A Queensland consortium led by Indooroopilly State High School and including Griffith University has been set up to foster a new generation of innovators in the state.

The international education initiative, involving some of the state’s leading organisations in education and industry, highlights Griffith’s commitment to and expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation.

The consortium will roll out an exciting, government-funded competition that gives students aged 14 to 21 all over Queensland the chance to bid for seed capital to fund enterprising ideas.

Shaping Queensland’s Entrepreneurs (SQE) project was announced by the Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Curtis Pitt as part of the state government’s new $6 million IET Partnership Fund to promote Queensland’s international education and training (IET) industry.

“The Student Innovation Challenge will seek entries from every corner of Queensland, with digital technology ensuring geography is not an obstacle to any students making a great pitch for funding,” Professor Nick Barter, Academic Director, Griffith Online, said.

“The top ideas of successful students will be nurtured and progressed through industry mentoring and academic support of consortium members. This expert knowledge and guidance will be delivered through online coaching curricula, meaning students in Longreach and Townsville for example will enjoy the same opportunities as students in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”

Professor Barter and Dr Beck Davis, Convenor, Higher Degree Research, Queensland College of Art, are members of the consortium board, which is chaired by Griffith MBA graduate Nathan Pugliese.

Led by Indooroopilly State High School, the consortium also involves University of Queensland, QUT, Education Queensland International, Department of Education and Training International, Trade and Investment Queensland, Little Tokyo Two, Car Advice Pty Ltd, Holden Capital Pty Ltd and the Sarina Russo Group. It will operate under the flagship title of Queensland Student Innovation and Entrepreneurs Alliance (QSIEA).

“Collaboration is the key to innovation,” Dr Davis, also the National Director (QLD representative) of the Design Institute of Australia, said. “In coming together this consortium is able to amplify the opportunities and potential impact for young people across Queensland. Through strategic mentoring, guidance and advice the project will cultivate critical thinking, creativity and design potential.”

The project has been boosted by Queensland Government funding to the value of almost $300,000 as part of the new International Education and Training Partnership Fund.

“It will enhance the experience of international and domestic students by connecting their knowledge and understanding of industry with the Queensland government, higher education and schools,” Nathan Pugliese, now Head of Department, Student Services at Indooroopilly State High School, said.

“Young people who master skills of innovation, self-reliance and risk-taking can position themselves to be the business leaders and social entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

Nathan Pugliese was a member of the Griffith MBA team whose innovative business plan for a potable water supply in the Asia-Pacific took out third place in the $100,000 G20 Global Business Challenge in 2014.

“Cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship is critical for developing Queensland students into the job creators of the future rather than simply job applicants,” he said.

Government funding for the Student Innovation Challenge is part of a $25.3 million International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland, supporting initiatives with the capacity to boost Queensland’s international education and training sector.

“The project also generates an important opportunity to showcase the state’s expertise and collaborative strengths in the area of education and training on an international stage,” Professor Barter said.