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18 March 2019

Meet Gold Coast Film Festival Director Lucy Fisher

As the city's flagship film event, the Gold Coast Film Festival brings film to life in a distinctly Gold Coast way for local and visiting audiences, and helps grow and support Queensland’s screen industry from one of Australia's top filmmaking destinations - the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast Film Festival has been running for the past 17 years, attracting a stellar lineup of nationally and internationally recognised filmmakers and boasting over 150+ films, workshops, panels and industry events annually. At the helm of this thriving, locally produced festival is Lucy Fisher.

Lucy has been the Festival Director of the Gold Coast Film Festival since June 2015. 

In three years she has more than doubled ticket sales, tripled sponsorship and introduced a raft of innovative initiatives to support women working in the screen industry, including Australia’s first free childcare offering at a film festival in 2016 and a commitment to ensuring gender parity across all speakers and panellists during the festival.  

As part of the festival, Lucy also created the first Gold Coast Movie Locations Tour to create a tourism product that leverages the recent major film shoots on the Gold Coast.

Lucy was awarded a Women in Business Awards of Australia award for Arts, Culture & Tourism in 2018 and a City of Gold Coast Women in Leadership Award for Arts and Culture in 2016.

She has been on the Executive Committee of Women In Film And Television NSW since June 2017 and is a regular panelist on ABC Gold Coast radio's 'Spin Doctors' segment.

Prior to the film festival, Lucy spent 11 years working on public relations strategies for some of the world’s leading tourist attractions and major events in Australia and the UK, including Madame Tussauds.

Join Lucy Fisher and a panel of film and creative industry heavy-hitters on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30pm at HOTA, Home of the Arts, for an insightful evening exploring the ripple effects of the film and creative industry on local jobs and economic growth, dive into the wonderful world of film and creative industries and network with likeminded individuals.

For more information about the Exclusive Cocktail Event: A Creative Gold Coast on Wedneday, April 10 please visit our Events Page. Places are limited, so purchase your tickets now! 

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18 March 2019

Meet Lynne Benzie, President of Village Roadshow Studios

The Gold Coast is proving itself as the perfect playground for filmmakers to anchor their productions in our city, with blockbuster films Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok and Kong: Skull Island shot right here on the Coast.

A key attraction for production on the Gold Coast is the Village Roadshow Studios, located a short fifty minute drive south of Brisbane International Airport and adjacent to the Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park, offering world-class film production facilities and a comprehensive support network of experienced film service companies conveniently located on the lot. 

At the helm of the Studios is Lynne Benzie, President of Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. Lynne Benzie has over 28 years in the film, television and entertainment industry.

Her career started in the United Kingdom in Engineering, she then migrated to Australia in 1979 where she developed a very diverse background in the Insurance, Finance, Legal, building and Information Technology industries, which led her to a position with EMI Records in promotion and marketing. 

Lynne joined Village Roadshow Studios in 1990 as PA to the General Manager of the Studios, after 5 years of being involved in the operations of the Studio Complex she was promoted to Studio Manager, then to Vice President Studios Operations and in January 2008 was promoted to President of the Studios. 

In her capacity as President of Studios she is responsible for the day to day running and operations of the Studio Complex including, financial planning and marketing the studio facility, travels to U.S.A. twice a year and works closely with Screen Queensland and City of Gold Coast to attract productions in Queensland and lobby governments to increase incentives.

Lynne was on the Board of the PFTC for 7 years and was Chair on Film Gold Coast and a committee member for REDAB (Regional Economic & Advisory Board for the film industry) and is currently on the Board of Ausfilm Australia. Bond University – Film and TV advisory board, QUT - CI Faculty Advisory Committee Meeting and in 2018 on the board for Gold Coast Film Festival and Screen Queensland.

The arts and culture sector is key to the health and competitiveness of cities. The Gold Coast is coming into its own - creating a new identity that includes art, music, events such as the Gold Coast Film Festival and creativity to appeal to an increasingly sophisticated resident, visitor and investor. There is evidence that the value of arts and creativity contributes to the health and competitiveness of cities.

Join Lynne Benzie and a panel of film and creative industry heavy-hitters on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30pm at HOTA, Home of the Arts, for an insightful evening exploring the ripple effects of the film and creative industry on local jobs and economic growth, dive into the wonderful world of film and creative industries and network with likeminded individuals.

For more information about the Exclusive Cocktail Event: A Creative Gold Coast on Wedneday, April 10 please visit our Events Page. Places are limited, so purchase your tickets now!


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21 February 2019

Aimee Engelmann - CEO & Founder Beepo

Aimee EngelmannAn increasing need to outsource elements of her own work to Asia is what encouraged Aimee Engelmann to start Beepo – a premium outsourcing business that connects local companies to offshore providers, who deliver everything from payroll services to graphic design.

With 400 staff across Australia and the Philippines, and a client base spanning Australia, New Zealand, US, Asia and Europe, Aimee has plans to capitalise on the booming trend of offshoring, and grow her staff to 5000 in the next five years.

Hear how this trailblazer helps local companies revolutionise their business models to maximise efficiency at the YP Gold Coast Entrepreneurs Lunch on March 1 - book here.

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20 February 2019

From pub crawl salesman to millionaire: meet Mike Kellett from Macro Mike

51729528 2211326832461988 4254371990967681024 nFrom bodybuilder and local pub crawl salesman, to founder and owner of a thriving multi-million-dollar business, Mike Kellett of Macro Mike is undeniably a local success story.

After dealing with his own personal digestive issues for years, Mike Kellett began exploring and testing a range of plant-based, macro and allergy-friendly whole food recipes and quickly discovered a gap in the market. 

Following a $10,000 personal investment into the business, Macro Mike was born. Macro Mike has become a pioneer in the health food industry, and has experienced rapid growth, expanding from two products to over 50 in less than two years, stocking in 500 stores nation-wide and through its e-commerce store. 

In 2018, Mike was named Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Startup), was a finalist in the Australia Post People’s Choice (Online Retainer of the Year) and winner of the Gold Coast Business Awards (Health and Wellbeing), and to top it off opened his Macro Friendly Café in Burleigh.  

Join Mike at the YP Gold Coast Entrepreneur Lunch on Friday, March 1, to hear how he transformed his vision into reality, building a multi-million-dollar business from the ground up and what's next for Macro Mike. Buy your tickets here

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20 February 2019

Markets to millionaire: meet Simon Beard from Culture Kings

Simon Beard

Fresh out of high school and working at Carrara Markets, Simon Beard probably wouldn’t have believed you if you said his future customers would include Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But an entrepreneurial spirit was sparked selling Schoolies merchandise on the Gold Coast, and before too long, Simon and wife Tahnee were establishing a business that would go on to become one of the world’s most renowned streetwear brands. 

The couple stared Culture Kings in 2008 with a humble shopfront on the Gold Coast, which a decade later has exploded into a primarily e-commerce business with a VIP client base that includes some of the biggest names in music and sport. The company employs 500 people and operates eight shopfronts across the country.

Hear how Simon conquered the streetwear game at the YP Gold Coast Entrepreneurs Lunch on March 1. Buy your tickets here.

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20 February 2019

Meet Michelle Doherty – Founder of Alpha-H Skincare

MichelleAfter struggling with chronic cystic acne throughout most of her teenage years and 20s, Michelle Doherty was introduced to Alpha-H when the brand was in its infancy. Within days of using the range she saw immediate and sustained visible improvements. She fell in love with the brand so much, that soon after she quit her job and bought the company.

Over 20 years later, Alpha-H is now a globally-recognised brand, stocked in over 25 countries including cosmetic giant Sephora, Myer, international department stores, prestige clinics, TV shopping networks, and a selection of premium airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. 

In 1995, the range consisted of just four products - today there are over 60 products in the Alpha-H range. The resurfacing treatment Liquid Gold is regarded as a “cult” beauty product, with two bottles sold every minute of every hour, and Harper’s Bazaar labelling it as ‘bottled brilliance’.

Alpha-H is Australian owned and operated, employing over 50 staff, with their head office based here on the Gold Coast.

Hear Michelle share her story and gain some powerful insights at the Gold Coast Entrepreneurs Lunch on March 1. Buy your tickets here.

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Time to Float Ferry Plan

Great cities are defined by effective transport networks, and no great city is defined by its roads.

That’s why the Gold Coast needs a multi-modal transport network that goes beyond cars, buses and rail. As we discuss in our Great Ideas for the Gold Coast report, the linear nature of the city means that we can no longer continue building roads to address congestion issues.

Our city has a unique opportunity, thanks to its 260 kilometres of navigable waterways, for a public ferry service to activate the waterway network and provide an efficient service for residents and visitors.

Based on current population forecasts, the Gold Coast has enough people to support a public ferry service – and this is before we consider the demand likely to be generated by the significant number of tourists who visit every year.

A public ferry would complement the existing transport network, and take pressure off our increasingly congested roads. Importantly, it would unlock parts of our canal network currently only accessible by car. The service could link key destinations from Labrador, Southport and the Spit to Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.

Just like the light rail, a ferry service could start with a small route servicing strategic locations and expand over time. It could grow sustainably, and in step with passenger demand.

Like any public transport, it will need to be government subsidised. However, as the city matures, we need to acknowledge that investment in creating an integrated transit system will set our city for future success. It’s about investing now for the benefit of future generations.

Concerns about the six-knot speed limit and the height of bridges within the city’s waterways aren’t real barriers to an effective public ferry service – these issues can be managed by the right operator with a suitable ferry design.

Critical to its success is the location of terminals and the distance between them, so some time and research needs to go into this.

We know there are groups who have expressed interest in delivering a ferry service for the Gold Coast. Collectively, government and the private sector need to agree on a model to support its delivery.

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Mary Grant, YP Gold Coast 20 June 2018

Support Great Places For A Richer Local Experience

Discussion around new tourism opportunities for the Gold Coast has unearthed some great ideas – a dive wreck off the coast, a cable car to Springbrook – both have merit, but aren’t we forgetting what’s already in front of us?

The Gold Coast has a highly diverse and authentic tourism offering. To create a sustainable tourism market that provides the most benefit to the city, we need to support our existing offering by celebrating and marketing it, reduce regulations for tourism operators to thrive, and inject money into public amenities such as civic space and public Wi-Fi.

Embracing our diverse and unique mix of tourism offerings would best support our local businesses and help to create memorable experiences for both locals and visitors.

After all, the appetite of global travellers is changing, and visitors want to experience a city the same way a local would.

So what are these experiences? Burleigh’s village markets, Miami Marketta, our heritage-listed hinterland trails, fine dining in Broadbeach, Palm Beach’s bustling café scene, Southport’s emerging laneway culture, stand up paddle boarding on Currumbin Creek, Bundall’s state-of-the-art cultural precinct HOTA, our Broadwater Parklands…The list goes on. 

We know that great places with identity create attachment, sense of place, pride and greater involvement of people and business with their community. Think of Burleigh Hill on a Sunday afternoon.

So how do we support our great places?

We reduce red tape on liquor licencing and hours of operation within our coastal villages to support night-time trading and creation of viable boutique bars. The cultural and creative life of a city is enhanced by safe, inclusive and vibrant night-time economies.

We better integrate each of our inland and coastal villages to encourage our visitors travel further afield. Extension of light rail and possible introduction of a ferry service would improve tourism accessibility within our city.

We invest in public realm improvements, like public Wi-Fi. Outdoor piazzas and pedestrian streets provide an opportunity to create a sense of place and a variety of great experiences.

We focus on promoting local authentic tourism offerings rather than lobbying for investment into new ‘one-off’ attractions.

We can see our tourism sector is growing, but lengths of stays are declining. We need to rethink how we market our tourism offering to ensure our visitors have a richer local experience, and stay here longer.

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YP Gold Coast position in relation to Light Rail Stage 3 Alignment

YP Gold Coast is calling for a firm commitment from all levels of government to stage 3 of the light rail corridor.

It’s our belief that stage 3 must run along the coastal spine of the city – from Burleigh Heads, to Gold Coast Airport, and beyond to Coolangatta. This route will enable the light rail network to appropriately service residential areas, commercial hubs and employment nodes.

Running the light rail down the coast will enable the development of east-west corridors to places like Robina and Nerang in the longer term. But our priority should be connecting our transport hub and gateway to the city – the airport – to the established light rail network.

The extension of light rail through our iconic coastal villages of Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach can be delivered while protecting the qualities that make these places unique to the Gold Coast.  

The light rail doesn’t automatically create unlimited building height and poor development outcomes. The city’s town planning framework can manage development to ensure new development is high quality and reinforces the iconic character of our coastal villages.

We’re also strong advocates for ensuring the delivery of extensions to the light rail don’t unduly impact our small businesses.

Light rail is key to creating a truly world class public transport system for our city, and now is the time for action. Together we need to get behind the project, and advocate for our city’s exciting future. Stage 3 must move ahead, and we need all levels of government need to commit to its delivery.

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9 October 2017

Little's Big Ambition

“Take calculated risks and remember the correlation between risk and reward.”

Paul Little walks the talk. He’s a highly credentialed businessman who built up Toll Holdings’ turnover from less than $20 million and left the company with a market capitalisation in the region of $8 billion. 

He now boasts personal wealth of $927 million, according to the 2017 Financial Review rich list. 

Addressing a YP Gold Coast lunch at Hellenika this week, Little says his company, Little Group, is here “very much with a toe in the water”. 

They’re about to start selling a 263-apartment project on Philip Avenue in Broadbeach – a marked move away from Melbourne’s inner-city apartment market that Little says has become tough as buyers find it increasingly difficult to secure funding.  

“We’ve reached a point of confidence when we can push the button on the project,” Little said to 120 Gold Coast business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“Things in Sydney and Melbourne have become tough, but we’re very excited about this project. The area is ready for it. 

“Broadbeach has such strong infrastructure, wonderful patrolled surf beaches, the light rail and the casino development."

Little was joined by Urbis Gold Coast director Matthew Schneider, who believes the city, while young, is at an important stage of maturation.

“We need to mature not only as a place to live, but as an investment destination,” he said. 

“And as we grow we’ll confront big city challenges – investing in infrastructure, tackling traffic congestion – but we should do it without selling our souls. That’s our challenge as a business community.  

“The Gold Coast does need to attract investment from abroad. We aren’t a big capital city that has the critical mass to sustain itself.”

Little shares Schneider’s appreciation for the offshore dollar. 

“An Australian city that can take large cruise ships has huge income potential for the economy. It’s a large international market,” said Little, referring to controversial plans for a cruise ship terminal in the city. 

“Investment in the expansion of Gold Coast Airport is very important for attracting people to the city. People want to fly direct, they don’t want to go via somewhere to get somewhere else.”

But it was some little pearls of wisdom that left an impression on the audience. 

“If you’re starting off in your career, try and work out where you want to finish in life. Don’t work out where you want to start. Allow yourself to dream a bit; work out where you want to finish and work backwards from that,” he said.

“From doing so, you’ll have a better idea of how to put the pieces of the puzzle together. 

“And remember the risk/reward ratio.”

So perhaps Little’s foray into Gold Coast property is a risk, but history suggests it’s one that will pay dividends.






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