Chief Entrepreneur to build our reputation as a startup hotspot

Published Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 at 10:32 AM


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

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

One of the state’s most successful proponents of alternative investment strategies has accepted the post of Queensland’s first Chief Entrepreneur.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the appointment of Mark Sowerby, founder of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Ltd, to the Advance Queensland role.

“My Advance Queensland agenda isn’t just about bolstering our world-class research stocks, it’s about translating those ideas into commercial businesses,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Mark Sowerby is well known in the investment community for identifying opportunities and seeing them commercialised.

“This is an outstanding appointment that will help Queensland attract more venture capital and turn ideas into businesses and jobs.”

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch said Mr Sowerby will cement Queensland’s reputation as a global innovation hotspot, encouraging startup formation here in Queensland.

“He will energise Queensland’s startup sector, build collaboration to support business innovation, promote entrepreneurship and advocate for Queensland both nationally and internationally,” Ms Enoch said.

An evaluation panel commissioned by the Queensland Government selected Mr Sowerby for the role from a field of top flight candidates.

“Mark’s credentials as a global alternative investment manager are beyond reproach,” said Luke Anear, Chief Executive Officer for Townsville-based tech startup, SafetyCulture Pty Ltd, a key member of the evaluation panel.

“In 10 years he has grown Blue Sky Investments into one of Australia’s top 300 listed companies, employing around 80 people on two continents.

“He knows how to harness venture capital investment to deliver real returns for clients – this is something that Queensland with its growing startup ecosystem can really benefit from.

“In the startup space, Queensland has some fantastic success stories and great home-grown talent,” Mr Anear said.

“We need a Chief Entrepreneur of the calibre of Mr Sowerby who can tell these success stories to Queensland, Australia and the world.”

Ms Enoch said that as Chief Entrepreneur, Mr Sowerby will be an extraordinary asset for Queensland.

The Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur is a $1.5 million, two-year initiative funded under the $24 million Startup Queensland program, part of the Advance Queensland Business Investment Attraction package.

Mr Sowerby’s appointment is for 12 months.