Introducing Impact Boom, our 2022 delivery partner

2022 applications open until 5pm TUES, Feb 1





WE'VE got someone we'd like you to meet.


The Refinery 4.0 welcomes an external delivery partner for the first time in the program’s growing history, Impact Boom.


Tom Allen - the founder of Impact Boom - is the man on the ground for The Refinery this year.


And it all began ... at a bus stop.


Impact Boom launched in January of 2017, almost in direct response to a bus stop billboard that equal parts enraged and inspired Tom.


The billboard advertised a yellow and black, tightly designed logo with text commissioned by the Australian Government, calling for people to contribute to a national ‘ideas boom’. They were prepared to invest heavily in the creation of an innovation ecosystem.


Seven years ago, looking at that ad, Tom riled up.


‘We don’t need an ‘ideas boom’, there’s plenty of ideas floating around… ideas are cheap and often it’s in the implementation of them that people struggle. We need an ‘impact boom’,” he said.


Action to bring ideas to life, in a way that creates positive change.


Since then, Tom Allen and his team at Impact Boom have helped over 135 enterprises unleash their greatest potential to create positive social change.

Impact Boom has connected over 4 million dollars to impact led enterprises along the way.


And while the entrepreneurial arts industries and the world of profit for purpose businesses and projects aren’t entirely aligned, Tom and The Refinery partners are excited at the partnership for lots of other reasons.


We had a quick Q+A with Tom via email, to shed some light:


Q. What prompted your interest in partnering with The Refinery for delivery in 2022?

“The Refinery has always stood out as a high quality creative business incubator, providing strong outcomes for participants.


“It’s been a privilege to be involved during previous years of The Refinery by providing workshops and mentoring.


“It’s a truly exciting opportunity to extend the collaboration this year, with Impact Boom becoming the proud delivery partner and leveraging our experience, knowledge and connections from delivery of successful programs nationally.”


Q. Impact Boom is based out of Brisbane, what’s your experience of the Sunshine Coast?

“I spent much of my childhood around the Sunshine Coast and both my parents are based in the hinterland. I feel a deep connection to the region.


“Seeing my father’s arts practice (Miles Allen) evolve over many years has allowed me to observe and gain an understanding of the different galleries, spaces and festivals.


“Beyond The Refinery, it’s been fantastic to run the 'FFWD Accelerator' program for impact-led enterprises, as well as putting a spotlight on a variety of local purpose-led enterprises with bus tours.


“The Sunshine Coast has built strong momentum and a reputation as a place of creativity and where business can be used to tackle deep rooted social and environmental problems. There’s great opportunity to continue to build on this.


“There’s a clear reason why we have seen so many people move to the Sunshine Coast from interstate. The coast offers a great lifestyle, growing arts scene, world-class beaches and national parks and expanding opportunities for business.”


Q. What opportunities do you see when business and arts combine?

“I’ve observed creative practitioners struggle to make ends meet. Typically, this has been due to the reliance on grant funding for projects, which inevitably dries up, as well as an opportunity for many practitioners to more strongly understand how to create viable business models that help them successfully sustain their work.


“The opportunity lies in many of the practitioners gaining this business knowledge, building connections and finding the recipe to turn their hobby into a practice which pays the bills (and allows them to live a lifestyle they love!).


“This is where The Refinery fits in.”


Q. What’s your advice to businesses or organisations looking to the arts to level up their offerings?

“We’re operating in a world of short attention spans and in many cases instant gratification. We’re bombarded by the media and others fighting for our attention.


“How might businesses create authentic, connected communities that deliver strong value to their customers?


“The reality is, much of the business world would be up shit creek if it weren’t for creative practitioners – experts that can see business problems from another lens and apply their experience in creativity to come at the problem with another lens.


“Artists, designers and other creative practitioners can sometimes be undervalued, yet are crucial for forward-thinking businesses.”


Q. And lastly, we’re one day away from applications for 4.0 closing, any advice to those undecided about whether to apply or not?

“You’ve got to be in it to win it. It doesn’t cost anything to apply or participate in the program, beyond time and a commitment to your project and self. It’s a no-brainer - apply!”


APPLICATIONS open until 5pm, Tuesday February 1, 2022 - Apply here!

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