Silicon Coast is the leading representative body for entrepreneurship and innovation across the Sunshine Coast. Igniting collaboration by supporting and developing the regional ecosystem;
Silicon Coast advocates for a give first value driven approach; a critical component of the “Boulder Hypothesis”, a term referenced globally by community stakeholders seeking pathways to build a region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Since 2014 this ethos has led to introductions between entrepreneurs; knowledge exchange; new collaborations and development of new community leaders.
To be a conduit in co-creating the most innovative and entrepreneurial region within Australia.
To develop, support, and steward a nationally accessible, vibrant ecosystem that maximises collaboration, creativity, innovation, and sharing. This is achieved through continuous involvement in activities with stakeholders, supporting industry associations by connecting talent with facilities and councils, and those organisations that aspire to greater success through innovation.
executive corporate roles across a diverse range of industry sectors, working in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. He holds a diploma
in Company Direction from the UK Institute of Directors and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Directors.
During the 80’s and 90’s he founded and established a successful IT Consulting company, after an initial period learning his trade at a ‘big four’
consultancy. Gavin led the wave of new technologies such as Decision Support and Executive Information in the 80’s and throughout the ‘90’s
he again led the way with internet and advanced networking technologies - including a number of ‘world first’ client implementations for,
amongst others, Oracle and Microsoft
As the first CTO for one of the world’s largest insurers, Aviva, leading 6000 IT staff and $1b IT budget, and as Executive General Manager for
Business Technology Solutions at Suncorp, in Brisbane, he was responsible for leading business innovation through technology. Gavin was
also CTO at Hollard Insurance, in Sydney, where he pioneered the first Australian cloud technology strategy with APRA regulatory approval.
Gavin also spearheaded the case for a direct undersea fibre optic cable connection to the Sunshine Coast, having lobbied every layer of
government for 7 years, the project will finally complete in 2020.
Gavin is currently the CEO for Search365 an innovative Australian startup company involved in deploying mission critical search and AI
solutions aimed at Financial Services, and National Security.
Gavin is regularly invited to speak at industry conferences, and has published articles on his leading edge perspectives. He is an Adjunct
Senior Fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast, plus one of the founders, in 2007, of the Australian Government Digital Careers
Program that has had over a million Australian kids participate in their annual events.
As chief digital and business development officer CJ has experience working in digital services for schools, businesses and organisations and has travelled extensively in Queensland and around Australia, speaking on a range of topics and collaborating with key partners at events and conferences.
As the co-founder and executive director of Silicon Coast; a not-for-profit organisation which ignites collaboration and is the leading representative body for entrepreneurship and innovation on the Sunshine Coast, CJ fosters the vision to become the most innovative and collaborative region in Australia.
He is a collaborator, mentor, speaker, educator, volunteer, strategic planner and business development guru and has been involved in multiple events and projects over the years, including events that bring people in the creative, entrepreneurial, business and tech space together. Supporter and advocate for the new Maroochydore City Centre, International Airport expansion and International Broadband Submarine Cable Project, CJ believes that these projects are the game-changers that will transform the region.
CJ has many years of experience in SME’s and business management, surrounded by technologists, CEOs and start-ups, working on everything from corporate strategy, digital transformation, the Lean Startup Methodology and marketing to help businesses get above the noise. His rounded knowledge allows him to proactively work with stakeholders to set up mutually beneficial partnerships.
CJ thrives within collaborative ecosystems, sharing knowledge & working with other like-mind people. His productive and collaborative relationships with local, national organisations led to CJ being recognised by Advance Queensland as the 2017 Community Digital Champion for his ongoing commitment, involvement and collaborative projects.
As an entrepreneur Renee founded Distance Assistance in 2017, delivering sustainable health & wellbeing solutions for organisations with remote workforce via Wellbeing Express, an innovative 24/7 wellness platform delivering relevant content with activity-based metrics.
Renee is also a Community Leader connecting local entrepreneurs, businesses, government stakeholders and community members. This is achieved by organising experiential learning events, such as Startup Week and Startup Weekend, delivering workshops to improve the digital literacy of Queenslanders as a 2019 Queensland Digital Champion. Finally, as the Business Development Marketing Manager of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast. Her drive is to grow innovation and business capacity on the coast, providing a platform for others to stand up, speak up and cause a ripple effect.
• Over $100m of research funding from sources including the Australian Research Foundation, Australian Government, National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, US Army, IBM, HP, Intel, AT&T, Texas Instruments, Fujitsu, Bull, Sun Microsystems and Digital Equipment Corporation.
• Academic positions at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign, University of Queensland and University of Cape Town.
• Executive Dean, Faculty of Science & Technology at QUT.
• Head, School of ITEE at UQ.
• Principal Scientist, CRC for Distributed Systems Technology.
• Director, NICTA Queensland.
Currently, Simon is CEO of [ui!] the urban institute in Asia-Pacific, and founder of the [ui!]'s Asia-Pacific operations. His primary focus is on business development across Australia, New Zealand and into the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Simon's unique background and experience allow him to work with clients across technology and organisational issues to develop multi-faceted solutions that catalyze improved organisational vision and strategy, service provision, performance and technology delivery.
Experienced educator with a demonstrated history of working in the primary/secondary education industry. Strong and proven leadership/management skills. Expertise in Timetabling, Classroom and Behaviour Management, Educational Technology, and Curriculum Development. Passionate about innovation and disruption to Education and believing for radical change to the system.
Our Advisory Panel
Say hello to our advisory team, each a master of their respective craft.
Specialities: Innovative Mechanical Design, Utilisation of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Rapid Prototyping, Finite Element Analysis, International Trade and Procurement, Project Management, Estimating, Budgeting, Purchasing.
A trusted advisor with international business negotiation skills.
Positive attitude in driving successful business outcomes.
Currently managing the profit and loss and development of a National Wholesale Import Company.
Specialties: Visionary strategy plans, business development, leadership and unique value solutions.
Current company provides innovative electric over hydraulic vehicle levelling solutions and high grade safety and towing devices for the Automotive, Recreation Vehicle, Defence and Transport industries.
Ms. Foster was executive Senior Director of Xbox Games Marketplace as well as Microsoft Store online where she managed the profit and loss and global expansion in over 200 geographies with annual revenue budgets in the low $1 billion of dollars. She has extensive technical and commercial experience in software and hardware solutions and advises companies on strategy and technology.
Ms. Foster has started a new venture on the Sunshine Coast, launching highly available and secure datacenters.
Since moving to Australia, Ms. Foster is a non-executive Director for two listed companies and a couple of non-listed companies in Australia.
Ms. Foster holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in International Marketing from Oregon State University and Associate of Science (ASc) - Computer Science and Information Systems from SCC Seattle, USA.
Ben is also the co-founder of a local programming and entrepreneur group on the Sunshine Coast, QLD since 2013. Ben hosts frequent technical meet-ups presenting new technologies, from using Caffee, building apps in EmberJS, introduction to Tensorflow, how members have built high-performance systems, and more.
As a Sunshine Coast resident, Ben's vision is to promote the growth of tech startups in the
community. Leading a successful campaign for local government to invest in digital
infrastructure, supporting our growing tech scene.
Ben has successfully aligning the interests of the community, mayor, and stakeholders in government, a $4M investment was allocated to build a 750sqm digital hub in our local community of Peregian Beach. Opened in Jan 2018, the precinct encourages local talent to build and launch new startups in the Noosa region. The master-plan includes over 2,000sqm of green-space for community use and recreation, footsteps from the beach.
Julian manages an IT & Data Consulting firm, where he provides specialist technical and R&D solutions worldwide; as well as a regional Cyber Security Consulting firm that provides cyber security preparedness & incident response to Sunshine Coast SMEs, with a team of specialists from the likes of Zoom, Amazon, US/AU Defence, and more.
My passion in life is to assist entrepreneurs achieve their full potential and I have worked with over 180 companies in 5 countries from startups, high growth businesses to large multinationals. As the former CEO of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (2012-2020) I assisted founders to succeed, introduced new accelerator programs and had the privilege of leading a team of advisors / mentors and commercialisation experts to provide catalytic support to over 150 entrepreneurial members.
As Manager, Invest Queensland (now Trade & Invest QLD) my team assisted companies to expand into Queensland - clients like Youi Insurance, Lockheed Martin, Virgin Australia, Sandvik, Talisman Energy, Tracknology and Capral.
In the early 2000’s I assisted a range of new ventures to scale, including companies like Dascom (now the centre of IBM's e-security division), QuickBeds (now owned by Flight Centre), FireWire Surfboards and Storey Bridge Climb.
I helped establish our local Startup Weekend in 2014 (now an annual event), Annual Business Pitch Competitions, SunCoast Angels (early stage investment group) and the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Program (which secured $1M in project funding) to assist SMEsand has been a strong advocate for the subsea cable.
I first started assisting startups at Griffith University in 1989 and then formally via The Office of Economic Development City of Brisbane Ltd in 1992. Mark’s team played a key role in business facilitation and establishing Australia TradeCoast (1992-98), BNE Airport Corporation Ltd (1996-97), ourBrisbane portal (1997-98), Smart State Strategy (2000-2003) and Cities of Asia Pacific Conference (1992–1999).
I Chaired the Sunshine Coast Health Panel (2018-19), have been an active member of the local Chamber Alliance and was President of the Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce (1995-96).