Creative incubator businesses set to take off


(l-r): Sam Taylor, Tash Lawton, Nicki Farrell, Vicci Oliver

Four local creatives will soon take their business ideas to the next level after being awarded funding through a collaborative arts incubator, The Refinery.

Three projects took out top honours - Wildlings Forest School, Project Fort Awesome and Talk Revolution.

With goals of developing the next generation of creatives, exploring play and place, and starting a taboo-topic talk revolution for young people, each of the three projects will receive a $4000 investment into their business journey.

The Refinery is a joint initiative of Sunshine Coast Council, SunCentral Maroochydore and Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance.

In its inaugural year, The Refinery invited Sunshine Coast creative's to take part in a 10-week creative incubator to help turn their ideas into successful businesses. 

Sunshine Coast Council team leader Creative Development, Megan Rowland said 15 projects were included in the first of its kind creative incubator, bridging the gap between art and business.

“The entire group of participants exceeded council’s expectations, and I’m sure the partners will agree, with bold, game-changing, original and creative businesses all coming to life over the 10-week program,” Ms Rowland said.

“Congratulations to Nicki Farrell and Vicci Oliver creators of Wildlings Forest School, Sam Taylor founder of Project Fort Awesome and Tash Lawton the filmmaker behind Talk Revolution.

“It was great to see their ideas grow through The Refinery with guidance from an inspiring line-up of local, national and international mentors including Ben Johnson from Josephmark and Timothy O’Brien from Hatched.

“Council’s 20-year Arts Plan is focussed on growing the arts industry on the Sunshine Coast and The Refinery program is helping to deliver on this.

“We look forward to seeing where the next phase of the journey will take our Refinery graduates.”

Project Fort Awesome 

Combining art and architecture for an original playmaking idea, Project Fort Awesome is founded by Sam Taylor. Sam, an architect by trade joined The Refinery to build an immersive, interactive arts experience business where artists collaborate to transport little and big kids into new worlds.

Wildlings Forest School

Nicki Farrell and Vicci Oliver are wild women and teachers taking on the traditional school model and putting the dirt back into childhood with adventure play. The Wildlings got top marks in The Refinery for their commitment to learning, collaboration and their passion for building a brighter future for our children. 

Talk Revolution 

Tash Lawton is a filmmaker who created @periodtalkoz and this year Tash worked with The Refinery to create Talk Revolution on a range of taboo topics. Partnering with schools, teachers and parents Talk Revolution is a first of its kind video series presented by kids for kids. 

To find out more visit

The Refinery is proudly supported by Advance Queensland through the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Program (SCRIPT), Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund and CQU. 

Industry partners include Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, Peregian Digital Hub and Creative Spaces Sunshine Coast. 

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Sunshine Coast Regional Council :
Locked Bag 72 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q 4560, Sunshine Coast Wide
07 5475 7272
1300 007 272
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
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