Brisbane’s Startup Ecosystem: How It’s Helping Ideas Flourish
Given that 9 in 10 startups are destined to fail, it doesn’t exactly give budding entrepreneurs the conﬁdence needed to create their own startup. This highlights the importance of a strong ecosystem that’s capable of acting as a support network for startups. A few cities have become known for their strong startup ecosystem: Austin, San Francisco, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, London. Brisbane may not have the size to compete with the global leaders but there are spaces available to help startups succeed.
Founded by well-known entrepreneur Steve Baxter (of Shark Tank), River City Labs can best be described as a hub for startups. Along with hosting a number of events, the space is leased out to startups who can use the co-working environment to learn from the successes and failures of other startups. Last month RCL celebrated its ﬁfth birthday where startup founders, entrepreneurs and investors were all present.
Based on a similar concept, Little Tokyo Two is also a Brisbane co-working space. Its community focused and encourages collaboration between members. As you’d expect with an innovation hub, it’s not your conventional ‘cubicle style’ work space.
Advance Queensland is a government initiative designed to encourage and assist entrepreneurs interested in growing their startup. With $420 million worth of funding over the past four years, the initiative is helping local startups and raising Queensland’s proﬁle as an attractive investment destination for global VC’s.
A recent Advance Queensland initiative is the ofﬁce of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur (QCE). Currently the ofﬁce is held by Mark Sowerby, (founder of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited). Along with his team, Mark facilitates a number of local events which help up-skill and connect startup founders. To give you an example, the upcoming pitch night (hosted by QCE) involves investors pitching to entrepreneurs about why they should be seeking investment from their VC funds.
University Afﬁliated Organisations
Given the number of young entrepreneurs still enrolled in tertiary education, leading universities have established innovation centres. The University of Queensland’s iLab is currently overseen by our founder (Eban Escott’s) doppelganger - Bernie Woodcroft. Since opening in 2000, ilab has incubated over 140 start-up companies and generated nearly 800 tech jobs. Fun fact, WorkingMouse was incubated at ilab before we moved to our current ofﬁce. QUT Creative Enterprise is another university afﬁliated organisation. Creative Enterprise primarily consists of creative tech startups. They have established a collider accelerator - a ﬁve month program designed to grow a startup from a concept to a functioning business.
As mentioned above, Brisbane won’t overtake Tokyo or San Francisco anytime soon. However we’re certainly punching above our weight when it comes to size and reputation.