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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Palaszczuk Government announces Queensland's new Chief Entrepreneur

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    Palaszczuk Government announces Queensland's new Chief Entrepreneur

    Well-known investor, tech founder and Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter will take over from Mark Sowerby as Queensland’s next Chief Entrepreneur in October, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch announced today (Thursday).

    Speaking in Rockhampton, Ms Enoch said Mr Baxter will maintain the momentum the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur is playing in facilitating and promoting entrepreneurship and investment in Queensland.

    “I’m delighted to have someone of Steve Baxter’s calibre on board,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Having attended school in Rockhampton, Mr Baxter is a keen supporter of the innovators and entrepreneurs in the regions, as is the Palaszczuk Government.

    “Mr Baxter will bring that extra something to our $420 million whole-of-government Advance Queensland initiative, and Queensland’s growing startup ecosystem will really benefit from his insights and experiences.”

    Ms Enoch paid tribute to the service of Mark Sowerby – “our very first Chief Entrepreneur and a wonderful ambassador promoting Queensland business to Australia and the world”.

    “Mr Sowerby has been sharing his insights and experiences to help local businesses across the state get results and he is a guiding light for our HotDesQ entrepreneurs as they relocate their startups to Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Hot DesQ is this government’s Australian-first initiative attracting international and interstate startups to mentor Queensland entrepreneurs and create the jobs of the future.

    “Mr Sowerby has been an extraordinary asset to us as Chief Entrepreneur. Having another Chief Entrepreneur from the private sector of the same calibre is good news for Queensland as we cement our position as a centre for innovation.”

    Mr Baxter, the founder of internet service provider SE Net and co-founder of PIPE Networks, was born in Cloncurry, raised in Emerald, and schooled in Rockhampton.

    He said he is keen to boost the prospects for startup businesses in the regions.

    “This is a very important role and I see it as an opportunity to connect our entrepreneurs to markets, investors and each other, and promote business opportunities – all key ingredients to building a successful ecosystem,” Mr Baxter said.

    “Mark Sowerby has done an amazing job profiling Queensland entrepreneurs on the world stage and I’m looking forward to building on the great work he and his team has done.”

    Mr Sowerby said no other person has given back to the Queensland startup community and personally invested in building local talent like Steve Baxter.

    “Steve has leveraged his success to give back and set up River City Labs in 2012 to help build more tech startups in his home state. He’s a die-hard Queenslander and the natural choice as Chief Entrepreneur,” Mr Sowerby said.

    Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to supporting Central Queensland’s economic development was further demonstrated by the meeting of the Advance Queensland Expert Panel in Rockhampton today.

    The Advance Queensland Expert Panel brings together successful leaders from business, academia, research and education to provide expert, independent advice on the implementation of the government’s Advance Queensland initiative.

    “By bringing together leading Queensland academics and business figures around the table to focus on regional issues, the Palaszczuk Government can play a significant role as both catalyst and facilitator,” Mrs Lauga said. 

    The Queensland Chief Entrepreneur’s office is in The Precinct, Queensland’s startup hub in Fortitude Valley. Mr Baxter will serve in the position in a part-time capacity for the next 12 months.

    More information can be found at


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