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3 startups explain how being away from the big smoke of Sydney and Melbourne helped their success

Kassia Byrnes

Business Insider has partnered with City Of Gold Coast to help you find a work/ life balance.

Sydney and Melbourne might be the traditional hotspots for business, but many startups are discovering the wisdom of escaping the big smoke for somewhere with the same amenities, but a lot more support from the locals. Not to mention an all-round better lifestyle.

According to environmental psychologists at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, living by water is associated with a wide range of positive benefits to your physical and mental health. Not least of these being an increased level of vitamin D and better social networks.

A study on happiness in natural environments conducted in 2013 found a distinct increase in reported happiness around marine and coastal areas.

We spoke to the founders of three startups who set themselves up on the Gold Coast, and they told us why they wouldn't have it any other way.

1. Samantha Davis, founder of  Unforgettable Proposals

Apparently a simple 'will you marry me' is so out of vogue these days, but dramatic proposals take a lot of planning. Samantha Davis saw this gap in the market and set up her Gold Coast-based business, Unforgettable Proposals, to help couples knock their over-the-top proposals out of the park.

"Unforgettable Proposals is an events business, and as a result, we require several event props and warehouse facilities" Davis explains. "Therefore when comparing those costs to cities like Sydney or Melbourne, the Gold Coast was a much more viable option due to the affordable costs.

"It's also a beautiful destination which is very popular for our clients. We service many inbound clients looking to come to the Gold Coast for a premium romantic experience."

Considering the difference between cost of living in Sydney and on The Gold Coast, this isn't surprising. According to the cost of living website, Numbeo, the Gold Coast clearly wins value for money. Rental prices alone are 32% lower than in Sydney.

2. Sam Webb, co-founder of Livin

Not-for-profit organisation Livin is focused on breaking the stigma of mental health. Founder Sam Webb was motivated to start the organisation after the death of a close friend who was suffering from a mental illness in silence. For Webb, it was his local Gold Coast community that really got the idea off the ground.

"[My friend's death] rallied the community and we did our best to make a difference," Webb explained in an interview with Pedestrian.TV. "We started Livin in my kitchen in 2013 and we started selling t-shirts as a way to raise awareness and break the stigma around mental health."

"One thing led to the next and we set up the organisation as a fully registered non-profit by the year following."

Having a close tie to your local community as a business can be mutually beneficial. Not only does it increase your own visibility to potential customers, but your business can also pump resources back into the community.

3. Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic, founders of HiSmile

If you haven't heard of HiSmile then you're obviously the rare beast who refuses to participate in social media. This Gold Coast startup employed smart marketing strategies to get their product and brand name out there.

A celebrity endorsement by Kylie Jenner was particularly fruitful. Her post about HiSmile went out to her 76 million followers and attracted 1.6 million likes and more than a quarter of a million comments.

"We’re both Gold Coast born and raised," says Mirkovic and Tomic. "The lifestyle and environment suit us and our team, as well as the company culture we’re looking to create."

A good company culture has been shown to create a more productive, and far less stressful workplace, so why not help it along with the right environment?