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Reflections on year one as Queensland Chief Entrepreneur

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Wow. This year has been EPIC.

Last year, when I was tapped on the shoulder and asked to be Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, I was incredibly honoured to step into such a role. I remember thinking that it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities which I could use to propel innovation and entrepreneurship to the top of the agenda in Queensland. 

It’s been one wild year. Hectic, exciting, busy, energising… but the best part has been connecting with hundreds, if not thousands, of innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs from right around the state. I’ve met those starting out, scaling up and the many who are standing and staying up. Hearing your stories, listening to your challenges, discovering your products, companies, inventions, innovations, ideas, concepts and musings – what can I say except that it’s been my great honour to travel this path with you. 

I’m really proud of the work the Office and I have done in 2019 and I have to pause to say a big thank you to Director (aka the Captain) Craig O’Kane MBE and the entire team in OQCE (Anne, Blair, Emily, Lowana) who are always on message, running with whatever I throw at them (and I do love to throw curve balls). Some of the highlights this year:

  • Launch of CE Labs with Correo and Business Models Inc
  • Climate Hack when Al Gore was in Brisbane
  • QODE
  • Tackling systems leadership as a member of the Better Regulation Taskforce
  • London Tech Week with Female Founders
  • Three rounds of Adopt-a-Chief and the chance to spend time with She Maps, Sobah and Album Registry
  • Open-innovating with IT juggernaut SAP
  • The epic Building Innovation in the Regions Program, travelling the state connecting with regional entrepreneurs… watch this space for #ConnectedInnovation in 2020
  • Hosting a visit with delegates from the World Economic Forum to investigate advanced manufacturing and the circular economy across Queensland
  • Creating an impact investment scrum
  • Actively engaged with angel investors around the state as well as connecting angels and startups on pathways towards success
  • Events, events, events! This year we’ve networked, brought together startups with angel investors, hosted breakfasts with founders, educated and informed, fed our neighbours with the popular #Midweek Melt at The Precinct, and even taken over Brunswick St Mall with some truly inspiring soapbox pitches

Phew.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have had my term as Chief extended to the end of 2020. So that means an even deeper dive this coming year to build on the work that we have already begun. We’ve got some things planned, and ideas in the petri dish gestating… it’s an exciting time to be on the cusp of not just a new year, but a whole new decade. We should all be consciously proud of our collective commitment to building an engaged culture of innovation. But what’s next?

The end of the year is often a time to connect with loved ones, reflect on the year that was and think about what lies ahead. My focus as Chief next year is to champion the doers, foster creativity, and encourage everyone – because we all have the ability to innovate – to make the leap, take the chance and actively pursue curiosity, creativity, purpose and impact. Come with me and let’s find even better ways of innovating in 2020.

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