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Thriving US startups ready to relocate to our region

TWO startups from thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems in the United States will relocate to the Sunshine Coast under the State Government's $8 million Hot DesQ program.

Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said the two US startups - Ag for Hire from California and Toured from Seattle - would be based at Sunshine Coast startup organisations and help the local ecosystem.

"The founders from both of these startups will be relocating, which will provide a unique opportunity for the local startup community on the Sunshine Coast to get that all-important insight into how to grow a successful business,” Ms Enoch said

Ag for Hire, to be based at the Innovation Centre at Sippy Downs, has developed a labour recruitment application that connects farmers with their seasonal and speciality workforce.

The application also allows farm workers to advertise their skill sets, work experience, search work requests and negotiate wages.

Toured has developed a web platform where people can list, discover and book unique adventure activities and excursions online.

The host organisation, Spark Bureau, will provide a perfect fit for its expansion into the local tourism market and base into the Asia Pacific market.

"These startups have extensive entrepreneurial experience and business connections and will be of huge benefit to our local entrepreneurs on the Sunshine Coast,” Ms Enoch said.

Ms Enoch said the Hot DesQ program was an Australia first, designed to attract international and interstate startups to locate to Queensland for at least six months by offering up to $100,000 for them to pursue business opportunities and help build a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in Queensland.

"Round One of Hot DesQ will see 25 recipients move to Queensland, and be based from Cairns to the Coast,” Ms Enoch said.

Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said the program had been developed following consultation with the local startup industry, which identified attracting international and interstate entrepreneurial expertise as critical to accelerating the growth of a startup ecosystem in Queensland.

"We're attracting some of the best and brightest from around the world. They are bringing this huge wealth of expertise, experience and knowledge in running successful startups to Queensland, which will be of enormous benefit to our local budding entrepreneurs,” Mr Sowerby said.

"The strategic thinking behind the Hot DesQ program is that these overseas and interstate entrepreneurs can invigorate an entrepreneurial culture in Queensland by mentoring and guiding our local startups to grow and mature and to form those all-important global connections.”

Spark Bureau co-founder and CEO Zach Johnson said the Coast was rapidly emerging as a regional hub of innovation and startup activity in Queensland, with multiple game-changer projects emerging simultaneously and continuing over the next decade and beyond.

"In particular, significant opportunities exist across seven high-value industries including food and agribusiness and tourism and leisure,” Mr Johnson said.

"The Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast and Spark Bureau embody broad and deep collaboration across the Coast and have solid reputations nationally.

"Both organisations are pleased to play a meaningful role in attracting innovative startups to Queensland and supporting the broader statewide innovation ecosystem.”

Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast's Mark Paddenburg said a number of Coast-born startups were already looking to global markets and the location was a real drawcard for startups looking to relocate.

"The Sunshine Coast has a lot to offer startups - excellent programs, events, facilities, university interns, research and development connections, access to capital and of course, a great lifestyle,” Mr Paddenburg said.

For the full list of Hot DesQ recipients, see

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