First published 2 September 2021

Are you a Year 12 student destined for life as an entrepreneur? QUT is doubling its number of Budding Entrepreneur Scholarships on offer for 2022, thanks to a group of Queensland entrepreneurs and companies who are backing the next generation of talent.

QUT introduced the new scholarship program this year, with the inaugural cohort of four students studying degrees including creative industries, business and engineering, and pursing passions such as robotics, fashion and writing. They each received a $24,000 scholarship, paid over three years and funded by the university.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Entrepreneurship), Professor Rowena Barrett, said four donors had now come on board to fund additional scholarships to support areas close to their hearts and double the program for 2022.

Applications for the eight Budding Entrepreneur Scholarships for 2022 have now opened online and will close on November 5.  Students completing Year 12 this year, or who completed Year 12 last year, are eligible.


2021 Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship recipients Sarah Eisenmenger, Jessica Carlile and Elise Berry (pictured with Professor Rowena Barrett, second from right) started in Semester 1, and fellow scholar Coby Lee Davis started in Semester 2.

In addition to four scholarships funded by QUT, the four new donor-funded scholarships are:

- John Puttick Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship, for a student from a background under-represented in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

- John Stainton Productions Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship, for a student who will strengthen the talent base of emerging creative professionals.

- Budding Female Entrepreneur Scholarship, for a female student with entrepreneurial goals.

- Skedulo Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship, for a student from a background under-represented in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, who is also aligned to Skedulo's core values of Caring First, Fearless Together, Boldly Innovative, Customer Driven and No Shenanigans.

“We now have eight scholarships to offer to students who have a passion for entrepreneurship,” Professor Barrett said.

“And what we mean by entrepreneurship is wide – it’s the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources you currently control.  This can mean running a business, making and selling something, organising a group to do something for others like dance performances or soccer in the park … the possibilities for entrepreneurial action are endless.

“These scholarships are aimed at Year 12 graduates who will be first-year QUT students in 2022.

“High school students sometimes think it’s a binary choice – you go to university or you go into the world and continue to grow your entrepreneurial venture. But you can do both.  We’ll help you grow and develop your entrepreneurial skills and ideas while you study for your degree.”

Tech startup Skedulo – which was founded by QUT business graduate Matt Fairhurst and QUT IT graduate James Davies – is one of the companies backing the scholarships, and has plenty of runs on the board when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Matt Fairhurst.

Dubbed ‘the future of work’, Skedulo has developed a ‘Deskless Productivity Cloud’ that enables businesses to keep track of off-site workforces via an app that lets mobile field workers know where they should be and when, and submit paperwork online.

The startup’s technology has already been used by several governments during the global COVID-19 pandemic to help coordinate vaccine rollouts and to create scheduling solutions for testing.

Mr Fairhurst, who is Skedulo’s CEO and splits his time between Brisbane and San Francisco, said they hoped the Skedulo scholarship would go to someone who identified with an under-represented group.

Marie Mortimer is another QUT business graduate giving back through the scholarships.  She is the managing director and founder of – a Brisbane-based, app-driven online lender.

“I’m a QUT graduate from nearly 20 years ago and there wasn’t a big focus on entrepreneurship back then,” Ms Mortimer said.

“I’m so excited with the direction that the university has gone in … I really think the next generation of students at university right now are going to be exceptional people who will change the world.

Marie Mortimer.

“We wanted to ensure that our scholarship benefits a young female who is a budding entrepreneur, as we need more female founders in this world.”

Ms Mortimer challenged other entrepreneurs to also back the program.

“If you are an entrepreneur that has had success, why wouldn’t you want to support the next generation?” she asked.

“I think a lot of local entrepreneurs would like to prove how many great companies are born in Queensland. Scholarships like these help facilitate that growth. It’s fantastic to see our local university leading the way nationally.”

Scholarship donor John Stainton is an internationally known director and producer who helped bring Steve Irwin to the world through his Crocodile Hunter television shows and movies.

The John Stainton Productions Budding Entrepreneur Scholarship is specifically aimed at strengthening the talent base of QUT’s emerging creative professionals.

“Throughout my career in television and movie production I have been very fortunate in getting good advice and assistance from key people in the industry, which helped realise all my ambitions and dreams,” Mr Stainton said.

“Now, in turn, I would like to pass on any assistance I can give to a budding entrepreneur to help them realise their own dreams and passion.”

Scholarship donor Dr John Puttick is the founder and former chairman of Global Banking and Securities Transactions (GBST), and a former QUT Council member who also holds a QUT honorary doctorate.

“Entrepreneurship is a very human core capability within us all, the basic need to survive and thrive,” he said.

“This university-wide entrepreneurship program helps distinguish QUT as the university for the real world.  These scholarships encourage all students to give it go - try/fail, try/fail, try/succeed.”

The 2022 QUT Budding Entrepreneur Scholarships are open to aspirational students who are completing Year 12 in 2021 – or completed Year 12 in 2020 – and who select a QUT course as their first preference for next year. 

They can apply to study any discipline but must also be willing to work with a mentor and engage in an array of entrepreneurial learning to help take their goals to the next level.

Applications are now open online and close on November 5.

QUT Media contacts:
- Mechelle McMahon,
- Rose Trapnell, or 0407 585 901

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