A SENSE of creativity is far more vital to building a successful business than a business degree.
That's the firm belief of 4 Ingredients owner Kim McCosker, who built 4 Ingredients Enterprises from one simple cookbook idea.
Her business 4 Ingredients Enterprises won the Creative Industries category at last year's Sunshine Coast Business Awards, and with nominations now open for this year's awards she has urged local businesses to get involved.
"Traditionally, the Sunshine Coast is known for its tourism industry, but when you scratch the service there are extraordinary businesses doing extraordinary business in our region," Ms McCosker said.
"When we are trying to build this region up as the entrepreneurial capital of Australia, you find a lot of those entrepreneurial businesses are intensely, insanely creative, and to be in the mix of that and to be highlighted, it was a real privilege."
Ms McCosker had previously won the award's Food and Agribusiness category, but said the Creative Industries theme was closer to the heart of her business.
She said it was vital to remain innovative, a "nanosecond" ahead of the market.
"I believe you don't need a (Masters in Business Administration) to run a successful business, you just need a good idea, then you need to be extremely creative about the ways that you relay how that good idea is going to benefit your market and the wider market," Mrs McCosker said.
"We live and breathe creativity.
"It's the same story, but how many ways can we polish it up, how can we tell it differently?"
Mrs McCosker is preparing to release a 4 Ingredients cookbook for pets.
"It's different, the market is ready for it," she said.
There are now 30 cookbooks under the 4 Ingredients brand, and Mrs McCosker is kept busy with public speaking and developing partnerships with companies including IGA, Gourmet Garden, Home Living and P&O.
"I've turned my simple little cookbook into a publishing company," she said.
"We do so much more now."
Mrs McCosker said winning last year's award came as more than a compliment - it helped reinforce those partnerships by building the credibility of the 4 Ingredients brand.
Applications for the 2017 Sunshine Coast Business Awards close on September 7.
To nominate a business, head to sunshinecoastbusinessawards.com.au.
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