QUT Creative Enterprise Australia launches $150,000 start-up fund

Queensland University of Technology is offering entrepreneurs in the creative industries up to $150,000 to develop and launch their ideas through its commercial arm Creative Enterprise Australia.


QUT Creative Enterprise Australia is the commercial arm of QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct. Since its inception in 2004, it has supported 100 companies and created more than 10 start-ups.


Now, QUT CEA has launched the CEA Investment Fund, encouraging entrepreneurs from creative industries to apply for up to $150,000 to launch their business idea. Applications will open in mid-2013.


The fund, announced at a two-day event titled the Creative Forum, will draw on private sector investment as well as additional revenue from CEA to fast-track new businesses.


The Creative 3 Forum, held at QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct, featured international guest speakers such as Jean Huang Lundgren of YouTube Asia, and Vince Bannon from Getty Images.


The fund is aimed at high-growth creative businesses in design, fashion, animation, entertainment industries, music, architecture and visual arts.


According to QUT CEA chief executive Anna Rooke, early stage investment is the “number one barrier” to innovation in Australia for the creative industries.


“The sector is seen to be too risky by banks, angel investors and venture capitalists, and it’s our belief at CEA that this is fundamental market failure in Australia,” Rooke said in a statement.


“If you’re in film, fashion or design, for example, how do you get your foot in the door?”


Rooke said businesses will have to demonstrate to QUT CEA and other investors an expected return with three to five years.


She said the fund strengthens CEA’s position as a “creative incubator” in Australia.


“It will be the first dedicated CEA Investment Fund in Australia which is solely focused on creative industries business deals,” she said.


“[The fund] is open to any high-growth creative commercial venture. We understand and believe in Australian creative talent and commercial opportunities.”


The fund builds on QUT CEA’s previous efforts, namely the Creative3 Investment Marketplace – an investment pitching session for creative entrepreneurs.


The Investment Marketplace provides an opportunity for creative ventures with original ideas to secure investment, offering a prize package of $25,000 cash in addition to support services.


2012 finalists include a heat retention oven, an innovative carry-all dubbed The Shirt Sleeve, an app to help singers warm up vocally, an online transactional platform that can adapt to any video game, and a teaching platform.


The 2011 winner was WizzyBoard, an object recognition technology that provides a conduit between the physical world and the digital world.


WizzyBoard is building a new method of gaming and edutainment whereby toys and merchandising are fully integrated with online games for tablets and iPads.


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