MTAiQ – Leading Automotive Innovation

MTA Queensland has officially launched the MTAiQ innovation hub.

The first such facility in Australia to be focused on the automotive market, the hub has been established with an eye on the massive technological change sweeping through the industry and will bring together mentors, investors, coaches, commercial partners and industry experts to collaborate with both start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as established businesses looking to adapt to the changing industry landscape.

The hub, located at MTA Queensland’s HQ in Brisbane, offers a hi-tech home for fledgling businesses. High-speed internet access, first-class presentation and office facilities, as well as a state-of-the-art training workshop are all available to hub clients, as is the expertise of MTA Queensland personnel, meaning those clients will have access to experts in the fields of IT, business development, finances, marketing, and law.

According to Dr Brett Dale, CEO of MTA Queensland Group, the MTAiQ innovation hub will help establish Queensland as a centre of automotive innovation and create opportunities and growth that will have a positive effect on the industry and the wider community.

“The technology coming to our industry – such as driverless vehicles, new electric vehicles and the way those vehicles are charged – means that in a few years’ time, not too many businesses will look the same as they do today,” he said during the MTAiQ launch presentation.

“By 2020 we will see significant changes to our industry and by 2022 the major impact to business will be here. And that is no time at all. More than ever, we need to collaborate to innovate and I believe this facility is totally relevant to where we need to be in the 21st century.

“As a Group, MTA Queensland is committed to leading in the innovation space. We are committed to driving opportunities for industry, to supporting existing business to transform their business model to ensure they are postured for maximum opportunity, and to bringing in new start-ups that are relevant to our industry and that will service and add value not only to that industry but to our community in general.”

The creation of MTAiQ comes as a direct result of MTA Queensland’s continuing drive to offer direction, leadership and support to an industry facing such intense disruption, and it was conceived by Dr Brett Dale, MTA Queensland Group CEO, who saw the need for a different tack to be taken in support of the industry.

“When I was contemplating the future of industry and how we could continue to offer a value proposition, it seemed clear that we had to be thinking about opportunity and the future,” he said. “When we consider the traditional approach taken by many industry peak bodies, there remains a question of relevance and value for money.”

MTAiQ would, he said, offer clients an ‘ecosystem of entrepreneurship’ and be designed to support not only budding entrepreneurs with a grand idea but also MTA Queensland members – established businesses who lacked the resources to carry their plans forward.

“The innovation hub will be available to support existing members who are forward thinking and working to posture their business for opportunity, but may not be fully resourced to do it by themselves,” he said. “The other type of business we are geared to support are those individuals with creative minds who have conceived an idea that is aligned with the future of industry. They are likely to be small start-ups with great insight and potential but may lack the capacity to convert their idea into a reality. So, we would support them through the technical, innovative and business establishment processes.”

MTAiQ has been many months in the planning and as well as the infrastructure and resources, both practical and human, available to clients, a third element it offers is the connection to business, investors, government and academia. These relationships are essential for start-ups to build a presence, a brand, credibility and to be able to move to successful commercialisation of their concepts.

“The creation of both the MTAiQ Innovation hub and the establishment of the Innovation team within MTAQ has created a great framework from which we will build out our network of innovation collaborators and partners,” said James Orr, MTA Queensland’s Chief Technology Innovation Officer. “Though our ongoing works to establish the hub we have sponsored events, supported government programs and engaged with a mix of industry-leading organisations focused on innovation initiatives.

“The hub acts as a platform from which we are able to engage government and academia and we have been fortunate to have created strong ties to the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur, and the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, as well as creating strong networks with other innovation hubs throughout Queensland in both regional and metropolitan areas.

“We have rapidly established a reputation of involvement, support and drive to create opportunities for business. Currently, we are engaged with several organisations and universities in foundation and exploratory arrangements to create new products, services, skills development projects and research grants in addition to developing commercial benefits for our members and industry at large.”

These pillars – facility, expertise and networks – upon which MTAiQ has been built offer great opportunities to both start-up businesses and established businesses looking to adapt to industry disruption.

“As we have developed our innovation hub, the facility and the support network, we are positioned strongly to provide hub members with many advantages,” said Mr Orr. “In addition to receiving 24/7 access to our dedicated facility which features premium fibre internet, A/V and presentation systems, meeting rooms and collaborative spaces, we have a resident 3D printing capability delivered through our ongoing arrangements with 3DSL, and through access to our workshop and to areas dedicated to the development of prototype equipment, clients can test and trial hardware solutions.

“We can assist a start-up at any stage of its journey. We are able to equip them with the tools to establish themselves in the market, provide the legal and business structure advice and, with the breadth of expertise that includes entrepreneurship, finance, ICT, legal and marketing, we have the ability to rapidly accelerate a start-up’s establishment and connect them to the right people and target market.”

Several businesses have already taken up residence at MTAiQ, including start-ups developing concepts in tyre sales and distribution, new vehicle sales, lead management, and digital technology for use in mechanical repair. Each of them reflect the aim of the innovation hub and of MTA Queensland, which is to offer new ideas and solutions to industry by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the technological advances and disruption.

“MTAiQ has been created to address a flood of changes that will impact industry,” said Mr Orr. “The automotive industry is facing an extremely rapid rate of change over the coming three to four years and traditional business models will be impacted heavily by new transformative technologies, new competitors and drastic changes to consumer attitudes.

“We are at a watershed moment, one that will forever alter the trajectory of our industry and we have a very small window of opportunity to engage our industry and challenge them to change.
“MTAiQ is designed to meet this challenge and equip industry with the information, resources, support and leadership needed to adapt and succeed.”

11 Feb 2018