27th July 2021

Pursuing entrepreneurial initiatives at university and beyond have been given extra support with the appointment of QUT Professor Rowena Barrett  Pro Vice-Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) to a new state-based advisory council.

Professor Barrett joins Aaron Birkby, one of the QUT Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurs in Residence, Monica Bradley, Purposeful Capital founder and member of QUT Council and Professor Bronwyn Harch, UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-president (Research and Innovation) to make up the first four appointments to Innovation Advisory Council.

Their roles will be to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Queensland, supporting businesses and new investment in innovative ideas as the global economy slowly recovers from COVID-19 and state and international borders are re-opened.

Together with the Queensland chief entrepreneur, Wayne Gerard CEO and co-founder of tech firm RedEye, who was named in the role this month, the revamped support for would-be entrepreneurs is team orientated.

The team will regularly ask ‘how can we help’ with a focus on the principals of inclusion, openness, impact, and a long-term view to build economic prosperity.

“Queensland is the most welcoming and inclusive ecosystem I’ve seen anywhere!” Mr Gerard said of his appointment. “That’s important because it encourages and enables anyone with a good idea to have a go.”

Professor Barrett, who leads QUT Entrepreneurship, said the role of the Innovation Advisory Council is to support the Chief Entrepreneur to amplify Queenslanders’ innovation and entrepreneurial endeavours.

Professor Barrett’s passion for developing entrepreneurial talent sees her role on the council to “champion education and learning”.

“By combining our expertise and diverse strengths, we are in a strong position to help maximise start-ups to scale up to enable new founders to deliver on their potential,” Professor Barrett said.

“This is what also happens at QUT where entrepreneurship is becoming widespread within and across the curriculum.

“The QUT Entrepreneurship team deliver programs and events to mentor and empower individuals whether students, staff or alumni to realise their entrepreneurial opportunities.

“Sitting in the university’s Education Portfolio, they work across discipline boundaries because an entrepreneurial mindset and the tools for ideating, testing and iterating are critical whether someone wants to start their own business or work in someone else’s.”

The QUT Entrepreneurship team deliver this learning based on research, evidence, and experience.

Mr Birkby, as a member of the Council and QUT’s Entrepreneur in Residence brings 20 years of business experience in the start-up sphere and has developed award-winning software for industries including tourism, hospitality, and mining.

He leads QUT Entrepreneurship’s three-day Ignite program, designed to help emerging entrepreneurs validate their ideas to form new ventures.

He has also works with QUT students like the third-year mechatronics students to develop their ideas into products.

“QUT can be seen as a ‘home’ for innovators and emerging entrepreneurs with the university’s entrepreneurship education, our Budding Entrepreneur scholarships and best practice,” Professor Barrett said.

Through the Innovation Advisory Council, Professor Barrett is looking forward to working with other educators to ensure principals of efficient and “disciplined” entrepreneurship are taught widely and inclusively.

Council members are appointed to the voluntary role for two years and they do not receive a salary.

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