individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs and many others and you can feel that we are on the precipice of greatness. We have so many transformational projects either under way or about to get under way that the Sunshine Coast is a region of opportunity. In fact, the Sunshine Coast has been independently ranked for the last two years as the second highest performing regional economy in Queensland, we are recognised as a centre for innovation with an outstanding ecosystem for start-ups, and our aim is to become a leading location for ideas, entrepreneurialism and creativity. There is every reason for all of us to be incredibly excited about our future. We are now clearly seeing the impact that the emergence of the REDS Strategy and the Seven High Value Industries are having on the growing confidence of business in our region and the possibilities they are creating. You no longer have to sacrifice your career or your dreams of building a business to live here – there are now so many opportunities and possibilities that we would not have thought possible 20 years ago. We really can have it all and live in this wonderful place, with all of its abundant beauty and natural advantages, and also be leaders in our respective industries, not just regionally but for some on a national and global level. The Sunshine Coast is full of amazing people and businesses. There are many more start-up companies and entrepreneurial businesses on the Coast than ever before, so much so that we are earning a reputation in Australia as being the most prolific region of entrepreneurial talent and a name as the Entrepreneurial Capital of Australia. Tonight, we celebrate the 23rd annual Sunshine Coast Business Awards. The awards will recognise and celebrate the success of a number of entrepreneurial businesses and business people who have demonstrated outstanding qualities in their chosen field. These awards are an important platform that allows us to recognise the contribution the business community makes to our region and I wish every finalist the best of luck.