Lord Mayor announces new innovation hub for CBD

17 December 2015

Update: The Capital is now open, see the home page here 

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has today announced a $5 million innovation hub for the CBD, which will offer unique support to Brisbane’s rapidly expanding startup community.

Cr Quirk said the innovation hub, to be known as “The Capital”, would be located in the heart of the CBD with the intention of engineering “creative collisions” with industry and government.

“The Capital will kick-start a ‘Clever Business District’ for Brisbane, by immersing startups into the city’s corporate business precinct, with the view to creating a co-working space for startups that will continue to grow over time,” he said.

Nurturing Brisbane’s startup ecosystem and creating a dynamic innovation hub was one of seven key economic priorities outlined in the Brisbane 2022 New World City Action Plan, launched in May.

“Innovation is an industry that is critical to our future economic growth and will continue to be a major stimulant of job creation for our city,” Cr Quirk said.

“The Capital will continue Brisbane’s momentum as an emergent hub of innovation in the Asia Pacific region and ensure the city continues to thrive in this rapidly globalising economy.

“Brisbane’s innovation hub will focus on bringing Brisbane startups together and will also complement State and Federal innovation programs in this fast-moving space.

“Australia’s largest startup space operator, Sydney-based Fishburners, as well as local success story Little Tokyo Two, are confirmed as anchor tenants for The Capital and will bring expertise to the project.”

Fishburners General Manager Murray Hurps said Brisbane had “incredible support for startups, fantastic talent and universities creating more talent, and many great success stories already”.

“Fishburners is a not-for-profit focused on inspiring more startups to be created, validating those that are starting, then connecting them to support from other parts of the ecosystem,” Mr Hurps said.

“From Brisbane’s incredibly strong starting point, we’ll be focused on feeding the funnel, and helping local talent and supporters create the next success stories.”

Fishburners currently has 177 startups in its Sydney building and approves an average of 40 new applications each month. It also has more than 2000 visitors each month for startup-focused events, and is supported by Google, News Corp, Optus, NAB, PwC, Cisco, Dropbox, Amazon and BigAir.

"Fishburners has been instrumental in many startups launching in Sydney and we're excited that they will be expanding to Brisbane,” Google Engineering Community & Outreach Manager Sally-Ann Williams said.

“We look forward to our continued partnership and supporting efforts to increase early stage startups in Australia."

Brisbane entrepreneur Jock Fairweather, who founded Little Tokyo Two, currently operates co-working spaces in Spring Hill and Paddington and will open his new venture, Happy Panda Two, at The Capital.

“We are so happy and excited to be expanding our style of workplace and culture into the CBD. The new location will provide even more flexibility and room for our members to continue their journey with us and the physical co-location with industry experts and organisations will provide unprecedented opportunities for them too,” Mr Fairweather said.

Cr Quirk said The Capital would provide affordable co-working office space, without the need for startups to outlay for costly overheads such as long-term leases and office equipment.

“Through this hub, startups will have unprecedented access to capital, expertise, global markets and commercial networks,” he said.

“The Capital will also house the city’s peak small business digital education programs, Digital Brisbane, as well as Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer.

“The highly successful programs such as Entrepreneurship 101 and the Visiting Entrepreneurs Program will be run from The Capital, in addition to other dedicated community programs and one-on-one support.”

The property search to house the facility, has been conducted by an independent tenant representative and the shortlist has been reduced to two, with a final location announcement imminent.