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Brisbane – Australia’s New World City

11 Apr 2014

While the Lonely Planet has touted Brisbane as "Australia's hippest city”, John Aitken, CEO of Brisbane Marketing, believes that there is more to Brisbane than the “great bars, fantastic restaurants and wonderful architecture”.

Although some might ask “What more is there?” Mr Aitken is looking at the bright future of Brisbane’s businesses on a global scale.

“In the past, Brisbane relied on tourism, agriculture, resources and construction – they were our four pillars,” he said.

“Currently, Brisbane is well connected geographically, but we must position ourselves well structurally and recognise that we are not constrained by our past.”

“I support the four pillars, but we need to see what is next, and find a way to take those four pillars into the future with us.”

Mr Aitken noted that in the 1960s, manufacturing accounted for about 25 per cent of all jobs in Australia, but it’s been declining steadily since then, today only accounting for around 8 per cent of jobs.

Mr Aitken recognised this not as a problem, but as an opportunity. “The manufacturing share of the economy has declined because other industries are growing faster,” he stated.

Brisbane is embracing the rise of service industries.

Currently in Brisbane there are 120 000 businesses and of these businesses, 96% employ 20 people or less.

Mr Aitken believes that this is a good thing – small businesses are fast, flexible and mobile, however they need to be more driven toward looking for global opportunities.

“We need to look past servicing the 2 million in Brisbane, we need to look past the 4 million in Queensland, and we even need to look past the 23 million in Australia so that we can look into the billions worldwide.”

Mr Aitken suggests that Brisbane is continually seen as a place of cafes, art, design, bars and live music, however there is much more to our City than its thriving cultural life.

In the academic world and in the research and development world, Brisbane is a global leader and we need to make the most of the talent that is here.

“We’re competing against the world – not each other. To thrive, we must create meaningful partnerships. We must no longer follow the mantra of ‘publish or perish’ but ‘partner or perish.”

Another way to diversify our businesses is to enter the digital age.

“While 80% of businesses in Brisbane believe they are in the digital age, only 30% were actually selling goods and services online,” Mr Aitken declared.

As global business continues to move forward, Mr Aitken notes that entering the digital age is not about following the newest technologies and trends at every turn, but rather focussing on a behavioural shift that allows our entrepreneurs to flourish in any environment.

“Brisbane is an entrepreneurial creation city that is taking on the world and we have the attitude and reputation to do so,” Mr Aitken believes. To hear more insights from Mr John Aitken, Chief Executive Officer, Brisbane Marketing visit the our Vimeo account.

To register for future events in this series visit the Alumni Lecture Series Page.

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