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Looking to climb the start-up ladder? Get your entries in to Pitch@Palace and start climbing...

Looking to climb the start-up ladder?

Gold Coast experts say there’s never been a better time, with state government policies, technology breakthroughs, and a new level of co-operation and support among entrepreneurs combining to give aspiring business leaders a hand-up. 

Daniel Abrahams, Director of Bond University’s Transformer entrepreneurship program, said the start-up environment was getting easier, due to supportive Queensland government policies, universities embracing their role in supporting student ventures and student entrepreneurs, and the ability to secure industry support at levels that hadn’t been seen before.

“I think we’re actually at a very mature point in the cycle, we can always do more, but we certainly are starting to hit a sweet spot. And that’s a tribute to the investment in terms of Queensland universities and Queensland government in particular.”

He said the introduction of 5G technology would accelerate digital commerce, aligned with an increased focus on global solutions.

“We’re also starting to see a much larger focus on what I call global application – a lot of the time our students are thinking of a global solution or to problems not in a local context, but they definitely want to scale at a global level. They don’t think purely in terms of their backyard, they’re looking at how they can make a difference that benefits society at large.”

Abrahams said there was a growing trend towards risk-taking among entrepreneurs.

“What we’re starting to see is a lot more risk-taking because we live in the insta-society, and people want to have a go, they don’t want to wait even two years to complete their degree, and programmes like Transformer give them the best of both.”

Gold Coast entrepreneur John Christie, who founded ModnPods to provide modular and container-based building options for residential and commercial customers, said while starting up a company was one of the most difficult things you could do, it got easier as it grew.

In an attempt to further expand his business, Christie has entered the Gold Coast heat of this year’s Pitch@Palace contest for entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses, to be held at Bond University on July 19.

Pitch@Palace was founded by HRH Prince Andrew Duke of York to provide a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of entrepreneurs.

Christie said he viewed Pitch@Palace as a valuable experience for entrepreneurs.

“I think Pitch@Palace puts you on a more global scale and gets you a lot more contacts, and introduces you to a lot of people on the global market. It gives you a little worldwide recognition as well.”

Bond University student Emma Sommerville, who made the Australian final of Pitch@Palace last year with her ethical and sustainable clothing label Folktribe, said the event made a huge difference to her.

“It was an unforgettable experience. For someone who never thought I could speak in a room of 20 people, to get up and stand in front of 100 or more people and have it live broadcasted globally was incredible. There’s so many opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs, media and mentors to make the journey so easy.”

Sommerville said now was a great time for entrepreneurs to be looking to run their own company.

“From events like Pitch@Palace to Facebook support groups, there’s so much advice out there for anybody looking to set up their own business.”

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