Right here, on the 4101 peninsula, something big and digital is afoot: hub4101.
hub4101 is a group dedicated to creating Brisbane’s technology and innovation hub. The idea is Australia’s answer to London’s Tech City and New York’s Silicon Valley. hub4101 is harnessing the area’s existing digital culture to create a greater vision and platform where people in the tech industry can collaborate on their visions.
The brainchild of the project is John Anderson, creative director of local advertising company Red Suit, who noticed a proliferation of digital and technology businesses starting up in the area. Reaching out to likeminded people, like Anthony McCormack from Taxi Film Productions in West End, Cat Matson (Chief Digital Officer for City of Brisbane), ABC’s News Innovation team, and Cutting Edge, he posed the idea of creating Brisbane’s official tech hub. The group took the idea to Business South Bank who jumped on board and created a formal committee to help set up a framework and champion the cause.
Looking at models from around the world, the group cited Tech City in London as a model for building an inner-city space for digital innovation and technology. Tech City is a huge economic driver for digital industry in the United Kingdom and Europe; hub4101 plans to do the same for Brisbane and Australia, by encouraging businesses and individuals to tap into digital innovation.
Although geographically based in 4101, anyone —businesses and individuals — have access to the group. “If you are using technology, or looking to use it, you can be involved in it,” says Anthony McCormack.
There are already some great tech success stories emanating from the area. Recently, for example, a couple of West End locals developed a fitness app called Zova from their home office. When Apple launched its watch this year, they ranked it the number one fitness app. The Zova team has since moved its operation to Sydney to access the tech and digital community they needed to grow the business. This is precisely what hub4101 aims to prevent. “A big thing that Brisbane will have to face is that we’ve got a lot of very smart people here, but they’ll leave,” says McCormack. “How do we create an environment that they want to stay? It’s a cultural change.”
hub4101 is specifically geared to give people like the guys behind Zova a community allowing them pathways to grow. By creating the right culture here, what McCormack calls “an eco system that people will want to work and live in”, hub4101 will attract and retain the right people and businesses and their ideas.
There is a creative energy crackling throughout Brisbane — from entrepreneurs brimming with ideas to big businesses ready to take the step into digital — all looking for a community to plug into. hub4101 is harnessing this energy and gaining momentum. Through events like their recent ‘Disruptive Thinking Lunch’ and digital story-telling workshops, hub4101 is rallying Brisbane’s digital community into a very exciting digital phase for our city.
Words by Alice Thompson | Images by Roger Phillips