Queensland is rolling out a $180m program to create jobs of the future

Left to right: Vanessa va Dalsen Head of Marketing at Happen, Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch, and Thorbjorn Hansen co-founder of Happen

The Queensland government is slowly rolling out a $180 million program aimed to create the industries and jobs of the future.

Split into three different streams, the money and programs are aimed at collaboration between research institutions and entrepreneurs, partnering with international corporations, and creating new industries.

The government has already announced partnerships with Johnson and Johnson and Siemens to foster more health research and commercialisation, PhD scholarships, and a program to link postgraduate students with startups.

It is now releasing details of a $24 million startup package, starting off with a $2 million grant program aimed at young people.

“It’s really about supporting the jobs of the future,” Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch told Business Insider.

“Creating the fertile ground in which we will be able to secure new industries, new jobs, new startups. Grow that entrepreneurial spirit. Get that innovation happening in Queensland”

“It’s a really modest investment when you think about it, but it’s the way that we are spending it.”

Enoch says this year has been about laying the base for the program – consulting with industry and designing some of the soon-to-be unveiled programs. The entire $180 million program will span four years, but within that there will be pauses and time for reflection, to see what is working and what isn’t.

“We are going to pause in February to have a look at those things we have already rolled out, see how they are going and if there are any adjustments to be made,” says Enoch.

“But that’s the goal of a four-year program. You get that chance to be a little more agile, to say ‘We need to move in this direction now’,”

The latest announcement is a $2 million funding program aimed at 15-24 year olds, inside a $24 million startup package. The funding program will dispense grants up to $20,000 for events aimed at young, budding entrepreneurs – startup weekends, bootcamps, workshops and the like.

There will also be an annual state-wide Young Starters Competition, with pitching competitions and a place at an accelerator program for the winner.

The idea is to change the culture around entrepreneurism for young people.

“Forever we have asked our kids ‘What job do you want when you grow up?'” Enoch said at the launch.

“Being an entrepreneur is a job too!

“$2 million isn’t a lot of money but it’s enough to get us started in the cultural change in this state.”

The program is aimed at young Queenslanders like the team behind Happen, a startup that was launched out of university a couple of years ago and won the Brisbane Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs Grant earlier this year.

The team used the money to go to the Web Summit startup conference in Dublin, where they met investors, networked, and came back with validation and ideas.

“With grants like this, it seems like a small figure, but what that represents for a dynamic startup is incredible’,” says Happen’s head of marketing Vanessa Van Dalsen.

“The recognition and the legitimacy that comes from having exhibited at a tech conference, it speaks volumes about the viability of your product.”

More than just the money, it is the symbolism behind the gesture – the validation, recognition, and supporting framework and ideas that mean a lot, according to Van Dalsen.

“What we are trying to do is shift the culture, create that innovation movement in our state. And try and create the right environment,” says Enoch.

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