Silicon Coast – Will the Sunshine Coast be the next Silicon Valley?

The Sunshine Coast has long been regarded as an idyllic holiday destination with uncrowded pristine beaches, fantastic restaurants, and a laid back lifestyle. However, it may surprise many to learn that alongside these undoubted benefits to the “Sunny Coast” there are also serious business and technology credentials being established.

Smart21 Community

The economic potential of the Sunshine Coast is coming increasingly into focus, especially
with the recognition flowing from its recognition as a world-leading “Smart21 Community”.

A panel of seven judges in Ohio, who are part of the New York-based Intelligent
Community Forum, handed down the prestigious award. Of the communities who were
nominated, there were winners from as far afield as Kenya, Brazil, Canada and Taiwan,
with other inclusions coming from the United States and New Zealand.

The criteria used to judge the award included broadband connectivity in the wider
community, the amount of people in the technical “knowledge based” workforce and
innovation. The Sunshine Coast scored highly on each of these metrics.

PayPal and Government Acknowledgements

A range of awards and commendations from both businesses and public sector
organisations reinforces the high scores that demonstrate the growth of the Sunshine
Coast in the fast-paced digital economy. For example, global payments behemoth PayPal,
whose services are used in every country and as the financial backbone to EBay
International, recently named the Sunshine Coast as one of the most active online regions
in Australia.

Alongside that, the Sunshine Coast Council was also awarded a prize by the Federal
Government recognising their excellence in providing government services in a more
efficient manner, online.

Innovation and ‘Silicon Coast’

These accolades have not gone unnoticed by the business community, with small and medium sized firms steadily migrating to the Sunshine Coast in order to take advantage of the supportive structure and high quality technology on offer.

These support structures include the highly successful Innovation Centre, which has been responsible for raising over $28 million in capital, which in turn has created more than 400 jobs in over 100 businesses in the local area.

It’s statistics like this that have led to talk of the Sunshine Coast becoming a local version of the highly successful start-up and entrepreneur communities in the United States – particularly the well-known Silicon Valley in California. The term ‘Silicon Beach’ is being heard more and more, with start-ups and entrepreneurs forming groups to knowledge-share and help build the momentum for innovative product and service launches.

The names that are now well established on the coast include the fast-growing AtMail, Cloud DC, Typefi and Commission Factory who are known for their inter-business links. To complement these links is an overlay of interested stakeholders including the Sunshine Coast Council, the Regional Development Australia body, and start-up incubators such as The Innovation Centre.

The success of all of these inputs working together has created a mini-boom of economic development in the Sunshine Coast region that puts it at the leading edge of the emerging Australian digital economy.

As the closure of manufacturing plants (particularly in Victoria and South Australia) have shown, the future of Australia’s economy is in highly skilled and technical industries like education and digital innovation. This is the reason why so many are excited about the continued development of the Sunshine Coast as a digital hub and as a destination for talent.

The right people are an important part of the equation in these industries, but access to the right tools and products to best utilise their skills is also critical. Whether it is data network infrastructure, tablets, communication systems or mobile phones, Tele 2 is well equipped to serve both new ventures and well-established companies looking for business improvements.

The future of the Sunshine Coast is looking bright, with continued technological development bringing added advantages for jobs and the local economy alongside the benefits that have attracted people here for decades.

The Tele2 team is proud to be a part of economic development in South East Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast in particular.