BEHIND an innocuous glass door on Carp St can be found some of the Bega Valley’s most forward-thinking innovators.
Armed with an array of laptops and an Internet connection, the minds behind the soon-to-be-officially-launched co-working space have already created a couple of mobile apps for local businesses – but there are bigger and brighter ideas in the planning pipeline.
COWS Near the Coast’s chief coordinator is Liam O’Duibhir, a cloud computing consultant and IT specialist.
He said the working space will allow for productive collaboration between like-minded “techies”.
“This space is all about knowledge sharing,” Mr O’Duibhir said.
“But it’s also about a cultural change – making people aware there is a lot more tech happening in the Bega Valley now.”
Mr O’Duibhir said COWS will host monthly events throughout 2014, which started with a mobile app developers workshop last week.
Connecting with school leavers will be February’s focus, while March will see the third annual entrepreneurs start-up camp.
“A lot of talented youth leaves this area, but COWS will offer them a different stream to pursue and hopefully entice them to stay here,” Mr O’Duibhir said.
“The knowledge sharing and collaboration is a way to rapidly accelerate their skills and the hope is anyone involved can begin to carve out their own tech path.
“Companies will form – it will be an entrepreneurial place.”
Mr O’Duibhir said COWS Near the Coast will also foster close connections with the ACT’s Entry29, a more fully realised co-working space based at the Australian National University.
While it’s early days for COWS, it is already making some big waves.
The group is currently pitching PhonicPath – the mobile app that won last year’s entrepreneurs camp (BDN, 13/3/13).
“It’s a GPS-aware smartphone app that offers information on any tourist attraction you’re currently at,” Mr O’Duibhir said.
“It’s potentially a global app with anyone able to tailor tourism content to this system.”
Thinking big is also part of the COWS Near the Coast DNA, with Mr O’Duibhir confident the knowledge and skills of Bega Valley’s IT crowd will lead the region into decades of potential business growth.
* More on COWS Near the Coast’s year of tech events will appear in the BDN throughout 2014.