Australia 14 July 2015: Queensland business leader and startup advocate Steve Baxter today recognised the state Government’s ‘Advance Queensland’ budget initiatives as a win for the startup community and the Queensland economy.
Mr Baxter, an entrepreneur and investor who established Brisbane’s premier co-working community, River City Labs, said the funding priority given to startups in the budget will help position Queensland as Australia’s leading startup state.
“Queensland has the fundamentals in place to become Australia’s strongest startup ecosystem. If we take positive control of the growth of our entrepreneurial community, the returns to Queensland could be enormous,” said Mr Baxter.
“The recent Crossroads Report by StartupAUS identified that high-growth tech startups could account for $US109 billion and 540,000 new jobs Australia wide by 2033. To say this is a huge opportunity is an understatement. The Queensland government is smart to put their hand up for a significant share of this potential economic windfall.”
Mr Baxter said he was also pleased to see the government focus on the role of private sector in growing a stronger startup culture.
“Although universities and research establishments play a role in producing more entrepreneurially enthusiastic graduates, these institutions will not produce the next world beating tech startup founders in Queensland. In order to secure that we need a whole of pipeline approach. It’s high time we developed a plan to build more global companies in Queensland led by entrepreneurs and not the insistence that this must come from the academic sector. A new approach is needed.
“While matched funding from governments is an important part of the process, this is ineffective without the right kind of input and support from the broader startup ecosystem.
“Where this essentially starts is by incorporating coding and technology skill building into every stage of the schooling process, to promote the number of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates. And on a more sophisticated level, it means providing startup founders with access to good advice, mentoring and growth capital along with R&D tax incentives and the encouragement of later stage investment support through Private Equity and Venture Capital. The Queensland Government plan does seem to have elements of these and as such would make it a very integrated, thoughtful and national leading approach.
“River City Labs is a vital part of this pipeline, offering strong support to Queensland entrepreneurs. River City Labs’ recent Startup Weekend Brisbane event reaffirmed the state’s incredible pool of local startup talent, with over 200 business founders, entrepreneurs, developers and investors turning out for the launch event.
“We are keen to work alongside the government to support the success of the initiatives introduced in this budget and establish Queensland as the startup leader in Australia. The devil will be in the detail and we look forward to the good words being translated into great actions,” said Mr Baxter.
About Steve Baxter
Steve Baxter is one of Australia’s most successful tech entrepreneurs, and an active investor and mentor to startups. Steve is an active supporter of Australia’s and Queensland’s startup eco-system, as a founding board member of advocacy group StartupAUS, the founder of Brisbane co-working community River City Labs, and the mission leader for Startup Catalyst. http://www.stevebaxter.com.au