It has been an incredible and fast-paced first four months since the launch of Fire Station 101.

We set out to create a space in Ipswich for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality, impact local and scale global, build community capacity and capability, and engage across all community sectors. Our aim is create a culture that is both supportive and challenging, where a community of mentors, investors, commercial partners, volunteers, and other members are all focused on the entrepreneur’s success.

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Some incredible members have taken this journey, both established companies as well as those who start with just a hint of an idea. All members share a common drive to give it a go. Fire Station 101’s growing base of over 35 members are all building something new by leveraging the community, networks, and space. The growing number of new startups is significant, given that a regional startup report back in 2015 listed only 5 startups in the Ipswich region.

But Fire Station 101 exists for more than just seats being filled. We have an unwavering focus to achieve success for our members and economic and social outcomes for our region and beyond. Since our launch, we have supported members to:

  • Raise funds to engage providers for initial application prototype development;
  • Create new companies that previously did not exist and launch product;
  • Create Virtual Reality experiences for major brands including KPMG, RedEye, Audi, and the Queensland State Government;
  • Achieve first paying customers;
  • Hire new employees
  • Delivered technology kits to young people; and
  • Created new young entrepreneurs in high school.

In addition to the ongoing mentoring support, here are some ways we have done this over the past few months:

We build capacity through “101” courses

We support members and the community through regular “101” courses on topics such as Lean Startup approaches, legal and IP protection, taxes for new businesses, digital marketing, and more.

We build awareness and capability in new technologies

We run sessions on new technologies such as Virtual Reality and Internet of Things to raise awareness and capability for applying the technologies in practical ways.

We engage across all communities

Innovation happens at the cross-section of ideas, which is why we are intentionally engaging all aspects of the community through panel sessions and workshops aimed at communities of practice such as manufacturing, health, and the arts.

We facilitate outcomes in technology and entrepreneurship

We engage with the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, with examples including weekend Minecraft camps, the Impact Academy social enterprise entrepreneur program in schools, and the weekend coding CodeSwich program.

We create collaboration through major events

We facilitate major events for members and the community, such as the Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon and the Virtual Reality Warehouse Gaming experience.

We facilitate networking and relationship

We create opportunities for members to practice their pitch and for mentors and investors to get to know the members through regular pitch events.

We focus on our member’s success

The events all support our members learning and collaborating towards success in a range of fields including gaming, coaching, social impact, transportation, education, legal, and more.

We build culture

Through our journey, we build a culture where we like working together, support each other, and have fun in the process.

What’s next

Looking ahead, we are going to do all of the above, and more.  We take the same advice our members receive as we take on board feedback to build on what is working and adapt to the needs to our members and the community.  We have some exciting events lined up and several of our members are at the stage of launching their new platforms after only a few short months. We are both excited and honoured to play a role in driving capability and capacity in the Ipswich region through innovation.

Thank you for being on an exciting journey with us.  If you want to learn more about being a member, mentor, or just to say “hi”, drop us a line on our Contact page: http://firestation101.com.au/contact/.

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