Innovation summit urges our brightest to “take it to market”

Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Advance Queensland Education Summit.
Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Advance Queensland Education Summit.

A Queensland innovation summit was the staging of an initiative intended to make Brisbane Australia’s home of high growth, high-tech industries this week.

The State Government used the summit to announce they were backing the establishment of start-up precinct in the heritage listed TC Beirne building in Fortitude Valley.

The Advance Queensland Innovation Summit was attended by Griffith University’s commercialisation and innovation office, Griffith Enterprise, as well as most of Queensland’s leading research institutions, entrepreneurs and new product designers.

Speakers included, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Bruce Dell of Euclideon, Digital marketer, Richard Sur, start-up expert Bindi Karla and others.

Griffith University has a strong record commercialising its research outcomes, with the value to the community of the university’s ventures spiralling into hundreds of millions of dollars. The impact of Griffith research can be seen, felt, bought, eaten, played and travelled along. Its services assist schools, families, councils, farmers, hospitals, high and low tech industries, tourism ventures and the natural environment.

Premier Annastasia Palaszcuk announced a $4 million commitment to the Startup Precinct to ensure Queensland’s growing entrepreneurs can collaborate, grow and reach the potential of their markets.

“The precinct will be home to some of our best and brightest start-up talent — a space where they will gather, incubate their ideas and learn from each other,” she said.

“Start-ups will be the job generators in the years ahead. Research indicates that high-growth technology companies can contribute up to $109 billion to the Australian economy and create more than half a million jobs by 2033.”

The Start-up Precinct will be anchored by River City Labs and CSIROs Data61 and will seek to bring together all the elements a successful start-up culture, from collaborative spaces, to mentorship, technology, office space and meeting places.

River City Labs founder and prominent Queensland-based entrepreneur, Steve Baxter has been a keen advocate for exactly such a space in order to enhance the energy of a sector that often feels isolated.

“The precinct is a great example of what the start-up community wants and the ability to attract top talent to Queensland,” Mr Baxter said.

“With the expanded facilities, River City Labs will be able to do more mentoring, increase the number of accelerator programs, help create more jobs and continue to contribute directly and indirectly to Queensland’s economy”

As producers of high end research across so many areas, Griffith University staff and students will be able to take advantage of the facilities, as well as the climate of business and investors looking for technology-based solutions.

Griffith Enterprise Director, Nick Mathiou was positive about the relatively recent increase in interest in start-ups, research commercialisation and new technologies.

“Better technology and more open markets have given more people more access to the tools and capital they need to convert their ideas into successful businesses. Griffith is well-placed, on the back of its excellent research to be part of this movement,” he said.

“Australia is quite clearly in a moment of great opportunity and change.

“While technology is the focus of start-ups at the summit, they can also include services and other sectors with innovative offerings that have the possibility for rapid growth. Griffith has an excellent reputation as innovators and good business partners across a range of sectors.”

The Queensland Startup Precinct is expected to open in October 2016.