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.

Life & Style Weekend - - BUSINESS - WORDS: JEN­NIFER SWAIN

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.

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