As it gets set to expand into Brisbane’s new innovation precinct later this year, coworking hub River City Labs has announced that former general manager Peta Ellis will return to the organisation as CEO next month.
Ellis, who served as general manager for almost four years until last December, taking care of more of the day to day running of the space, will now be tasked with larger projects, including marketing and managing the River City Labs community and brand, positioning it as Brisbane’s premier innovation hub and startup space.
With River City Labs already partnered with the likes of Bank of Queensland, CUA, and Suncorp, Ellis will also be tasked with creating closer links with other corporates around Brisbane. She said that with corporate interest in the hub high, River City Labs will be looking carefully to bring on additional partners for new programs.
In her time as general manager, Ellis helped develop and implement a number of initiatives, including the Sponsored Entrepreneur Program, a 12 week mentoring program for local startups, and oversaw the launch of the muru-D accelerator program at the space.
Steve Baxter, founder of River City Labs, said, “We’re thrilled to have Peta back with us. She’s an expert in her field and River City Labs is fortunate to have her as part of the family again.”
Ellis said she was eager to return to the hub as the role offered her the right degree of flexibility she requires as a working mum.
“New-age employers need to recognise the importance of balancing the needs of business and their workforce. I’m pleased to be given the opportunity to work in an area I’m passionate about and ensure that my family remains a priority,” she said.
With this in mind, Ellis said she will be looking to encourage greater diversity among the hub’s members through the opening of a daycare centre at the new premises and the implementation of programs for female entrepreneurs.
Ellis’s appointment comes as the Queensland startup scene booms thanks to unprecedented interest from the state government, and River City Labs is at its centre.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in April announced that $4 million from its Advance Queensland fund will be put towards the development of an innovation precinct in Brisbane, which will look to develop the state’s startup talent by bringing startups, incubators, investors, and mentors together under the one roof.
With River City Labs and Data61 signing on as foundation partners for the space, the precinct is set to open in October in the 5,200 square metre TC Beirne building, formerly home to a department store.
Baxter said of the announcement, “With the expanded space and facilities, River City Labs will be able to do more mentoring, increase the number of accelerator programs, help create more jobs, and continue to contribute directly and indirectly to Queensland’s economy.”
As it prepares for this growth, River City Labs will be looking to make up to eight new hires over the next six months, including an entrepreneur-in-residence.
Image: Peta Ellis. Source: Supplied.