Startup scene alive and well in Cairns

Startup scene alive and well in Cairns

ilab in Cairns at TheSpace

theSpace audience

Recently ilab had the pleasure of addressing and discussing with an audience of 50 entrepreneurs and supporters from the Cairns startup community.  The topic of the evening was the “Startup Scene in Queensland“.

It was big agenda for the one meeting and included:

  • why tech startups are important to everyone,
  • some real founders doing real things in north Queensland as well down south,
  • general startup challenges of culture, access to capital, skills shortage, collaboration,  and
  • an overview of organisations, agencies and programs providing support.


2014-07-10 17.35.14 Edifying topics, no doubt, but importantly they underpinned the real intent of the  evening, i.e. another reason for Cairns’ entrepreneurs to come  together, meet  some new faces and share some tales.

 The sentiment  was captured  nicely with these subsequent comments:

 “This was certainly one of the best introductions/ice-breakers to the Cairns’ entrepreneur scene I could have asked for, so thank you for that.”

 “Thank you – it was an enjoyable evening – as much for the wonderful vibrant energy in the room, as your information”,

Collaboration and networks are pretty fundamental here.  Building startups is a big challenge – finding and sharing with like minded business creators helps share that burden but more importantly gives you the opportunity to learn from others, go down fewer false trails and optimise each step along the way.

Collaboration always works best when there is understanding and familiarity.  The information side of the evening was to build that familiarity more broadly and strengthen linkages between regions. We touched on topics such as cultural attributes of entrepreneurs, regional tech brain drains, distance challenges, virtual sharing in events from down south, the role of government, NBN opportunities and mobile coverage challenges.  It was a great evening and one we hope to be able to repeat in Townsville in August.

germinateIt was also a good opportunity to introduce ilab’s programs to Cairns.  We have been successfully piloting extending our Germinate accelerator program regionally and are looking to extend that with our next summer program starting n November.

Germinate is ilab’s three month program of intensive building of tech based startups from idea through to early product. It has a strong customer validation aspect, provides relevant startup workshops and weekly mentoring as well as funding of up to $20,000.

(If you are interested, then please register at,  or sign up to ilab’s newsletter to get kept up to date. We will be opening applications shortly, closing them 10th October.)


It was also terrific to have the evening sponsored by two local entrepreneurs.  Troy Haines made his co-working hub TheSpace available.  Robert Buhrke of Iceberg innovations, provided the refreshment.  Thanks guys.

IceBerg InnovationWe also had some great support in promoting the event from AdvanceCairns, James Cook Uni, AusIndustry and Cairns Council.  Many thanks.



logo-fullNext month, August 15-17, theSpace will be hosting the inaugural Cairns’ StartUp Weekend and ilab is pleased to be a sponsor to help make this a success.

Experienced entrepreneurs Aaron Birkby and Greg Burnett from Silicon Lakes on the Gold Coast have been running very successful weekends down south and will be coming up to help drive the weekend in Cairns.

For Cairns startups, this is a great opportunity to test out your startup idea and meet other local innovators. If you intend to apply for ilab’s Germinate program, this is also a great way to validate and expand your idea and will lead to a more compelling and complete application.

Eco-systems only grow and evolve with local energy and I was delighted to sample that last week.  Thanks for the hospitality, I had a great time.

Bernie Woodcroft, ilab Program Director.


ilab Director