Startups not jazzed about either side in Queensland election

River City Labs poll shows 83 per cent dissatisfied with state government support for entrepreneurs

Startups have slammed the entrepreneurship policies of the Queensland government ahead of the state election on 31 January.

However, they were not particular fond of the opposition, either.

River City Labs, a startup co-working space in Brisbane, earlier this month polled 200 entrepreneurs, investors and others in the local startup scene and found 83 per cent dissatisfied with the government’s support of the startup ecosystem.

More than one half of those surveyed rated the Liberal National Party government’s efforts as “poor” or “very poor”. Only 8 per cent rated the government as “good” or “very good.”

Labor did not fare much better. Fewer than one in five of those surveyed rated the opposition’s startup policy as “good” or “very good”.

More than half (57 per cent) of the surveyed startup scenesters want the government to launch financial and regulatory incentives to attract more startups to Brisbane.

About half baked the introduction of grants for new Queensland tech startups, while 42.8 per cent sought a Queensland startup precinct in Brisbane to bring the ecosystem closer together.

Also, 38.3 percent sought a stronger focus on technology education in school curriculum and 36.8 per cent sought incentives for the state’s businesses and government bodies to work with startups.

“It’s not just about ramping up investment and spending government funds to encourage new startups, although that is part of it,” said River City Labs founder, Steve Baxter.

“What the startup scene wants is a Government committed to doing things smarter, faster and more agile – and bringing our policy making into the 21st century.

“Startup and technology are not exactly simple areas to understand, and traditionally Australian politicians have struggled to get their heads around where they fit in to the government agenda. In recent years we have seen some market improvement steps, but based on our straw poll it appears the report card says ‘more effort required’.”

Baxter said he remains optimistic about Queensland’s potential as a startup hub.

“Governments the world over are investing time, energy and resources to understand and support technology startups,” he said.

“They have become accepted as key drivers of employment opportunities and economic growth. Ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurship are not finite resources, and with a little elbow grease and a lot of government support, I truly believe Queensland has the potential to be a powerhouse for global innovation.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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