Discovering the Gold Coast: A “Sport Tech Blue Zone”

by Feb 22, 2024News

Sport Tech Blue Zone

Author: Playbk Sports, Co-founder, Jon Shepherd

In November 2023, I stood before the vibrant south-east Queensland sports business community at the SportX Connect event, hosted by the Queensland Government and Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP). There, I made a bold claim that sparked conversations and perhaps a bit of curiosity. I referred to the Gold Coast as a “Sport Technology Blue Zone,” paralleling it with the world’s healthiest regions where people live well beyond 100 years old.

This wasn’t a claim made lightly.

The event, a melting pot of innovation and passion, showcased the dynamic energy of the Gold Coast. We saw pitches from ground-breaking SportsTech start-ups like Fempro Armour, BrainEye, and, humbly, our very own Playbk Sports.

Discussions led by esteemed figures like A/Prof Dr. Popi Sotiriadou, GCHKP Director, Craig Rowsell, Griffith University Director of Sport, Duncan Free, City of Gold Coast Economic Development and Tourism Executive, Ben Foster and representatives from notable organisations including Meshh, Gold Coast Titans, AusCycling, and Skate Australia, underscored the impact of technology in sports, lifestyle, and beyond.

The support from the Queensland Government Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, alongside City of Gold Coast, Griffith University, and Cohort Innovation Space, was a testament to the community’s commitment to fostering sports technology.

But why the Gold Coast, and why a “Sport Tech Blue Zone”? Let me delve into three critical aspects:

1. Community

The entrepreneurial spirit here is electrifying. The Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, among other world-class facilities, stands as a beacon of innovation and collaboration. The economic strength and drivers, supported by a dedicated tribe of individuals, make this region unparalleled. It’s a community that believes in pushing boundaries, where startups and established businesses alike thrive on mutual support and a shared vision for the future.

Gold Coast sports tech leaders
SportsX Connect at Cohort Innovation Space

2. Purpose

Purpose drives us, and on the Gold Coast, it’s visible everywhere. Before the sun fully rises, the beaches are alive with activity – runners, dog walkers, fitness groups, and early morning coffee gatherings. This early bird culture is reflective of a deeper sense of purpose, one that’s supported by initiatives like the Queensland Government’s Elevate 2042 Strategy and the Gold Coast 2022–2027 Economic Strategy. These strategies provide a clear direction for our collective journey towards innovation and sustainability, reinforcing the idea that purpose is not just individual but communal.

Elevate Queensland 2042 Strategy
Elevate Queensland 2042 Strategy

3. Mindset

The mindset of Gold Coasters is intrinsically linked to our purpose. It’s a mindset of positivity, health, and balance. With 70km of pristine beaches and the Hinterland’s lush rainforests as our backyard, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is almost second nature here. This environment fosters a positive outlook, which in turn feeds into every aspect of life, including business. A community that values mental and physical well-being creates a fertile ground for innovation and creativity. It’s this mindset that leads to better work-life balance, strategic business decisions, and an all-round happier life.

This positive, health-focused mindset is not just beneficial for individual well-being but is also a crucial driver for the sports technology sector. It encourages a culture of continuous improvement, experimentation, and a willingness to adopt new technologies that enhance athletic performance, fan engagement, deeper community connection and overall lifestyle.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and Playbk Sports, Co-founder Jon Shepherd
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate

The Synergy of Community, Purpose, and Mindset

The Gold Coast embodies a unique synergy of community, purpose, and mindset, making it a fertile ground for sports technology companies. This synergy is not just about living longer; it’s about living better. It’s about creating products and services that enhance the quality of life, not just for athletes but for the entire community.

As we look ahead, the Gold Coast’s status as a “Sport Tech Blue Zone” is only set to grow. With the upcoming Brisbane 2032 Olympics, the spotlight on this region and its capabilities in the sports technology arena will only intensify.

This global event provides an unprecedented opportunity for local businesses to showcase their innovations on the world stage, further cementing the Gold Coast’s reputation as a hub for sports tech excellence.

My hope

As we continue to navigate this exciting landscape, I invite you—whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, an established business leader, or someone passionate about sports technology—to join us in this journey.

The Gold Coast’s “Sport Tech Blue Zone” is not just a place but a movement. It’s an invitation to innovate, to improve, and to contribute to a community that’s building a healthier, happier, and more connected world through sports technology.

I extend my heartfelt thanks once again to my family, the Playbk Sports team, our clients, and the wider business and sports technology community for their ongoing support. Your belief in this vision fuels our collective progress and success.

Together, let’s continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in sports technology. Let’s keep the spirit of the Gold Coast’s “Sport Tech Blue Zone” alive, nurturing a community where innovation thrives, purpose drives, and a positive mindset leads the way.

#SportTechBlueZone – Where innovation meets purpose, and dreams turn into reality.

Thank you for being a part of this remarkable journey. The best is yet to come. Look forward to chatting over on LinkedIn – Click here for my page

Jon Shepherd


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