Can we use technology to solve local community challenges and create global opportunities for local entrepreneurs? This is the question that Ipswich City Council aims to answer with the introduction of the Community Challenge Accelerator Program.

Ipswich City Council Community Challenge Accelerator Program

Ipswich City Council and Fire Station 101 are creating a unique opportunity for technologists, designers, and anyone with an idea to come together to create practical solutions for community outcomes. By sharing in the outcomes, the goal is to not only address community challenges, but to create a culture where local entrepreneurs can develop, grow, and scale.

This opportunity is part of a staged program across five milestones:

  1. Ideation – An evening where Council presents the challenge and relevant data so that teams can form and develop ideas
  2. The Hack – A weekend for teams to develop initial solutions to the challenge
  3. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – One or more teams from The Hack develop a minimum viable product over a four-week period
  4. Customer acquisition – The MVP is tested and further developed in the Ipswich community through initial customer acquisition
  5. Traction – The solution is scaled beyond Ipswich to other regions who may experience similar challenges and opportunities.

Ipswich City Council and Fire Station 101 will support the program with milestone funding, making relevant data available, and mentoring and support through the process. The goal is to not only address community challenges, but inspire and create local entrepreneurs and foster ideas from those who can immediately benefit from the outcomes.

“DigiCon” Digital Conservation

The first focus for the program is the natural environment with “DigiCon”.

Ipswich City Council is the fastest growing region in Queensland. The growth means there will be more people to experience the large areas of natural environment, including 6,500 hectares of conservation estate, precious brush-tailed rock-wallaby habitat and Ipswich’s highest peak, Mount Flinders. As the population grows, this environment needs to be preserved while ensuring the community can experience the natural assets in their fullest.

Beginning 17 March, 2017, Ipswich City Council is inviting all hackers, hustlers, and designers to join in achieving this outcome. The end solution will use some form of technology, such as mobile, web, hardware, and virtual or augmented reality. The technology is only one part, however, with other needs being a solid business model, an engaging design, a compelling pitch, and a viable market and access to customer networks.

You can expect to:

  • Build networks and relationships: You will work alongside people from diverse skills and experience in a supportive community focused on helping each other achieve outcomes.
  • Access mentor support: You will be supported by mentors from diverse backgrounds including successful entrepreneurs, IT, legal, design, environment, data, and more.
  • Use actual data: You will have access to council data related to natural spaces, including flora and fauna data sets, estate tracks and trails information, and parks and reserves data.
  • Learn new tips and tricks: Education sessions will run Saturday and Sunday to provide tips and tricks on business models, development of minimum viable products, customer engagement, and pitching.
  • Eat food!: Meals and drinks provided through the weekend to keep you fuelled and caffeinated.

A clear description of the challenges and opportunities will also be presented along with expected outcomes, including:

  • Increased responsible participation in available natural environments,
  • Greater awareness and shared responsibility for protected spaces, and
  • Enjoyment and appreciation of Ipswich’s natural areas

The goal is to not only create a solution to a shared community challenge, but to support local entrepreneurs and bring the community together.

“Our conservation estates are tremendous assets for our city and we are excited about creating new ways to gather information about them. By working with the community and bringing people to Fire Station 101 we will be able to share ideas and develop digital solutions. There’s prize money and product development support on offer and at the end of the day the big winners will be our entrepreneurs, our innovators and our environment.” ~ Ipswich City Council Mayor Paul Pisasale

Come along if you want to mentor, create, or just be there at the start of something great!

Digicon Briefing and Ideation night: 5:30pm – 8:00pm Thursday, 9 March, Register @ https://www.meetup.com/StartupIpswich/events/237421450/

Digicon Hackathon: 5:00pm Friday to 5:00pm Sunday, 17-19 March, Register @ https://www.meetup.com/StartupIpswich/events/237923362/

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