INNOVATION HQ: Rocky's SmartHub is one of most successful regional incubators in Queensland and the Turbo Traction Lab will allow expert mentors to work directly with the entrepreneurs.
INNOVATION HQ: Rocky's SmartHub is one of most successful regional incubators in Queensland and the Turbo Traction Lab will allow expert mentors to work directly with the entrepreneurs. Leighton Smith

Experts and entrepreneurs fly in to turbo charge economy

NEXT week 15 innovative entrepreneurs from around Australia will travel to Rockhampton to work with 10 national and international business experts in a new program called Turbo Traction Lab.

They will join another 15 local entrepreneurs selected from 77 applicants received nationwide for the program launched by SmartHub.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said the program was part of Rockhampton's response to the opportunities and challenges in the new economy.

"You only have to look at empty retail spaces and offices in regional Queensland to understand that much has changed,” she said.

"What worked for businesses yesterday simply won't work tomorrow.

"We may never be Silicon Valley, but it is important that we not only help and keep our own start-ups, but are recognised as a place of excellence in fostering and nurturing start-ups and innovation.”

2020 Rockynats. Mayor Margaret Strelow.
Mayor Margaret Strelow. Allan Reinikka ROK260619arockyna

The SmartHub has "considerable respect” as one of most successful regional incubators in Queensland and the Turbo Traction Lab will allow expert mentors to work directly with the entrepreneurs to help them scale up and go global.

The 80-day program is funded by a $500,000 Federal Government grant and Cr Strelow hopes it will cement Rockhampton's reputation as a place that fosters innovation and start-ups.

It's an opportunity she wants to share with the younger generations - to know they can start a new idea and a viable career right here in their home town.

She also hopes the out-of-town entrepreneurs see the region's opportunities outside of the SmartHub and consider Rockhampton as a place to live and grow their business.

"We are confident they will at least go back home to spread the word of our reputable SmartHub,” she said.