Feature image

Tasmania’s Stories

IT young guns lead the way

Edition 196_Jozie

Young entrepreneurs are leading the charge as Tasmania looks to re-invent itself as the ‘Digital State’.

It’s an economic powerhouse. Tasmania’s information, communication and technology sector (ICT) is worth $2 billion every year and employs 7,000 people.

Admittedly, this includes big organisations like Telstra and TasNetworks, but it seems our ICT future also lies in young creative hands.

“We really need to push ourselves as the Digital State,” the CEO of peak industry body TasICT, Phil Pyke, says.

“Tasmania is perfectly placed to be Australia’s ICT leader, but to achieve this we need to create a new paradigm, a new way of doing things.

“Riding on MONA’s coat-tails, we are increasingly viewed as being cool and creative, and that is where our ICT niche is.”

Mr Pyke believes Tasmania’s focus must be on nurturing young talent and giving them frame-works to facilitate start-ups. At the same time, we should be enticing other creative IT minds to re-locate south.

Tasmania, he adds, is ideally placed to become a digital hub. After all, a ‘big-city’ location is no advantage to the ICT industry, which conducts its business remotely.

“People can move here and enjoy all the benefits of our great lifestyle, and at the same time they are able to develop wonderful products that they can sell to the rest of Australia and the world.

“We’ve had the ‘MONA Effect’. Now let’s deliver the ‘Tech Effect’.”

Young Tasmanian, Josephine Michalek, is exactly the sort of creative entrepreneur who could help lead the state into this new digital era.

Just 21-years-old, Josephine is putting the final touches onto an IT start-up Sproutr that is already generating a buzz of excitement, despite being some months away from a launch-date. It was also a winner at the recent TasICT awards and will now head to the national i-awards next month.

Sproutr, which Josephine developed with her friend and business partner Alexander Bowler, involves equity trade. It is a website where cash-poor start-ups can swap equity in their company for needed goods and services.

“We want to revolutionise how start-ups – start-up,” Josephine explained.

“You sign up to Sproutr and it will give you all the help and support, including financial support, that you will need to make your dream happen.”

Another group making their IT dream happen are the young entrepreneurs behind Biteable: CEO James MacGregor; creative guru Simon Westlake; and tech wizard Tommy Fotak.

Hobart-based Biteable describes itself as ‘the world’s simplest video maker’ and is cashing in on the boom in web-based promotion and training videos; it’s an on-line tool that allows users to create professional-looking internet videos in minutes.

And in just four short years, Biteable is already an impressive Tasmanian success story.

Boasting three million subscribers, 96 per cent of whom are from overseas, mostly the USA, they produce more than 100,000 online videos every month.

Biteable is also recognised as one of the best operators in this highly specialised niche market.

“There is a lot of competition in the market that we work in, but yes, we are regarded as amongst the best in the world,” James MacGregor explained.

“We have always had a very clear vision of what we want to achieve. We dream of pioneering a new market for video content online. And we strive for perfection.”

Biteable already employs 25 people but that is expected to double within the next 12 months.

All this is clear proof you can take on the world – without leaving home.

“We work remotely with a lot of people all over the world, ensuring we tap into the best possible talent available. The beauty of the internet is that location is less of a deliverer of success,” James adds.

“You can do it all from Tasmania.”

Image courtesy of Josephine Michalek

11 July 2018, Edition 196

Back to index

Like to know more?

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Join us

Become an eFriend

Join our mailing list

Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Brand Partnership

Are you a Tasmanian business or operator? Join us in raising the profile, quality and value of Tasmania’s products.

Apply online

Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

Become an eFriend


Join our eFriends mailing list and once a month we will keep you up-to-date with the news that’s flowing in our state. You could win a prize in our monthly competition.

I’ve already subscribed