Queensland government to give startups a AU$24m boost

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced plans to give the state's startup industry a AU$24 million funding injection as part of the government's AU$180 million Advance Queensland initiative.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state government's plan to launch a AU$24 million initiative for startups.

The announcement was made on Monday morning at a launch breakfast for the state government's AU$180 million Advance Queensland scheme, on the eve of the state's 2015-2016 budget.

"As a Government, we know that the real driver of economic change are entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses," Palaszczuk said.

"Every big corporate starts as an emerging business that took a chance. Startups can reshape entire industries through technology and business model innovation. They are vital to job creation and prosperity -- in fact studies have found that each technology job created leads to five additional jobs in other sectors."

According to the premier, the government's funding injection is intended to increase the attraction of forming a startup in the state and to build a "thriving startup culture", as only seven percent of Australia's tech startups are said to have been formed in Brisbane.

"We want to play our role in backing successful programs that help ambitious businesses to access the support needed for accelerated growth," she said.

"We want to work with existing incubators and accelerator programs to provide an integrated suite of seed funding, co-working space, mentoring, and connection to customers and markets."

The Advance Queensland initiative will have a total of AU$180 million invested across multiple programs including a partnership between the Queensland University of Technology and pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson; a review into coding and computer science in schools; the government's business development fund; and the startup bolstering scheme.

"Advance Queensland will help make our state a place where industry, universities, and government work together to take great ideas, turn them into investment-ready proposals, attract that investment, and create jobs," Palaszczuk said.

"Queensland can attract the world's biggest companies to our shores, but we should also be trying to create major companies of our own.

"By making innovation and knowledge-based industries a key focus of this Government, we are intent of delivering a new era of opportunity for Queenslanders."

Last year the Queensland budget focused on upgrading the state health service's IT software and hardware, allocating its eHealth project AU$200 million. The budget also saw AU$72 million of spending on the Government Wireless Network (GWN), with the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Services receiving AU$37.9 million in capital purchases for a range of information and communication technology initiatives.

The premier said that Advance Queensland will be at the core of the state's 2015-2016 budget which will be handed down tomorrow.

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