As the nation focuses on the outcome of the Queensland election, the Toowoomba startup community is looking forward to a big year ahead in 2015, with a number of events and a new coworking space on the agenda. It comes after the regional city, located in Queensland’s Darling Downs region, hosted its first Startup Weekend event in November last year. David Masefield, who cofounded the Toowoomba Startup Group with local entrepreneur Leanne Griffin, told StartupSmart plans are well underway in the co-working space. “We intend to trial a co-working space during the first half of this year, which we are working on with support from the Toowoomba Regional Council. “Of course, we don’t just want to import a model that works for Perth or Melbourne – we want to create something that works locally. So we’ll be holding some meetings to see what that will look like and function.” Toowoomba Regional Council was the principal sponsor of the Toowoomba Startup Group event in November and has been working with the group since then to find suitable accommodation for the group to establish a co-working space in the city. Toowoomba Regional Council Deputy Mayor Mike Williams told Private Media “we have met with the group several times and are currently in discussion about setting up a shared space.” “We are close to establishing a trial space and are working through the details at the moment.” Cr Williams, himself a small business owner, says the business climate in Toowoomba at present was one of optimism. “The city is undergoing a major growth spurt at the moment with a lot of major infrastructure being built such as the new Wellcamp Airport which will dramatically increase the city’s connectivity to the rest of the nation and into Asia,” he says. “Some people have a fantastic idea, but don’t know how to take that idea to the next level and start and run a business. Toowoomba Startup Group will provide support to some of these budding entrepreneurs and help them on their journey. “Council is happy to assist where it can and help provide these fledgling businesses with a possible kick-start to a brighter future. When these business ideas come to fruition it helps diversify the city economy even further. “Toowoomba is already one of the most diverse economies in the nation due to the hard work and innovation of its citizens, who knows where this next generation of business will take the city.” Aside from the new coworking space, there are three major events planned for the year, including a Startup Weekend Education event in May. The education-focused event, which follows the success of a similar event in Sydney last year, will take place at the Glennie School. It will encourage school students to pitch their business ideas; while in parallel, adults will pitch their education-related startup ideas. TSG also recently hosted its first monthly meeting of the year at the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, with Mark Thomas sharing lessons about lean manufacturing from auto giant Toyota. The less formal Coffee Club meetings are also continuing each month at the Engine Room Cafe, with the next one scheduled for 7.45am on February 10. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Australian café chain The Coffee Club is set to ramp up its international expansion plans after signing a licencing agreement for 10 new cafes to open in Malaysia. The Coffee Club, which opened its first café in Brisbane in 1989, says in a statement the first Coffee Club in Malaysia is expected to open in December after reaching an agreement with Warung Sentral Sdn Bhd. “The Coffee Club currently has a presence in seven countries across the world and the Malaysia signing is an important step forward in the future growth of the brand,” The Coffee Club chief executive Jason Ball says in the statement. “Asia represents huge growth potential for The Coffee Club brand and we are excited by the new Malaysia venture.” Ball says the deal with Warung Sentral follows a deal with Al Nasser Holdings to expand the brand into the Middle East and North Africa. There are currently 46 Coffee Clubs in New Zealand, 12 in Thailand, three in China, three in Egypt, one in the Maldives and one in New Caledonia. The Coffee Club is 50% owned by Thai hospitality and leisure company Minor International.
Australian café franchise The Coffee Club has opened its first venue in Egypt on the back of major political unrest, but the company is confident it can appeal to locals and tourists alike.
Food franchise Pie Face has expanded to the United States, opening its first store in the heart of New York, but has tweaked its all-Australian offering only slightly for the US market.
Café franchise The Coffee Club plans to open a new Australian store every fortnight for the next five years, while expanding into new and existing markets including Egypt, China and Thailand.
Service-based businesses have trumped food retail as the most popular type of franchise for new franchisees, new research reveals, due to smaller start-up costs and stronger trading conditions.
Australian franchisors looking to expand internationally should not discount India as a viable market, an expert says, because the country’s franchising sector is growing at 35% per annum.
The Coffee Club franchisee Carolyn McManus has revealed her secrets to success for multi-unit franchising, after being named Multi-unit Franchisee of the Year by the peak industry body.
Australian cafes have been urged to concentrate on improving the customer experience in the wake of a record coffee price surge.