In this episode I have a brilliant chat with Joy Taylor, the Co-Founder and Community Manager of Canvas Coworking Space here in Toowoomba, QLD. She is also a Startup Weekend Global Facilitator and has been recognised as an Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion for her work teaching kids to create with technology at CoderDojo Toowoomba. Joy tells us about her background in finance and agribusiness, and her journey from there to the coworking and startup space. We discuss the various programs and projects Joy works on to support Regional Communities here in Toowoomba and also across Australia, and the three main elements she focuses on when mentoring: skill development, behaviours and connection. We then dive deep into one of the Smart projects Joy champions, which is CoderDojo. You may remember back in Episode 122 Emily Royalle told us about the CoderDojo program and how it has benefited both the children involved and the city of San Antonio, Texas, US. Joy is one of the mentors at CoderDojo Toowoomba and in this episode she shares all the benefits and opportunities this program affords the students who attend, but also their parents and the community, and how some skills can only be learned in community. Joy also tells us about some other programs like METS Ignited and Zero to Startup, which have involved lots of integrating with industry, private enterprise, government and community organisations. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trend of a 3-pronged approach to sustainability in business: sustainable for the people, planet and profit. This episode is part of our spotlight on the regions and I’m glad to be able to bring you a champion from my own home region, here in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs in QLD. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Joy’s background in finance and agri-business and her journey into ecommerce, startup ecosystems and coworking
  • Joy’s passion for family, travel and health
  • What sparked Joy’s interest in the coworking and community business space
  • The benefits of coworking and what a Smart Community is to Joy
  • The importance of understanding WHY you do things, and of having an outcomes-based approach
  • Programs Joy works on to support Regional Australia and Regional Communities 
  • The three main elements Joy focuses on when mentoring: skill development, behaviours and connection
  • The CoderDojo program Joy is involved with and the great benefits it offers children to learn skills that can only be learned in community
  • How willingness to collaborate and seek opportunities helps integration across industries, disciplines, governments and academia
  • Some programs Joy has run that involved a lot of integration, like METS Ignited and Zero to Startup
  • The emerging trend of sustainability in business and Joy’s 3-pronged focus of people, planet and profit 
  • An exercise to stop and think about and be more conscious of how we are using our own and the planet’s resources 


“I think [Smart Communities] use their resources wisely. It’s looking at how are we doing business? How are we living our life? How are we connecting with others? Are we doing that in the most efficient way when it comes to our resource consumption? It doesn’t always mean physical things. Sometimes it means time. Sometimes it means energy—and energy as a person as well as [electricity or fuel.]”

“Even though we run a coworking space in Toowoomba we also are conscious that a number of members live outside of the region or just can’t physically get into the space even if they live in town. So we use technology like Zoom to be able to provide a lot of what we do online, which helps people access that either at a time that suits them or from wherever they are.”

“It’s about teaching kids to create with technology in the first instance. And then beyond that, and without them necessarily realising it, it’s about getting them to actually build their own community and talk to each other.”

I think [we should be] focusing on sustainability in business, everything through your supply chain, right through to how your product or service is disposed of or used after or repurposed…It really is that whole life cycle of a business but also of the products and services that we produce and create.”


Queensland Rural Regional and Remove Women’s Network or QRRRWN

The University of Southern Queensland or USQ

Startup Weekends and Hackathons 



Advance Queensland 

QLD Chief Entrepreneur Leeane Kemp

Canvas Coworking


Find the full show notes at: 

Connect with Joy on LinkedIn or Facebook, or via email 

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My Smart Community

My Smart Community offers consulting and media services with a focus on making our communities more accessible, liveable and sustainable for all. We have a focus on Smart Mobility, Smart project management, Smart technology in regional communities, dealing with disruption and facilitating genuine collaboration. As well as podcast production, communication and media advisory and engagement, keynote speaking, moderating, master of ceremonies and workshop design and facilitation.

The Smart Community Podcast

The Smart Community Podcast is a hub where smart and exciting people from all around the world come to discuss all things Smart City, Smart Town, Smart Region - anything that makes a place more liveable. Together we can create our own Smart Communities.


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