July 27, 2015
City Hive in Geraldton in the mid-west region of the electorate of Durack is the home of Pollinators, a robust centre of innovation, connectivity and community. On the back of receiving federal funding support for their August Science Week project, the Goodness, Sustainability and Innovation Festival, I met with members at City Hive in the past week to discuss innovation, particularly with regard to sustainability and resilience in the mid-west.
Established in December 2010, Pollinators' mission is to 'nurture innovations and people who enable healthy, resilient communities'. But how do they do this? CEO Andrew Outhwaite told me: 'We do a bunch of things, primarily grouped into three streams.' City Hive provides space for members to work for an hour or a week or to have their own office. People connect in the shared working spaces, meeting rooms and events. The Buzz is their vibrant and entrepreneurial community where members grow new friends, peers and mentors, collaborate with professionals and volunteers and contribute great ideas and solve social problems. Programs where people join in events and learn is called the Swarm and has the objective of learning and sharing through coaching and mentor programs. Pollinators Chair Paul Dyer and Director Melissa Hadley explained that they have developed an alternative modern model for the delivery of business support and they are in demand.
Those who participate in the programs, at the CityHive or virtually, are connecting to find synergies with people not traditionally considered to be like-minded—synergies between artists, comedians, developers, the not-for-profit sector, churches, sporting groups, government, hospitals and farmers. The pollination process has encouraged local enterprise to do things that are world-class.
Small business people, as we know, are often isolated or at home, or just in need of a bit of space to run their business. But now they are coming to the hive, where they can be surrounded by peers, advisers, lawyers—always helpful—and environmental scientists, graphic designers and photographers, and the list goes on. And their interaction, cross-pollination and collaboration is leading to sound progression of their concepts into numerous projects, often without the drain of consultants' fees. 'Hear, hear,' I say to that. They just talk and they help each other.
The Pollinators have developed an alternative model of delivering support in regional economies for not-for-profits and for small business. As innovation is at the heart of their existence, they did not think to discuss with me how they were going to fund themselves in the future but rather how through innovation they can manage their own problems. Well done to Pollinators and the CityHive. I look forward to working with the Pollinators and the Minister for Small Business to determine how the Commonwealth can support the expansion of the model to other towns in Durack like Karratha and Broome, and I congratulate them.