The Queensland Government has issued a fresh call to international and interstate startups to relocate to Queensland, billing itself as the ‘start-up state’.
In efforts to attract global-scale innovation, Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said round two of the Advance Queensland Hot DesQ initiative - offering visiting start-ups a maximum of $100,000 equity-free funding to relocate to Queensland - is open.
“Hot DesQ is an Australian-first program attracting international and interstate start-ups to Queensland – creating new jobs, mentoring local entrepreneurs and connecting with regional businesses,” Enoch said.
“It’s luring successful international and interstate start-ups to Queensland, and is helping to strengthen our start-up ecosystem while leveraging our state’s unique industry strengths.”
According to Enoch, the program enables global start-ups to grow their business in Queensland in its “connected, collaborative and fast-growing entrepreneurial community”, and access new markets in Asia-Pacific.
Enoch said the state currently has start-up hubs based all over that are aligned to Queensland’s industry strengths such as tourism, agribusiness, mining, energy and health.
“Hot DesQ offers everyone from early-stage and established start-ups to successful Australian expats the chance to base themselves in Queensland and share their knowledge, experience and ideas, and give back to the local start-up community,” she added.
Last October, Enoch announced the 25 inaugural recipients of the Advance Queensland Hot DesQ initiative, representing a collective commitment of more than $2 million.
Hot DesQ round one recipients included start-ups from the United Kingdom, Israel, Brazil, Germany and Silicon Valley, in addition to domestic start-ups from interstate.
Israeli fintech start-up CRiskCo - now based in Brisbane - is revolutionising the credit approval process using artificial intelligence to help credit providers and small businesses understand their credit risk.
“Coming from Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, I am surprised at Queensland’s vibrant culture of start-ups and innovation. There is so much happening in this space,” said CRiskCo CEO, Erez Saf.
“The tech talent that is available here is world class, and we are working with entrepreneurs, universities, investors, businesses and government to understand what’s really possible for our business.
“We already feel engaged in the start-up ecosystem here, having been involved in a fintech hackathon, attended numerous start-up events – including a dedicated artificial intelligence event – and presented to university students,” he said.
Another Brisbane entrepreneur, Andrew Price, claimed the Hot DesQ initiative is having a positive impact on the wider start-up community.
Price runs Blender Guru, a local startup committed to providing video tutorials for 3D software, and his business has been mentored by Saf for the past two months.
“Running a startup is tough at the best of times. Erez has helped me understand the specifics of how businesses like mine have succeeded before me,” said Price.
“His experience from Silicon Valley and Israel’s startup community has been hugely helpful as it's helped me see the bigger picture and the number of extra zeros you should be aiming for as revenue," Price said.
"Having access to international expertise has been invaluable and is boosting the start-up ecosystem in Queensland – a real game-changer for the state and something the start-up community really needs,” he said.
According to Enoch, the start-ups have successfully set up shop and were already advancing their work in fields such as tourism, artificial intelligence, mechatronics and robotics, and health.
“The expertise and international connections these startups bring to our local start-up sector are invaluable. One Hot DesQ recipient, fintech startup FlowPay, arrived in Queensland from Silicon Valley in January and has employed a Brisbane-based developer to join the team.”
“Another recipient, adventure tourism startup Much Better Adventures, relocated from London in February, and by the end of March had employed an additional full-time local team member,” she said.
“Hot DesQ recipients are adding significant value to Queensland’s startup ecosystem, sharing their expertise and helping to mentor and develop new local start-ups and businesses,” she added.