Queensland lures global entrepreneurial talent

Published Saturday, 03 December, 2016 at 09:30 AM

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

The Palaszczuk Government’s innovation movement continues to gain momentum with international and interstate entrepreneurial talent relocating to Queensland from this month.

Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch today announced that 25 international and interstate entrepreneurs from afar afield as Canada, Brazil, Houston, Silicon Valley, Berlin and Israel will move to Queensland in the first round of the $8 million Advance Queensland Hot DesQ program – joining TimeLooper who have already established a Queensland presence.

“Our Advance Queensland initiative is positioning Queensland as the Startup State of Australia and this has enabled us to attract startups coming from locations such Europe, North America and Asia - including from startup hotspots like Berlin, London and Silicon Valley – as well as Victoria and New South Wales,” Ms Enoch said.

“Some have recently arrived to set up shop in host locations around the state with the rest to arrive within the next few months.

“They come from a range of industries including biotech, drone technology and tourism.

“We’ve specifically looked to attract highly innovative enterprises that are a natural fit with Queensland’s unique industry strengths including life sciences and medtech, agriculture, mining, aerospace and tourism.”

Hot DesQ is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $405 million whole-of-government Advance Queensland initiative to transform Queensland into a strong and resilient knowledge economy, with entrepreneurialism, science, innovation and creativity at its core.

Ms Enoch said the Hot DesQ program was an Australia first, designed to attract international and interstate startups to locate to Queensland for at least six months by offering up to $100,000 for them to pursue business opportunities and help build a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in Queensland.

Cairns, Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast will each be home to two Hot DesQ recipients while another 19 will relocate to the Brisbane area.

They will be hosted by one of Queensland’s Hot DesQ Host organisations, such as theSPACE in Cairns, Little Tokyo Two and River City Labs in Brisbane, Bond Business Accelerator on the Gold Coast and Spark Bureau on the Sunshine Coast, plus several others.

Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said the program was developed following consultation with the local startup industry, which identified attracting international and interstate entrepreneurial expertise as critical to accelerating the growth of a startup ecosystem in Queensland.

“We’re attracting some of the best and brightest from around the world. They are bringing this huge wealth of expertise, experience and knowledge in running successful startups to Queensland, which will be of enormous benefit to our local budding entrepreneurs,” Mr Sowerby said.

“The strategic thinking behind the Hot DesQ program is that these overseas and interstate entrepreneurs can invigorate an entrepreneurial culture in Queensland by mentoring and guiding our local startups to grow and mature and to form those all-important global connections.”

Canadian startup Suncayr received $100,000 in Hot DesQ funding to set up shop at QUT BlueBox.

Suncayr is developing a UV indicator patch which tells people when to apply more sunscreen, an important innovation in helping to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Chief Operating Officer Derek Jouppi, who arrived in Brisbane recently, hit the ground running, reaching out to the local startup community within hours of his arrival.

“We established Suncayr about two and a half years ago and as a startup we’ve experienced all the highs and lows of getting our business up and off the ground,” Mr Jouppi said.

“We’ve been around the block quite a few times. We’ve learned a lot and I’m keen to pass on our experiences to Queensland startups, from how to get that pitch right to the importance of rigorous research to support your product.”

Mr Jouppi will also share his knowledge and experience with Queensland researchers by collaborating with Dr Elke Hacker from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation to test Suncayr’s patch in Queensland conditions at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT.

For the full list of Hot DesQ recipients, see http://advance.qld.gov.au/entrepreneurs-startups/startup-attraction-hot-desq.aspx

Media contact: Daniel Lato 0438 830 201