Queensland government gives two startups a funding leg up

The Queensland government will give Immersive Robotics and Allsafe Fnq AU$100,000 each as part of Advance Queensland's AU$10 million Ignite Ideas Fund.

The Queensland government has announced it will be investing approximately AU$100,000 each into Brisbane-based Immersive Robotics and Allsafe Fnq to help them boost business growth and deliver their products to market faster.

According to Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch, Immersive Robotics will use the funds to refine their wireless virtual reality technology to create a prototype to demonstrate to key companies such as Facebook, Qualcomm, and Google; while Allsafe FNQ will use the funding to help commercialise its ATV Angle alarm that has been designed to reduce quad bike fatalities on farms.

These will be the first two out of 39 first round projects that will receive funding from the Advance Queensland initiative's AU$10 million Ignite Ideas Fund, which provides grants to support small businesses developing new or improved products that are looking to launch into global markets and grow their businesses.

Round two of the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund opens September 12, 2016.

"Ignite Ideas was created to help businesses who are ready to take their innovative ideas to the next level and potentially create products and services with huge global market potential," Enoch said.

"Ignite Ideas targets businesses with less than 200 staff that have a working prototype which is ready to be tested in the marketplace."

Advance Queensland was allocated an additional AU$225.2 million in funding in the 2016-17 Budget, which sees the total investment in the 12 month-old initiative currently sitting in the ballpark of AU$405 million.

Earlier this week, the government announced 1,502 Queensland state school teachers have begun studying in one of seven online courses with Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology to enhance their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The program forms part of the state government's AU$3 million STEM professional development program, which is aimed at supporting teachers to deliver subjects such as prep to year 10 digital technologies; primary science; year 7 to 9 mathematics and science; and year 11 and 12 mathematics B, chemistry, and physics subjects.

Of those 2,500, 500 signed up to upskill in coding and robotics, an area the government said is a priority for them.

The Queensland government also entered into a two-year AU$400,000 funding agreement with the Open Data Institute Queensland (ODIQ) to deliver open and transparent access to government data for industry in hope it will drive innovation, productivity, and startups.

Under the agreement, ODIQ will assist the state government with identifying so-called high-value data held by Queensland government agencies that industries could benefit from; design tools for Queensland business to increase usage of data for better business decision-making; and develop a digital platform to automate the certification of all datasets published by government agencies.

Enoch said the partnership will also give the government the opportunity to tap into ODIQ's local and international open data community, which includes startups, businesses, researchers, and academia.

"Through the Queensland government's open data portal, we have more than 2,000 datasets and almost 8,000 resources online covering traffic, transport, healthcare, crime, land use, tides and air quality," she said.

"We want to make sure this data is freely available and able to be used either to create apps, establish research programs, start new businesses, or help improve government service delivery."