Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch has opened the Advance Queensland Young Starters Program, aimed at helping the young entrepreneurs there get a foothold in the start-up sector.
“Key drivers of economic change and jobs growth are entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses,” Ms Enoch said.
“We have some brilliant young minds in Queensland with the next generation of entrepreneurs in our classrooms and lecture theatres right now. We need to ensure we are providing opportunities for their innovative ideas to succeed.
“This program will do that by giving innovative young Queenslanders aged 15-24 a chance to gain entrepreneurial and commercialisation skills and experience.
“They will get real-world advice and knowledge from experienced business people and start-ups to help them and help us build a generation of business savvy young people.”
How exactly will this program work?
Ms Enoch said the Young Starters Program would support young Queenslanders wherever they lived and enable organisations to apply for grants of up to $20,000.
The grants would help organisations run activities such as start-up weekends, bootcamps, networking events, workshops, webinars or forums targeted at budding entrepreneurs.
A key element will be a statewide Young Starters Competition in 2016.
Participants will pitch their ideas at a regional and then a state level, with the coveted prize of a place in an accelerator program, helping turn their ideas into a new business.
Brisbane’s Christopher Drake, founder of That Startup Company and General Manager of FX2School, applauded the initiative.
“A start-up pitching competition was the catalyst for my own startup journey and many of the judges on that panel continue to be a positive influence on my life,” Mr Drake highlighted.
The Young Starters Program is part of a $24 million Advance Queensland Startup Queensland initiative.
“The $24 million suite of programs have been designed with the help of entrepreneurs who know what it takes to get a business off the ground,” Ms Enoch said.
“Queensland is home to more than 200 startups that provide more than 1900 knowledge economy jobs, and our government recognises this enormous potential to grow and diversify our state’s economy and create jobs of the future.
“I’d like to thank all our stakeholders who have contributed to the design of these programs.”
Entrepreneur and investor Steve Baxter said, “The rollout of the $24 million Startup Queensland package will do exceptional things for our state’s start-up community and economy.”
“It is a well-rounded, holistic package that fundamentally facilitates strong collaboration between the start-up body, the university sectors, investors and industry.”
Other programs in the $24 million package, to be announced shortly, will include initiatives designed to attract start-ups to Queensland, support hubs both in Brisbane and regional Queensland and harness the problem-solving abilities of start-ups and innovative small businesses.