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Queensland to take startup world out of its comfort zone with world-first initiative


Globetrotting adventurer and Best Job in the World winner Ben Southall has teamed up with the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur to create the ‘Venturer’ program. It aims to inspire and train the state’s next wave of entrepreneurial talent, build their tenacity, resilience and emotional intelligence and forge successful and robust startup teams that can crack global markets.

The newly appointed ‘adventurer-in-residence’ will be based in The Precinct in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley one day per week, and will work with entrepreneurs, both established and budding, to take them out of their comfort zone.

Mr Southall, who has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, run ultramarathons, set endurance world records and retraced Captain Cook’s 1,600 kilometre voyage of discovery along the Great Barrier Reef in a kayak, will offer one-on-one mentoring, group facilitation, workshops, events and custom-made adventures.

From retracing routes of the early explorers across the desert-scapes of outback Queensland to cycling the highest roads in the world across the Himalayas, entrepreneurs will embark on voyages to challenge their limitations and build unique attributes.

Working alongside programs such as Startup Catalyst, which organises international missions to startup hotspots such as Silicon Valley and Israel, the Venturer program will focus on developing the emotional and mental grit needed for entrepreneurs to succeed.

What is the vision behind the Venturer program?

Mr Southall said he wanted to push emerging entrepreneurs to help them realise and leverage their full potential.

“Since embarking on a life of adventure I’ve discovered that living, working and playing in the great outdoors not only strengthens one’s inner grit, it also boosts self confidence like nothing else. It’s a journey of discovering what you’re really capable of,” Mr Southall said.

“Success is both addictive and cumulative. In adventure and in business, kicking goals always leads to one question: what’s next – how can I go bigger or do better?”

Mark Sowerby
Mark Sowerby

Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said the world-first program would strengthen teams and networks by testing and solidifying trust and relationships, improving communication skills and building the fortitude needed to create and execute successful global startups.

“Our state’s businesses need bold, inspired thinking, and entrepreneurs must constantly challenge their own beliefs and fears, which limit what they can achieve,” Mr Sowerby said.

“The Venturer program will build skills and character traits that are fundamental to entrepreneurialism, such as resilience, problem-solving, resourcefulness, risk management, creative thinking and leadership.

“Startup Catalyst has a great track record of equipping people with a ‘global-first’ view. We want to take this further by working on the emotional and mental side. The entrepreneurship journey requires pushing boundaries, both physically and mentally, but I strongly believe people are universally surprised by what they can achieve when tested.

“Ben Southall’s worldwide profile provides an unparalleled platform to attract international startups and investment to Queensland and to inspire and train our local talent. Venturer will help boost Queensland’s credentials as an entrepreneurial hotspot with exceptional talent.”