By Dr Julienne Senyard, Griffith Business School
Startups and entrepreneurs are a large contributor to new jobs and innovation in the Federal Government’s 2018 Innovation Agenda. This highlights the importance of State Government initiatives that connect and support entrepreneurs and innovative small businesses.
The 2018 Queensland Budget included an unexpected $1.5 billion surplus, and as a result the Palaszczuk Government maintains a strong focus on programs through Advance Queensland to assist startups and initiatives for innovative Queensland small business.
A total of $650 million is being invested through the Advance Queensland to support innovative Queensland businesses to drive economic growth and job creation within dynamic global business environments.
Advance Queensland “supports the need for innovation, enhanced digital skills, connectivity and increased inclusion to position Queensland as a global innovation hub”.
Much of what the Budget provides is continued focus and extension on existing programs. Some selected Advance Queensland programs include:
The Ignite Ideas Fund, which provides grants provide funding to support startups and SMEs to commercialise market-ready innovative ideas for firm growth;
Advancing Regional Innovation Fund, which encourages innovation across Queensland and supports local economies to create jobs for regional Queenslanders;
The Business Growth Fund, which provides targeted assistance for small and medium businesses that seek high growth;
The Digital Innovation Fund under the eHealth Queensland Digital Innovation Strategy, which provides up to funding for proof-of-concept and pilot projects involving startups and businesses; and
The Catalyst Innovation Program, which provides opportunities for startups to pitch and showcase their digital health solutions.
The most significant investment from the State Budget is an additional $40 million into the Business Development Fund. This initiative supports high-growth, innovative, Queensland-based businesses in moving innovative ideas and viable commercial products and services.
Sweeney suggests (1987, p. 239) that “Government and its agencies can create the environment in which entrepreneurs will prosper”, and the Queensland State Government, through its continued financial commitment in entrepreneurship and innovation, provides valuable programs and initiatives that continue to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Queensland.