Grants for Queensland hackerspaces

The rapid prototyping of new products has received a boost in Queensland, thanks to a new round of funding under the Hackerspaces Grant program.

“Groups or individuals wishing to establish a new hackerspace or expand an already established hackerspace in their community can now apply for a grant of up to $20,000 through Round 2 of the program,” said Minister for Manufacturing, Cameron Dick.

Described as “hubs” for the sharing of technology and ideas, Hackerspaces provide a low-risk way for entrepreneurs to develop new ideas.

The second round of the program involves a total amount of $280,000 in funding, and can be applied for by a range of organisations.

“Groups or individuals wishing to establish a new hackerspace or expand an already established hackerspace in their community can now apply for a grant of up to $20,000 through Round 2 of the program,” said Dick.

A previous successful hackerspace was Substation33, located in Logan and run by not-for-profit organisation YFS. The space is designed for the manufacturing of products using electronic waste (e-waste) and gives employment opportunities to the long-term unemployed. According to founder Tony Sharp, the space has benefited from its $20,000 in funding that it received in 2018.

“Substation33 has helped workshop participants turn old electronics into new devices such as real-time flood warning signs and solar PowerWELLS for remote villages,” said Sharp.

“Over time we have expanded our workforce to 14 staff members, and from 2018-19 we’ve supported around 600 volunteers to participate in more than 60,000 engagement activities.”

The grants are designed to help local spaces purchase equipment, including as fabrication machines and 3D printers, run workshops, and build advanced manufacturing skills and knowledge. To be successful, local groups need to demonstrate support from manufacturers to showcase how their space will deliver relevant industrial outcomes.