Queensland government wants startups to fill state contracts

The Queensland government has launched a program aiming to make it easier for startups and small businesses to fill government contracts.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Queensland government has launched a procurement grant program aimed at giving startups and small businesses access to state work and the government access to the ensuing emerging technologies.

Under the Advance Queensland Testing Within Government program launched on Tuesday, grants of AU$20,000 will be offered to each successful startup to support it testing its IT solution against a problem or opportunity identified by the state Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.

At the completion of the three month testing program, the startups will present their experiences and solutions to a wider group of government representatives which will then allow the broader state government to scoop up the idea for implementation.

"It can be difficult for small businesses to compete with major suppliers for government work, so we're providing them the opportunity to gain practical on-the-ground experience working with a large organisation," Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said.

"While the program will be highly competitive, it will support Queensland business to develop new IT solutions that will provide benefits to users of government services here and can then be sold to customers globally."

The testing program forms part of the government's Advance Queensland initiative, which was launched by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in last year's Budget. Given an additional AU$225.2 million in the 2016-17 state Budget, the total investment in the initiative now sits at AU$405 million.

"I'm determined to make Queensland Australia's innovation leader, which is why I have dramatically increased our investment and broadened our focus to embrace opportunities across the economy," Palaszczuk said in June.

"Advance Queensland is key to our state's economic diversity. We are backing the innovators -- startups, small business, school kids, farmers, scientists, researchers, tradespeople, engineers, doctors, teachers -- because that will create a new era of opportunity for Queenslanders."

The latest funding was split into four categories: Unlocking potential of business to innovate; growing our regions; harnessing existing strengths and fostering emerging opportunities; and building future generations.

Under the unlocking innovation banner, small businesses are slated to receive AU$22.7 million as part of the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy and AU$10 million will be invested to develop new technologies for business, in areas such as drones, big data, and the Internet of Things.

Last week, the Queensland government 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.

These will be the first two out of 39 first round projects that will receive funding from the Advance Queensland initiative.

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