INSIDE LOOK: Innovative hub officially opens in Rocky
THE 117-year-old Customs House in Rockhampton has undergone a transformation.
After serving the community in a different location since 2016, Rockhampton's very own Smart Hub has officially been opened.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick yesterday joined Mayor Margaret Strelow to welcome the latest addition to the Rockhampton community.
Rockhampton Regional Council had supported over 20 resident start-ups in a temporary location next door to the Customs House, and up to 60 start-ups through free accelerator programs.
"These start-ups will now benefit from this fantastic new space at Customs House with state-of-the-art technology, multiple breakout rooms and a revamped interior accentuating the building's heritage,” a spokesperson said.
The ground floor refurbishment at Customs House was jointly funded by the Queensland Government's Building our Regions program, which contributed $250,000, and Rockhampton Regional Council who provided $440,000.
Its official opening is "another step forward in cementing Rockhampton's reputation as an innovative and forward thinking regional city,” a spokesperson said.
Local start-ups and Smart Hub members, Phil Martin (Bitplex), Steven Moody (Handy Catch) and Rebecca Ballinger (kids audio books), as well as members of the Start-Up Capricorn group were also in attendance.
At the official opening, Minister Dick said the facility was a significant addition for both Rockhampton and the Central Queensland region.
"Wherever you live in Queensland, there are people with innovative ideas and so we wanted to support a space where people could collaborate, innovate and create,” Minister Dick said.
Minister Dick said the Smart Hub involved "taking ideas, small business ideas, in the community and creating a pathway for that idea to become a business reality”.
"We want to ensure that we can work with local government to create that environment where people can come together, get advice and expertise and take the spark of an idea and turn it into the flame of a larger business.
"Innovation has certainly been brought to the forefront of our economic discussions and it's great to see Rockhampton become a leading regional capital in this space with the support of the Palaszczuk Government.”
Mayor Margaret Strelow was excited to see the ground floor of the heritage building transformed to now become a valuable service for the community.
"It's a space which connects our best and brightest, supports collaboration and attracts investment to our region,” Cr Strelow said.
"The results speak for themselves with many going on to establish a presence in our region, filling empty shops, employing locals and transforming the way we live with new ideas.”
The Smart Hub was the final element of council's $4.5 million Rockhampton CBD Smart Technologies and Working Hub program.