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Brisbane City Council renews grant program for young entrepreneurs

Thursday, 27 February 2014 | By Rose Powell

Brisbane City Council will be opening up applications for the second intake of its Budding Entrepreneurs Program after a successful pilot program.


Entrepreneurs who are younger than 30 can apply for up to $5000 to attend events, access training or professional advice or support trade missions.


Over 100 entrepreneurs applied to be part of the first cohort. Twelve start-ups received funding and access to the program.


Digital Brisbane’s chief digital officer Kieran O’Hea told StartupSmart they were running the program with minimal changes to see how it fares before reviewing it.


“We’re expecting to get a fair share of proposals for start-ups in areas such as games and apps and that’s great. But we’re also interested in backing people who have great ideas but not necessarily the tech or business background to know how to make them happen,” O’Hea says.


The initiative is part of a wider strategy to boost the number of digital start-ups in Brisbane.


Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said in the first batch of entrepreneurs had vastly exceeded his expectations.


“Start-up companies, which have relatively low entry costs, have the potential to reach global markets and bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Brisbane economy,” Quirk said in a statement.


Alex Ghiculescu was part of the first intake as a co-founder of Tanda, a cloud-based rostering and reporting system for small businesses.


He told StartupSmart the program was the encouragement and cash infusion he and his three co-founders needed to keep pursuing their start-up dreams.


“We had gone to market about a year before but had a very slow start. We’d been struggling on while finishing up at uni but we were figuring out if we should keep trying,” Ghiculescu says.


He says the most useful aspect of the program was the network recipients can access and getting to work with the other grant recipients.


“We didn’t even know what the word ‘start-up’ meant and had no exposure to the community. But we’ve discovered while it [the Brisbane start-up community] is not the biggest scene in the world, you can definitely feel the enthusiasm as we start trying to grow as a city and become a serious contender,” Ghiculescu says.


Start-ups will be able to apply via the Digital Brisbane website from March 1.