The Gold Coast’s startup ecosystem got a boost today with the announcement that two recipients of the Queensland Government’s $8 million Advance Queensland Hot DesQ entrepreneurial program will be based in the city.
Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said the two startups – Much Better Adventures and Skin Analytics, both from London – would be based at Bond Business Commercialisation Centre at Bond University, one of the major innovation hubs on the Gold Coast.
"They will work very closely with local startups on the Gold Coast, sharing their experiences and providing that all important insight into how to grow a successful business," Ms Enoch said.
Skin Analytics has developed a mole and skin monitoring application, available on smartphones that provides people with a visual dashboard of their skin changes over time – an extremely valuable tool in preventing skin cancer.
Travel startup Much Better Adventures allows adventure travellers to discover, compare, book and review holidays with local and independent hosts, guides and tour operators.
"These startups have extensive entrepreneurial experience and business connections and will be of huge benefit to our local entrepreneurs on the Gold Coast," Ms Enoch said.
Ms Enoch said the Hot DesQ program was an Australia first, designed to attract international and interstate startups to locate to Queensland for at least six months by offering up to $100,000 for them to pursue business opportunities and help build a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in Queensland.
"Round One of Hot DesQ will see 25 recipients move to Queensland, and be based from Cairns to the Coast," Ms Enoch said.
Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said the program was developed following consultation with the local startup industry, which identified attracting international and interstate entrepreneurial expertise as critical to accelerating the growth of a startup ecosystem in Queensland.
"We’re attracting some of the best and brightest from around the world. They are bringing this huge wealth of expertise, experience and knowledge in running successful startups to Queensland, which will be of enormous benefit to our local budding entrepreneurs," Mr Sowerby said.
"The strategic thinking behind the Hot DesQ program is that these overseas and interstate entrepreneurs can invigorate an entrepreneurial culture in Queensland by mentoring and guiding our local startups to grow and mature and to form those all-important global connections."
Bond Business Commercialisation Centre Director Dr Baden U’Ren praised the Hot DesQ program for connecting business and research.
Dr Baden, who is also Head of Entrepreneurship at Bond University, said Skin Analytics, for example, was a perfect fit with Bond University’s skin cancer-related research.
"What a great program to promote the pollination of best practice research into a really innovative global company that is looking to commercialise that capability – and it can all happen on campus," Dr Baden said.
"You need the researchers to connect with people who ‘get it’ and can commercialise on the business side – Hot DesQ provides that environment."
Much Better Adventures will arrive on the Gold Coast by January and Skin Analytics by mid-2017.