Innov8 to plug Logan’s brain drain

Albert and Logan News – September 14, 2018: 4:08pm

LOGAN’S brightest minds were given a chance to pitch their business ideas at the launch of an innovation venture which attracted Shark Tank TV star Steve Baxter.

More than 300 people attended the launch of Innov8, a forum for entrepreneurs from Logan and surrounds to share ideas and tap into a wealth of business knowledge.

The crowd listens as shark Tank’s Steve Baxter gives tips on how to succeed.

Portable pools, 9D virtual reality games, batteries powered by recycled computer bits and even solar-powered flashing signs were some of the products on show.

Innov8 founder Tony Sharp, known for setting up his eclectic and successful business hub Substation 33, said he was surprised with the speed his concept took shape.

Innovator and entrepreneur Tony Sharp, left, was behind the impetus for today’s Innov8 launch which included guest speaker Steve Baxter from Shark Tank.

“We got together on a cold winter’s night to share pizza and a few drinks in the heart of Kingston and that’s how we hatched the plan to create Logan’s own virtual innovation hub,” he said.

“That night, those innovators quickly identified the need for an online innovation hub designed specifically for Logan so those great ideas didn’t have to go to Brisbane to be recognised.

“This will help local start-ups connect with the support they need to make their big idea a reality.”

That gathering in June was the first meeting of the Logan Entrepreneurs Group, a collection of representatives from local start-ups, social enterprises, businesses and entrepreneurs.

It also included Griffith University, Logan City Council and the state government.

Shark Tank’s Mr Baxter told the crowd it was important for Logan’s “hugely successful businesses” to mentor fledgling start-ups in Logan.

Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter listened to pitches from some of Logan’s most innovative start-ups. He also met the brains behind The Plungie, a portable swimming pool, general manager Ben Petersen with Evolve managing director Ty Hermans.

Acting mayor Cherie Dalley told the crowd the council had allocated $12 million in this year’s budget to upgrade the Kingston Butter Factory so it could be used as an innovation hub.

“Logan is positioning itself to harness the power to the new economy and Innov8 is the sort of venture that can turn that into reality,” she said.

Mr Sharp said Innov8 was “just the start in Logan” and once Logan City Council’s $6 million Kingston Butter factory Innovation Hub launches in December 2019, the city would also have a venue to bring big ideas to life.

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