Not wasting a good business idea with CQUni support

16 September 2021

Rockhampton's sustainable innovators are stepping up to turn the region's waste streams into revenue streams' attending a CQUniversity workshop to develop business models for Rockhampton Regional Council's Upcycle Village.

Six innovators brought their ideas to the free session on Wednesday 8 September at SmartHub Rockhampton' facilitated by CQUni Social Innovation Program Manager Steve Williams.

"The Upcycle Village has the potential to host to social enterprises' that is businesses for a social purpose' taking waste and creating income streams from those 50'000 tonnes of waste going into landfill in Rockhampton Region'" Mr Williams said.

"The ideation session at Rocky SmartHub was an interactive and thought-provoking day designed by the Office of Social Innovation to help people articulate and develop their ideas on how to use waste and turn it into a valuable resource."

Participants worked on concepts ranging from re-using electronic waste to innovations in processing organic waste.

"We're all familiar with the concept of a tip shop diverting waste and creating an income' but this workshop was a chance for people interested in business development' to actually design new products and new revenues' from resources that are currently going straight into the ground'" he said.

"Rockhampton Waste and Recycling has already done great work to track and identify what the waste streams coming in are' and now the community is bringing their experience and insight about opportunities to create wealth' and social benefit' from waste.

"Thanks to the Queensland Government and the Queensland Social Enterprise Council' CQUni is thrilled to be working with Rockhampton Regional Council to help move towards a more circular economy."

Mr Williams said participants were also inspired by the space at the SmartHub' and thanked SmartHub Business Manager Elize Hattin for hosting the event.

Of the six innovators who attended the workshop' Mr Williams said five had expressed interest in continuing in the process' to develop their ideas to impact with CQUniversity and RRC support.

One attendee was Jim Callan' the founder of Upcycle CQ' a social enterprise challenging young people to grow their skills while finding new purposes for waste items.

The former CQUniversity Business lecturer says the Upcycle Village project is helping inspire locals to get creative about addressing unsustainable consumption.

"Thinking about alternative ways to use waste absolutely triggers creativity'" he said.

"Working with young people' you present them with the problem' or the item we want to divert from landfill' and they'll design all sorts of solutions.

"They just need the chance and the community support to do it' which is why I'm so excited about Upcycle CQ and the Upcycle Village."

RRC Waste and Recycling Councillor Shane Latcham said getting locals innovators involved was vital to the project.

"It is fantastic to see some viable commercial ideas start to emerge out of this process and I can't wait to see these projects develop further'" Cr Latcham said.

"It's possible that in the future we could see several projects all being hosted at one facility' so the more ideas the better.

"We're encouraging anyone who has an upcycling project or creative waste solution they'd like to explore to get in touch. Don't miss out on an opportunity to use this excellent program to help build your business case."

CQUniversity's partnership with RRC for the Upcycle Village project emerged as a result of local government participation in the Central Queensland Reset workshop' delivered by CQUni for the Queensland Social Enterprise Council's Reset and Recovery initiative.

Reset and Recovery was funded by the Queensland Government to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic' and delivered in Far North Queensland' Central Queensland' and the Darling Downs.