Macquarie House: A Case Study in developing project proposals and connecting entrepreneurs with growth programs

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Friday 28 September 2018

In 2013 Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tasmania took on a facilitation role in a project that saw the redevelopment of Macquarie House.  The project's vision was the transformation of a vacant 1830s 4-storey warehouse in the heart of Launceston, Tasmania, into a co-working space to support start-ups in the technology, digital and creative industries.

RDA Tasmania identified that:

  • Start-ups require a different ecosystem of support than traditional new businesses.  A start-up is a temporary model to test and validate a business idea. 
  • Digital based business ideas have the greatest potential to increase their scale because the service can be accessed by anyone with a computer or device, thus the tendency for start-ups to have a technology and digital focus. 
  • Launceston had the beginnings of a technical and entrepreneurial ecosystem for start-ups and the Macquarie House proposal was welcomed as an innovative way to create a process to develop this.

RDA Tasmania provided funding to develop a business case and a project framework around the concept to clarify its viability and identify ways to move forward including identifying appropriate funding sources.

This project identified that key stakeholder support for any similar project would include:

  • The RDA Committee being a strong facilitator and identifier of funding sources.
  • A project champion with excellent subject knowledge.
  • Involvement of the tertiary education sector.
  • Aligning the project with the City of Launceston’s economic development goals.
  • The importance of established technology based enterprises proving the value of this project.

For more information about establishing an innovation and start-up project please contact RDA Tasmania here.