When SPARK Bureau was launched two years ago our aim was to foster innovation on the Sunshine Coast and to support the growth and development of entrepreneurial start-up businesses.

That is still our mission.

We are now going further – by providing mentoring, advice and expert tuition to Sunshine Coast entrepreneurs and businesses seeking to make a social and economic impact for the region.

Since our inception, SPARK, a not-for-profit organisation working out of an open-plan Ocean St office, has been an incubator for new businesses, providing low-cost shared space for small – often one-person – start-ups, keen to tap into the Sunshine Coast’s rapidly diversifying local economy.

With my transition into the role of CEO here at SPARK, I plan to do more.

Beginning on October 26, SPARK will become a vital business support hub, providing advice and assistance to fledging Coast businesses.

After joining SPARK in February, I was tasked with conducting a review of the services SPARK offered and upon completing this I knew there was so much more we could be doing to support the business and entrepreneurial community.

I have a special affinity with small business. My father operated his own small business for nearly 50 years. He knew little about marketing and nothing about technology. I saw how hard he worked and I know how tough it can be.  I have a passion for supporting small business, and for providing the tools to help make it easier for them to succeed.

SPARK will become a focal point for information on all aspects of business – from learning an accounting software program, to understanding the techniques of marketing, to managing human resource issues. We will host regular information sessions and workshops in a range of business areas, facilitated by experts in their field.

These workshops will be offered at affordable prices to the general public and are complementary for current members and those who take out a SPARK membership.

The service will benefit not just new businesses, but established operations seeking to refresh their knowledge, or update their skills. Our schedule of workshops will be available on our website from October 26.

SPARK will continue to provide co-working options and can now offer venue hire and event planning services for social activities, business meetings, conferences and seminars with catering packages available.

I look forward to seeing you at SPARK.