21 October 2018
In a joint statement, Premier and Minister for Trade, The Honorable Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Innovation and Tourism Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, The Honourable Kate Jones have appointed internationally acclaimed Queensland businesswoman Leanne Kemp as the state’s new Chief Entrepreneur.
Ms Kemp’s ground-breaking blockchain startup was listed as one of the World Economic Forum’s most promising technology pioneers of 2018 and her work was recently praised by the Premier in the CEDA State of the State speech last month.
Today the Everledger founder and World Trade Board Member was appointed as Steve Baxter’s successor.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Leanne Kemp has more than 20 years’ experience in the tech world and knows first-hand how to forge a very successful career as an entrepreneur.
“In just three years Leanne built her company up into a global power player with offices in five countries, including her largest tech workforce right here in Brisbane,” she said.
“Her company raised more than $10 million in venture capital earlier this year and now employs 72 people - women in key technical roles and managerial positions.”
Innovation Minister Kate Jones said appointing Queensland’s first female Chief Entrepreneur would send a clear message about the importance of women in tech.
“To create the jobs of the future in Queensland we need to think globally. She’s an internationally recognised entrepreneur who has built her company from the ground up,” Ms Jones said.
“In her new role, Leanne will work with the government to ensure we’re doing everything possible to support Queensland companies to scale-up and expand overseas.”
Ms Jones also paid tribute to outgoing Chief Entrepreneur Steve Baxter.
“Steve Baxter has been so enthusiastic about supporting Queensland innovators and has travelled around the state,” she said.
“We will continue to work with Steve to support Queensland start-ups.”
Queensland’s new Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp said a global focus was an important attribute she would bring to the job.
“The key to having a successful start-up is to seek and solve very real problems! Challenge yourself to think and transact globally from the outset,” Ms Kemp said.
“One of my aims in taking up this role is guiding Queensland entrepreneurs in that approach and passing on my experience in running a company that spreads across the globe.
“We are all living in an incredible time with the convergence of exponential technologies: AI, blockchain, robotics, machine vision, nano-technologies, precision medicine all within an arm’s reach of every Queenslander.”
Mr Baxter said that the incoming Chief Entrepreneur’s global focus and international reputation provides a fantastic opportunity for Queensland businesses, particularly in the growing tech sector, to make connections in new markets and continue to think big.
“A key theme during my 12 months in the role has been to remind entrepreneurs to have a global focus from day one,” he said.
“We’re in a global marketplace and as I’ve travelled around the State, it’s been encouraging to see the wide variety of businesses that are performing on the international stage.
“Ms Kemp’s achievements put her at the cutting edge of innovative technology and this appointment reinforces that with a global mindset, Queensland entrepreneurs can take on the world.”
The Queensland Chief Entrepreneur’s office is in The Precinct, Queensland’s start-up hub in Fortitude Valley. Ms Kemp will serve in the position in a part-time capacity for the next 12 months.