Global tech giant Microsoft has launched the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre, which aims to assist in the establishment of 100 start-ups alongside industry partners over three years.
The centre, which builds on Microsoft’s BizSpark program in Australia, will become the hub of the program.
It will work with other initiatives such as BizSpark Plus, which boasts an impressive range of partners including AngelCube, Blue Chilli, Fishburners and PushStart.
The centre will focus on accelerating the growth of SMEs, start-ups and student entrepreneurs, with a focus on three key areas: skills, business development and connection to industry.
The goals of the centre include:
- Assisting in the establishment of 100 start-ups over three years.
- Working alongside industry partners to develop successful start-ups.
- Extending reach into regional Queensland to assist in establishing start-ups and to leverage the National Broadband Network.
- Supporting and equipping businesses through commercial success or acquisition.
- Positioning Queensland as a flagship state for innovation in productivity.
Sharon Schoenborn, Microsoft Australia state director for Queensland and the Northern Territory, says the centre reflects Microsoft’s commitment to promoting innovation and growth.
“The launch of the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre will help bridge some of the current gaps for start-ups in their journey to success by equipping and inspiring them to innovate,” Schoenborn said in a statement.
“The centre will act as a hub of innovation for start-ups, partners, developers and students to exchange ideas, build on each other’s strengths and translate those assets into greater… success.”
The centre will be launched in partnership with Microsoft’s network of investment, accelerator and incubation partners in Queensland and the rest of Australia.
Launch partners include Lean Market Research, QUT Innovation Space, IdeaNetwork, River City Labs, Sales Monkey and Australian Capital Investment.
According to Maree Adshead, Queensland chair of the Australian Information Industries Association, innovation will be the key in Queensland’s plight to become a global competitor.
“Young technology start-ups are the engine room of innovation and are critical to a healthy technology ecosystem,” Adshead says.
“For too long, young Queensland innovation has been the quiet achiever. This initiative will have a real and long-lasting impact.”
Similarly, Colin Kinner, managing director of Spike Innovation and an “innovation evangelist” at Brisbane co-working space River City Labs, says the Queensland start-up scene needs a boost.
“The innovation ecosystem in Queensland will only flourish if there is a blend of technology expertise, commercial guidance and early stage capital,” Kinner says.
“With the launch of the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre, there will be a valuable new resource available for Queensland start-ups to tap into.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing Microsoft leverage its global network to help the next batch of local entrepreneurs make it on a world stage.”