Queensland: from the Sunshine State to the Startup State

By Kyle McGinty

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I moved to Queensland from our Sydney office some 5 years ago and back then the startup eco-system was almost non-existent. In order to connect the community somewhat, I started chapters of Silicon Beach on the Gold Coast & Brisbane at the end of 2011, which has a combined community of around 2,700 members.

The Silicon Beach networking events were an original catalyst and founding pillar for a startup movement in Queensland. I remember meeting Steve Baxter at our first Silicon Beach Brisbane event at a pub in Fortitude Valley, and he had much bigger and bolder plans with the Creation of Startup community hub and RiverCityLabs was born not long after. Thanks to many contributors and supporters it has been a growing ecosystem since those early days, and it’s awesome to see to the progress of the startup marketplace across Queensland today.

Last week, I attended the Inaugural Advance Queensland Innovation and Investment Summit which captured the imagination of over 1,400 attendees from the Queensland startup scene & broader business communities. With a further 3,000 engaged via the livestream component of the event, I can see in real terms the growth that has occurred in the startup ecosystem over the past few years in the Sunshine State. At this event there was 60+ speakers, most local but some inspiring global speakers including Steve Wozniak, Brad Field, Bob Mocydlowsky, the amazing Dr Nina Tandon and others. This event was a great success for a state that is making solid moves to becoming known as the “Startup State”. There were a number of initiatives launched at this festival including some massive announcements including:

Myriad to put international spotlight on Queensland

A three-year deal was announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Myriad from 2017 to 2019. Myriad, a new startup event created by a team with international experience running startup events like South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin and Slush in Finland. The Myriad team are world-renowned founders with a track record in delivering exemplary technology events with strong economic returns. Myriad will showcase the best of regional innovation, turning Queensland into a tech hub for the whole Asia Pacific region and will bring some of the most inspiring international speakers to our shores.

Hot DesQ to attract global startups

Hot DesQ is an Australian-first program aiming to attract entrepreneurial talent to Queensland. It will bring successful international and interstate startups to Queensland to strengthen the local ecosystem, provide access global expertise to create business opportunities for Queensland. Hot DesQ invites startups to move to Queensland, and up to $100,000 AUD in grant support is available For more info click here.

Queensland Startup Precinct announced

The Startup Precinct will create an innovation hub for Queensland bringing entrepreneurs, startups, incubators and investors under the one roof to foster collaboration and get ideas off the ground. With digital and physical links to innovation centres and accelerators around the state, the Startup Precinct will play a vital role in building a thriving entrepreneurial culture in Queensland. The Startup Precinct is located in the historic T.C. Beirne Building in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and will be open in October 2016.

They say startups will be the major job generators in the years ahead. Research indicates that high-growth technology companies will contribute over $100 billion to the Australian economy and create more than half a million jobs in the next 15 years.

--Bring it on Queensland, you have a way to go, to own the term “The Startup State” but I like what I see with these strategic initiatives announced last week at the Inaugural Advance Queensland Innovation and Investment Summit!

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