​Queensland government appoints first chief entrepreneur

Investment firm founder Mark Sowerby has been appointed as the Queensland government's first chief entrepreneur.

The Queensland government has appointed the state's first chief entrepreneur, tasked with overseeing the startup chapter of the Advance Queensland initiative.

Mark Sowerby officially accepted the role on Wednesday, having previously focused on growing his investment firm, Blue Sky Investments.

When announcing the appointment, the state government said Sowerby was well known in the investment community for identifying opportunities and seeing them commercialised, adding that the entrepreneur also knows how to harness venture capital investments to deliver real returns for clients.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch believes the state's first chief entrepreneur will cement Queensland's reputation as a global innovation hotspot and encourage startup formation.

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

Sowerby was selected by an evaluation panel commissioned by the Queensland government and will hold the role for an initial 12-month period.

The Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur is a AU$1.5 million, two-year initiative funded under the AU$24 million Startup Queensland program.

The AU$24 million program forms part of the Advance Queensland initiative, which was first announced in last year's budget. The initiative was handed an additional AU$225.2 million in the 2016-17 Budget, which now sees the total investment at AU$405 million.

Similarly, the New South Wales government appointed former Macquarie Bank chief digital officer Damon Rees as the state's first government chief information and digital officer (GCIDO) in May.


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