IPSWICH is set to become host to an innovative digital incubator hub which will be a base for young entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas.
The incubator, which the QT understands will be based in the old fire station building in Limestone St, will replicate what Chicago's entrepreneurial hub for 250 digital start-ups has done in a facility known as '1871'.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and Council CEO Jim Lindsay toured 1871 in Chicago when they attended the Intelligent Community Forum in Toronto earlier this month, where Ipswich was a finalist in the top seven intelligent communities in the world.
An incubator, or digital hub, is a place where like-minded entrepreneurs and creative thinkers thrive off the energy of being in a communal space.
In Ipswich, it will be a place that inspires creativity and supports innovation for companies and entrepreneurs with outstanding business ideas that need to be nurtured and supported.
Plans are in place for council to engage a partner to roll out the digital hub in the Ipswich CBD.
"What you are going to see is the launch of the digital city of Ipswich and we are going to take the city into the 21st century before any other city in Australia," Cr Pisasale said.
Chicago's 1871 is a great example of a successful digital incubator and is a world leader in its field.
"It has been going for three years and has been very successful in bringing digital start-ups and new jobs into the city," Mr Lindsay said.
"We have looked all around the world at these digital incubators and they provide the basis and platform to create a digital city."
Leading Chicago entrepreneur Howard Tullman is the CEO of 1871.
Mr Tullman told Crain's Chicago Business that his goal for 1871 was "to be a factory that's going to turn out the best start-ups in the country", and also to be about practicality and not pie in the sky projects.
"I want the results to go from 'how much money did you raise' to 'how much revenue are you generating?'" he said.
Entrepreneurs and start-up companies pay a modest lease fee each month for space at 1871.
Cr Pisasale said great ideas needed a home to be "incubated" and the new Ipswich facility would provide exactly the same environment as Chicago's world leading entrepreneurial hub.
"Across the Ipswich Community and throughout south-east Queensland there are people with great ideas," Cr Pisasale said.
"If you've got a great idea you can go into our incubator and develop it.
"We have cultural grants to identify cultural talent. We have sporting grants that identify the Alfie Langers out there.
"What an incubator does is provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs with great ideas to take them forward."