The start of 2018 has seen the commencement of Ignite FNQ in Cairns with the appointment of John Mlikota as the Chair and Lara Wilde as the Regional Innovation Coordinator.

On the 30th of June 2017 the Honourable Leeanne Enoch (Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business) announced Far North Queensland as the second region in Queensland (behind the Sunshine Coast) to receive funding towards the Advancing Regional Innovation Program.

You can read the Media Statement here.

‘Ignite FNQ’ has been established as the new not-for-profit entity which will lead the program.

The vision for Ignite FNQ is to connect and empower diverse FNQ communities by fostering innovation to build social, economic and environmental prosperity.

Mr John Mlikota has been appointed as an independent Chair to the board.  John, is an accomplished management consultant, private investor, mentor and business man. He is well travelled having worked throughout Europe, USA and Sydney, Australia. He found his passion in the workings of investment banking, venture capital and investment markets.

Currently the board members for Ignite FNQ are:

  • Chair: John Mlikota
  • Deputy Chair: Julie-ann Lambourne, CEO, enVizion Group Inc
  • Director of Governance: Professor Allan Dale, Professor of Tropical Regional Development, James Cook University
  • Director of Finance: John Brisbin, Chair, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group
  • Troy Haines, CEO, theSPACE

Miss Lara Wilde has been appointed to the role of independent Regional Innovation Coordinator.  Lara Wilde has successfully worked in local Government, project management, recruitment and retention, economic development and her own private businesses in remote, rural and regional parts of Australia. Throughout her career Lara has honed her commercial project management skills in the areas of community resource projects, infrastructure and agriculture amongst others.

What will we do?

Ignite FNQ will enable a regionally-connected network of innovation by providing the tools, support services and training to build capacity and capability for fostering success in growing jobs through start-ups and existing businesses.

This vision and the collaborative action plan developed to execute the work of Ignite FNQ was directly informed by workshops held in 2017 with stakeholders from across FNQ including Councils, NGOs and businesses. Our ability to come together as a region – despite our enormous geographical area – was critical in being awarded the funding.

One of the first items on the agenda will be Myriad. Ignite FNQ will be taking a delegation of innovators to Brisbane for Myriad May 16th to 18th this year.

Once a year, the world’s most influential thinkers and tinkerers, entrepreneurs and experts, rebels and renegades gather in beautiful Brisbane. Together, they aim to push the world forward, one essential question at a time.  Myriad is as much an inclusive cultural experiment, as it is an inspiring technological marvel. A celebration of the human beings who find themselves at the uncertain intersections of culture and industry and choose to make a difference.

We represent infinite colours and shapes, but what we all have in common is a relentless pursuit of shared learning, a search for meaning behind our actions, and the acceptance of people using technology to improve the world. For more info click here.

Advancing a Regional Innovation Ecosystem  

The Far North Queensland region (see map below) extends from Cassowary Coast in the south to the Cape and Torres Strait in the north and west to the Queensland/NT border.

How can I be involved?

It is an exciting time for FNQ and we look forward to working with you to deliver programs, spaces and support to help our region thrive.  If you have an innovative idea or would like to work with us to foster innovation to build social, economic and environmental prosperity visit our Facebook page or reach out to our Regional Innovation Coordinator:

Ignite FNQ


Regional Innovation Coordinator

041 777 99 17

Full version of media statement available here.