Somerset College, Gold Coast, is to host the city’s first entrepreneurship festival catered to children, students and the wider community, bringing together a host of the state’s most successful entrepreneurs to the stage.
Held from 10 to 11 October, the Festival will see visitors take part in a host of free workshops, sessions and events, and hope to inspire the wider community to embrace entrepreneurship in both social and for profit contexts.
Headlining the festival will be renowned tech entrepreneur, investor and Shark Tank's 'shark' Steve Baxter and founder of Blue Sky Investments Mark Sowerby and 2017 QLD Chief Entrepreneur. Other special guests will include the 2016 Young Australians of the Year Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, who founded the Orange Sky Laundry – a world-first, free mobile laundry service for the homeless; and 2009 Best Job in the World winner Ben Southall who has used his experiences and passion for exploration to found his own production company, Cinomad.
Fabienne Costa, founder and creative director of Brisbane-based YCL Jewels, will be another drawcard for the festival. Fab’s ethical jewellery has had international success and her creations are now worn by household names such as Jennifer Hawkins, Lorde and Delta Goodrem.
Other highlights will include guest talks from a teenage break-dancer turned 20-year-old millionaire, a world record breaker, a 17-year-old inventor and the talented minds behind 5th Element Expeditions, Fifty Six Creations, Genesis, Faebella Active Wear, Scooter Hut and more.
With 95% of new jobs in Australia between 2004 and 2014 coming from start-up firms less than two years old and the Gold Coast cementing itself as a mecca of successful entrepreneurs, Festival Chairperson Dane Oman says the two-day festival comes at the perfect time for the Gold Coast community.
“It’s an exciting time for Gold Coast entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, and we are fortunate to be able to host an event that will attract brilliant entrepreneurial minds to our College,” Mr Oman said.
“We are pleased to receive support from the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, and Advance Queensland this year and look forward to the continued growth of the festival over the coming years.” Two entrepreneurs lending support to the event are Gold Coast Mark Sowerby and Steve Baxter, who will share their experience and journey in intimate sessions and panels throughout the festival.
In October, Steve Baxter will move into Mark Sowerby’s role as the 2018 Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, following an announcement made by the Palaszczuk Government and the Festival will mark his first day in the new role.
Mr Sowerby said, “Entrepreneurship is a real career path. For school kids today, it will be about creating their own jobs. It’s great to see schools getting on board teaching entrepreneurial skills. We need kids that can play business for Australia.”
Founder of several IT and telecoms start-ups, Steve Baxter, launched his first start-up from his bedroom and is a big advocate of teaching kids the tech skills they need for the digital economy so they can hit the ground running as soon as they leave school and university.
“With the right skills, these kids will be capable of building a global business from anywhere, but business success depends on more than tech skills. Entrepreneurship is about dreaming big, giving it a go and backing yourself to build your own business.” Mr Baxter said.
The Festival will deliver a variety of events including Bond University Turbo Charged Extension Course in Entrepreneurship and both large and small workshop sessions where high school students will learn from the region’s successful entrepreneurs.
Division 9 Councillor Glenn Tozer said the College has already set a high standard for its festivals and events including the annual Somerset Celebration of Literature, and is looking forward to seeing the area thrive with the launch of a brand new festival.
"The Gold Coast, and particularly the Hinterland, has long been a hub for entrepreneurs who value quality of life while they drive their innovative business initiatives. Somerset College in particular has been educators of many of these entrepreneurs and it's entirely appropriate their Celebration of Entrepreneurship becomes a catalyst for continued economic growth on the Gold Coast."
Tickets to the Somerset Celebration of Entrepreneurship are free and available to the public. Registrations are necessary and now open.
For more information about the program, please visit www.somerset.qld.edu.au/celebration-of-entrepreneurship/.