Steve Baxter set to replace Mark Sowerby as Queensland’s chief entrepreneur
Monday, July 24, 2017/
Talks are underway for Baxter to assume the year-long unpaid appointment in October this year, becoming the second entrepreneur appointed by the Queensland Government to help deliver its Advance Queensland innovation agenda.
“Advance Queensland has been quite a good program and are getting a certain amount of momentum about them,” Baxter tells StartupSmart.
“Mark Sowerby has done a great job — I’m looking forward to getting in there and continuing that,” he says.
When asked how he would juggle the new position with his Shank Tank commitments, Baxter replied, “poorly and frantically.”
Baxter recently celebrated the fifth birthday of his Brisbane-based co-working space River City Labs, and says he is looking forward to further supporting the Queensland startup ecosystem in his new role.
“I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and people taking their future into their own hands,” Baxter says.
He believes “getting out there and being able to tell stories” is key to building a successful ecosystem, and hopes to encourage “a lot more [entrepreneurial] activity outside the south east corner of Queensland”.
“There’s lots of gaps in the market in Australia in general and in Queensland,” Baxter says.
“If we look at it in a pipeline sense, we need more startups and more people trying [entrepreneurship]. We need a better regulatory environment to make that easier … we need smarter investors, more investors, we need angels out there to allow businesses to flourish.”
“Self-sustaining” ecosystems needed
Queensland is not the only Australian state to lend government support to startup initiatives, with governments in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia also continuing to devote funds to the sector. However, Baxter hopes to see ecosystems benefit from this funding in the short term, while eventually becoming self-sufficient in the long term.
“Ultimately these things have to get a life of their own,” he says, noting that “government assistance is short-term.”
Instead, Baxter recommends we look at the startup hubs and programs which are becoming “self-sustaining” to replicate and develop these models in the future.
“In the medium-term we need these various sectors to support themselves and keep going [autonomously],” he says.
A cultural war: What Hayne's report means for fintechs, accountants and small-business lending Charlotte Petris Timelio founder
In a perfect world: Canva's Melanie Perkins dreams about the future of Australian startups Melanie Perkins Canva co-founder
Swipe right for (data) validation: What dating apps can teach us about data security Leah Callon-Butler intimate.io co-founder
How do Australian startups tap into the $140 billion of dry powder sitting in the US? Andrea Kowalski Bailador partner
No silver bullet: Four steps to find the perfect sales and marketing channel for your startup Vinne Schifferstein Vidal Botown founder
Buzinga to Appster: An insider's theory on why the app giants keep falling Joseph Russell DreamWalk Apps co-founder
Got brand goals? The four most marketable sports of 2019 Andrew Montesi Pickstar head of marketing
What founders can do now to prepare for a possible 2019 recession Les Szekely EVP co-founder