SmartHub: will my business fit in?

Published on 31 January 2019


It’s been almost a year since Rockhampton Regional Council’s SmartHub moved into Rockhampton’s iconic Customs House after the 120 year old heritage listed building was decked out with modern, high tech facilities fit for business purposes. Created as part of Rockhampton Regional Council’s SmartWay Forward Strategy, the SmartHub was designed to be a physical place for like-minded business and community members interested in growing ideas and innovation.

During a recent Hub Live Facebook video, SmartHub Business Manager Elize Hattin sat down with SmartHub member and Gideon Town Planning founder Gideon Genade to talk about the types of businesses operating from the SmartHub.

Who uses the SmartHub?

“We get all different kinds of businesses (here at the SmartHub), and essentially they are classified by turnover, revenue or how many people they employ. We see micro-business (where their turnover is less than $250,000), small enterprise, medium enterprise, corporate businesses and even government,” Elize said.

The SmartHub is well known for assisting the local startup community, yet not everyone has a clear understanding the terminology 'startup business'.

 “A lot of people think a startup is just a new small business, or a new micro-business. For example, let’s say I start out selling plants. People assume this is a start-up, but that’s not exactly right.

 “By definition, a startup is a higher growth company. It’s a company that experiences incredibly high growth in a very short amount of time. To be able to operate a company that experiences really high levels of growth you really need two things.

 “The first thing you need is a lot of customers. You can't grow quickly if you don't acquire, or serve, or sell to a lot of customers in a short amount of time. So essentially, a startup needs a very large customer base and therefore, typically a startup would be aiming to establish an international market.

 “Secondly, a startup needs to sell a lot of their products or services rapidly and that's what we call a Scalable Business Model. So, these businesses have to be able to make money very quickly and then scale their customer base very quickly too. Therefore, often the platform that they use to enable that Scalable Business Model is technology, because technology offers that level of scalability,” Elize said.


Small to Medium Enterprises

While the SmartHub supports Central Queensland’s local startup community, they also have a strong focus on helping traditional small to medium enterprises thrive as well.

Gideon Town Planning is one such business.

Gideon Town Planning is a traditional small enterprise business that is growing at a great rate. They specialise in development consultancy for the Central Queensland Region and they have a private office for their team at the SmartHub.

According to Gideon Genade, the SmartHub is just another great example of how the Rockhampton Regional Council is working with local business.

“With over 50 members, people come and go quite regularly (at the SmartHub). Some of us have permanent offices and some of us just use hot desks, however it's bringing a lot of business back into the CBD,” he said.

The SmartHub offers a variety of spaces for use by local businesses, such as hot desks, permanent desks, office spaces, boardrooms, meeting rooms, green rooms and event spaces. The SmartHub also offers structured and unstructured programs for learning all about business.


Bustling Community

The SmartHub is a bustling place with a lot of positivity, collaboration and conversation. It’s not just the magnificent office space and free internet members love, it’s also the community.

As Elize Hattin pointed out, “One of the agendas that the SmartHub takes very seriously is helping to provide workshops, education and support, mentoring, accounting talks, law talks, Lunch and Learns, structured programs and weekend bootcamps where people can come and upgrade their business capability and also learn about technology and what's available to their business.”

The educational topics that the SmartHub shared with the Central Queensland business community last year included:

  • Expanding your Business Capacity
  • Social Media Masterclass
  • Mindset for Business
  • Growth Hacking Your Business
  • How to Create Valuable Marketing Content
  • Business Structures
  • Tax Planning Strategies for Business
  • It’s a Big Wheel
  • Communication, Technology and Innovation and Applying it in Business
  • Every Business Has a Story – using Facebook Live
  • The Entrepreneur as People Manager
  • How to Keep Showing Up When You Just Want to Fall Down
  • The Fundamentals of Business Finance

Being a keen attendee of the educational sessions on offer at the SmartHub, Gideon said that he really enjoyed the sessions, particularly one hosted by Tony Edwards from Evans Edwards and Associates that was about accounting and how to run a business.

“I like having the opportunity to just have a chat, one-on-one and ask all my questions.

“Similarly, I enjoyed the ones about business structure by Foxlaw too. Once again, I was learning what are the best ways of going about things and I loved being able to just have that chat. It wasn’t a formal session, it's very informal, and it allows more of a conversation to happen. You actually feel you learn a lot more from it and you feel a bit more open to talk about your situation,” Gideon said.