More than 100 Sunshine Coast Digerati representing the region’s digital community have celebrated their recent Google e-Town award as Queensland’s most tech-savvy town.
The annual award recognises those communities which are outpacing the rest of the country in having their small businesses use the web to connect with customers and grow.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson thanked Google for recognising how far and fast the region had come in the digital world.
“As an emerging greenfield economy in Australia, we are starting out as a 21st-century-capable economy, relatively unencumbered by the constraints of the past. As a result, we are brilliantly positioned to be a leader in new technology deployment and innovation by creating opportunities through broadband and advanced technologies,” he said.
“Technology has already substantially changed the way we do business; we can now access new global markets in a way that was not possible 10 years ago and consumers have unprecedented access to goods, services, information and knowledge, enhancing their wellbeing.”
Mayor Jamieson pointed to a recent Deloitte Access Economics report which showed an Australian small business with high digital engagement was twice as likely to be increasing revenue on a per-employee basis – and was four times more likely to be hiring staff.
“The report also found that small business was the economic force responsible for 70 percent of private sector employment, something to be considered here on the Sunshine Coast where we have some 35,000 small and medium-sized private businesses,” he said.
The celebration showcased local organisations and businesses leading in their fields, such as:
- The Sunshine Coast Daily has grown its readership by 43 percent in the past five years across its print and online platforms, engaging with more than 150,000 people each week – in 2007, its total weekly readership was 106,00. Its Facebook page now has 97,000 followers – the biggest of any newspaper website in the country.
- Since 2002 the Innovation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast has helped start-up companies create at least 420 jobs and raised more than $27 million in investment capital. One tenant, social media management company Traffika, has generated more than $100 million in new revenue for its clients, while Victus Health is about to launch globally with a cloud-hosted website to help practitioners and sufferers of multiple food allergies and intolerances.
- Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast is spearheading several initiatives to assist the transition to a digital economy, including Broadband Today, an alliance between RDA and local governments based on sharing information and advocating for the resources to assist the localised transition to a digital economy.
“These initiatives and the successes already achieved by our local businesses are placing the Sunshine Coast where it truly belongs – at the forefront of the digital economy to ensure our future prosperity and wellbeing,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Google Australia’s Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager Henning Dorstewitz joined the event virtually via Google Hangout, while attendees participated in Vlogpod interviews with digital natives.
The celebration event was sponsored by the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast, Chamber of Commerce Caloundra and Chambers of Commerce Alliance Sunshine Coast plus a number of key supporters such as the Creative Collective, Josic Media and the Sunshine Coast Council.