News & Analysis

Sunshine Coast coworking community Spark Bureau reveals incubator intake dominated by female founders

- March 7, 2016 2 MIN READ

Sunshine Coast coworking community Spark Bureau has announced the startups taking part in its four month-long incubator program, with the intake focused on women-led startups in an effort to disrupt the male dominated industry.

Spark Bureau, a not-for-profit co-working community located in the heart of Maroochydore, will be providing structured support to the nine selected startup companies, 80 percent of whom are founded by women.

CEO of Spark Bureau Zach Johnson said that, when looking at the Sunshine Coast’s entrepreneurial community, the high number of female entrants is not surprising, considering the percentage of female founders in startup companies is three times higher than the global average.

“We’ve attracted multiple female founders, who represent 40 percent of our membership base, spanning sectors including fashion, food, fitness, and wellness. We never set out to create an incubator program that had a large proportion of female cofounders, but the reality was that when I started reviewing potential applicants the vast majority were females,” he said.

The incubator will offer startups master classes across a range of topics, including lean principles, design thinking, growth hacking, legal, finance, investment, and delivering their pitch. Founders will receive support and mentoring from assigned coaches and subject matter experts.

Johnson said that the vision for Spark Bureau has always been to create more of an opportunity for entrepreneurs on the Sunshine Coast, providing them with global exposure and the types of connections and support structures that startups in a capital city are offered, and the incubator is the first step towards that process.

“Over the last six months we’ve been building up a coworking community and we’ve done a dozen events which have brought over 500 people through the space. Our coworking membership is growing 30 percent month on month,” he said.

Members of the co-working space include startups, established businesses and community stakeholders including The Regional Development Authority, Sunshine Coast Council, and ANZ Bank.

“The Sunshine Coast continues to prove that we are capable of punching above our weight relative to our location and population. We will further explore ways to drive innovation and support our world-class entrepreneurial community,” said Johnson.

The first batch of startup companies selected for Spark Bureau’s incubator include:

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Fashion marketplace where style influencers and like-minded customers can rent and exchange clothing, which includes collections of ready-to-wear luxury pieces at a fraction of the retail price.

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A bill management system that aggregates monthly invoices from suppliers into a single, actionable view that connects back-end accounting systems with bank accounts.

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SOAK Society

Handmade organic bath soaks provided to consumers via a subscription service.

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Provides a platform for homeowners to list their home, promoting properties on major real estate sites to enhance both virtual and physical visibility in the real estate market.

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Briese Botanicals

An online skin care marketplace providing natural and vegan formulated skin care to skin sensitive consumers. Products use bio-active ingredients derived from local Australian scientists’ expertise.

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CILK Rosewater

A luxury beauty beverage formulated from organic ingredients for women seeking an alternative to alcoholic and sugary drinks.

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Devine Bodies

Distributes cold-press juice and non-dairy products throughout Southeast Queensland.

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A social network for adventure sports athletes. The startup is building a community that will connect members of complementary skill levels through a mobile platform.


A women’s swimwear brand that creates functional and practical products that are stylish for active water sports.

The incubator program will finish in May, making way for the next program which is set to start in August.

Image: Zach Johnson. Source: Supplied