Grant opportunity for Brisbane startups eager to ‘go global’

16 September 2019

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is encouraging entrepreneurs with thriving Brisbane-based businesses ready to scale into new markets to apply for the fourth round of the Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program.

“The program aids scalable Brisbane startups that have promising interstate and global growth prospects to enter those markets and compete at that level,” Cr Schrinner said.

“By doing so, we build their success as local ventures while ensuring the economic and reputational benefits flow back into the city, such as retaining top talent in Brisbane and increasing new employment prospects for residents.

“Brisbane has a wealth of phenomenal talent and while our entrepreneurs excel at what they do, the grant allows them to broaden their horizons through accessing leading professional programs and advice,” Cr Schrinner said.

“They also gain the resources to attend industry trade shows or meet face-to-face with potential partners, investors, customers, and other in-market contacts. This chance could even lead to closing a deal or finalising a business contract.”

The program is open to applicants from all sectors of Brisbane’s economy, however, the judging panel is particularly interested in startups in Brisbane’s globally competitive sectors such as property-tech, advanced manufacturing, agri-tech and food-tech.

Who’s benefited before

The Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program has built a track record of success stories, having awarded more than 30 startup businesses since 2018, with many entrepreneurs praising the program for helping to fuel their early-stage success.

Among the last round of successful entrepreneurs is Ben Hallett of Vygo, a company that creates peer-to-peer mentoring and tutoring marketplaces for universities and their students, and is now well on its way to globalisation.

“The program helped us to do a large US and UK trade and investment tour over April and May. During this tour we landed two large Australian contracts who we met for the first time at a US conference, scoped our international expansion and now discussing contracts with five clients in those markets,” Mr Hallett said.

“The chance to receive financial support is one obvious reason to apply for the program, but just as valuable is the doors it can open from meeting great mentors and spreading your brand.”

Also from round three of the program, is William Ferguson of Wylas Timing, a wireless swimming timing system that collects, records and displays timing information for swimming meets and carnivals.

Wylas timing has a growing number of Australian clients signed and are currently raising capital to further their expansion overseas after recently signing up Leeds University in the UK, edging out their competitors in this market.

Cameron Singer of Point Pod, a product which provides an innovative solution to benchtop power, and was a recipient in round three, said the funding allowed him to travel to Germany to meet with an international distributor.

“We’re now working with an international distributor to research which markets are best for us to enter and put a global distribution strategy in place,” Mr Singer said.

“The Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur program not only gave us encouragement that we are on the right track but also financially supported us for this important stage in the growth of our business.”

Round one recipient Katie Richards of Virtual Legal, has a business breaking down the cost and access barriers to obtaining legal advice through launching a self-service legal platform called Law on Earth. She said she was now ready to expand to the UK, after the grant allowed her to travel to the UK to meet with new investors and finalise her accreditation as a lawyer in the UK.

“We’re ready to expand to the UK after I became admitted as a solicitor over there earlier this year. We’re also speaking to several people in Asia and InvestHK about expansion into the Asian market with the Law on Earth platform, so there are a number of irons in the fire at the moment,” Ms Richards said.

Another round one recipient is Tim O’Brien of Raffletix, an online platform for schools, charities and sporting clubs to host raffles, who said the company received valuable support and validation as a result of being awarded the Global Entrepreneur grant.

RaffleTix used the funding to attend an international conference for SaaS. The knowledge gained from this conference led Tim O’Brien, to launch a range of innovative projects that have subsequently benefitted many hundreds of schools, charities, grassroots sporting clubs, and community groups.

Applications for round four of the Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program are open until 4 October.

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