BUSINESS is booming in Ipswich.
New businesses open every week and while not all make it, the sector is growing rapidly along with the city’s population.
The arrival of US grocery giant Costco in late 2018 is tipped to bring a surge in business opportunities, but Ipswich is already thriving on its own.
There are a few key areas of growth including food agribusiness and hospitality.
Ipswich consumers are showing there’s plenty of space for new hair and beauty businesses too.
Membership in the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry is growing at a rate of 26% year on year.
While there’s diversity among the new businesses, according to the Chamber of Commerce there are two particular types swelling the membership ranks.
Chamber president Phillip Bell said retail services, such as hair and beauty, and professional services related to businesses, including financial services and bookkeeping, had seen a big boost.
“Our membership is continuing to grow in strength every year,” Mr Bell said.
“Although more than 60% of our new members fall into two categories, we are also seeing growth in food agribusiness and hospitality.
“We identified this significant growth about six months ago – we’ve been in a cycle of growth.”
In just one month, the QT has published stories on more than six new businesses.
Two new nightclubs have also just opened in the Top of Town with more CBD watering holes rumoured to be on the way.
According to Ipswich City Council’s last annual report, in 2015-2016 there were 7,946 local businesses within the city limits.
Some of those new businesses are the result of innovation as struggling operators seize the opportunities in front of them rather than allowing their business to slowly collapse.
Mr Bell said there were multiple factors driving the growth including the affordability of doing business in this region.
“It’s not just about the low rent costs, it’s that you don’t have to go outside the region to access other markets,” Mr Bell said.
“I keep reminding people that here, we have excellent access to markets.
“We are between three major international airports at Wellcamp, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“We will have great supply lines via the second Toowoomba Range Crossing, as well as the major highways, and freight and logistic hubs.”
Ready to start a business?
Running your own business can be a rewarding experience. It can also mean exposure to new risks, long hours, hard work and frequent challenges. Before you start your business, it is important that you consider the reality, and the challenges, of running a business. See www.business.qld.gov.au for more information or ipswichchamber.org.au to speak to someone locally.
Originally Published: www.qt.com.au
Brisbane Gets Purpose-Built Robotics Centre for $23bn Industry
Queensland has furthered its push to be Australia’s technological hub with the announcement that CSIRO’s Data61 division will open a new facility in Brisbane to conduct world-leading research into robotics and autonomous systems.
A new purpose-built Robotics Innovation Centre to be located at Pullenvale will be an important step towards establishing a formal robotics cluster in Brisbane to take advantage of the enormous potential of a rapidly growing industry anticipated to be worth $23 billion globally by 2025.
Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner described the new centre as a national asset, with the potential to provide a unique collaborative opportunity between industry, government and academia.
“Robotics and autonomous systems technologies, underpinned by machine learning and artificial intelligence, will unlock new value in all manner of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and mining,” Turner said.
“World-class facilities like the Robotics Innovation Centre, will ensure Australia is well placed to benefit from Industry 4.0 and help to protect and accelerate our nation’s ongoing economic success.”
The new 600sq m facility will be used to further pursue research that is already under way with autonomous robotics systems to interact safely and seamlessly with humans in various situations.
Researchers will strive to develop new approaches to rapidly map, navigate and search underground environments using legged robots and autonomous drone technology, funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The facility will also feature the largest motion capture system in the southern hemisphere, to be used to validate data captured by robotics systems in the field.
Additionally, there will be a swimming pool for testing aquatic robots, numerous unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, legged robots, high-accuracy robot manipulators, as well as sensors and telemetry systems.
Data61 already has robotics engineers based in Brisbane working closely with experts at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, which is based at the Queensland University of Technology.
The division is currently partnered to organisations including Boeing, Woodside, QUT and the University of Queensland within the robotics space.
The robotics industry has drawn increasing interest from professionals in the built environment with researchers estimating that artificial intelligence in construction will balloon from $500 million in 2018 to $2.41 billion by 2023.
Late last year, the Queensland government unveiled plans to build an artificial intelligence hub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
The new training hub, dubbed The Precinct, will aim to help fill the skills gap created by the surging artificial intelligence sector.
The Queensland government also made a $50 million investment to ensure the Australia Defence Force would establish an autonomy research centre, the first of its kind in the country, in Brisbane.
Brisbane also played host to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May of last year, further cementing its place at the forefront of Australian robotics and artificial intelligence research.
Gold Coast $1.2 Billion Spirit Tower Soars to New Heights
Chinese-backed developer Forise Holdings said the 89-storey residential apartment tower, offering 479 residential dwellings, will create a new landmark for the city.
The project of mass proportions will include an unprecedented 2700sq m of residential facilities, a 1800sq m four-bedroom penthouse said to cost $38.8 million, rooftop facilities and include three levels of ground floor retail.
About $44 million will be put toward underground works alone, with the development estimated to provide 945 jobs a year during the initial construction phase in what is considered one of the nation’s most complex projects.
Forise marketing manager Jason Xiao said the development “is all systems go”.
“We have completed a major civils program to establish the foundations of Spirit and we are looking forward to delivering an iconic, globally recognised apartment tower of distinction to Australia’s premiere beachfront address,” Xiao said.
Ultra-luxury projects are all the rage on the Gold Coast, with Yuhu Group’s $1.1 billion beachfront “Jewel” towers and plans for an “ultra-high-end” Broadbeach tower, with 46 whole-floor apartments, lodged to council last month.
The scale and value of the Forise development is significant in comparable terms to existing and proposed developments, according to research arranged by the developer.
In a detailed assessment of the project, MacroPlan Dimasi estimates the combined economic benefit to the region will be $1.84 billion over the next six years, with ongoing benefits such as tourism expenditure, dining, retail shopping, tours and activities.
“Visitors onsite will typically be wealthy and generate a much higher than average daily expenditure profile,” the report said.
The project, which targets international, local and interstate investors and downsizers, is being marketed by Ray White Surfers Paradise Group’s Julian Sutherland.
“Projects such as these profoundly demonstrate that the Gold Coast has arrived as a world leading tourism and lifestyle destination in the midst of some $30 billion in public and private development,” he said.
The rooftop level will offer access to panoramic views of the 52 kilometres of coastline, with butlers available to individual apartments upon request.
Forise anticipates the project’s launch to market next month.
400 new Ipswich businesses register in one month
NEW statistics released by the Ipswich City Council has revealed more than 400 new businesses registered within one month.
In January there were 415 new businesses in Ipswich.
About 21 per cent of all registered Ipswich businesses are in the construction industry.
Manufacturing, at 15 per cent, is the largest employer of residents followed by healthcare, 13 per cent and retail 12 per cent.
The defence industry is the region’s second-largest export industry, worth $600 million, to Ipswich.
Planning, Development and Heritage chair Councillor David Morrison said the statistics showed Ipswich was living in an exciting and prosperous time.
“Residential growth coupled with business growth is very healthy signs for a city,” he said.
“Ipswich City has many frontiers of growth and this growth brings many challenges.”
Cr Morrison said the region needed a collaborative approach to dealing with the challenges.
“Council is doing its best in keeping up with its infrastructure delivery responsibilities and I call on both the state and federal governments to help with vital infrastructure,” he said.
“I would love the State Government to announce a time frame on the much-needed delivery of rail from Springfield Central to Redbank Plains and Ripley and I support the call for the Federal Government to fund an interchange between the Cunningham Highway and Ipswich Rosewood Rd.
“I also encourage residents to take time and explore the conservation reserves that council has purchased for this and future generations.”
Ipswich Business Enterprise Centre general manager Michael Crowley said there was an increasing level of business confidence in the city.
“I have seen businesses we’ve helped in previous years are now really starting to build,” he said.
“People who have been in business for a few years are experiencing an upswing.
“It is very encouraging to see people hiring extra staff, taking on apprentices or moving into a larger premises.”
Mr Crowley’s part-time involvement in the enterprise centre has kept growth stable.
“For us, there hasn’t been a great deal of change,” he said.
“The people who are coming to me are still very much the micro-business or small business trying to get started.”
Originally Published: www.qt.com.au
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