The Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur (OQCE) is led by the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and is an Australian first. It plays a vital role in building and promoting the importance and contribution of entrepreneurship and investment in Queensland.
- support the development of Queensland’s startup ecosystem by working with incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces
- connect with regional and remote Queensland to encourage and foster statewide entrepreneurship
- showcase Queensland startup and entrepreneurial talent to local, national and international audiences
- stimulate and attract local, national and international investment and venture capital to Queensland
- support local entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses across the state by connecting them with the right opportunities, people, places, and spaces to help them grow, scale, and create jobs.
- The Queensland Chief Entrepreneur holds this role for 12 months.
Steve Baxter is the current Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, taking over the role in October 2017 from Mark Sowerby who held the position 2016–17.
You can follow the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur on Twitter or for more information visit the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur website.
Steve is a well-known investor, tech founder and ‘Shark Tank’ judge.
A proud Queenslander, born in the remote town of Cloncurry and raised in Emerald in the state’s central highlands, Steve left school at 15 and joined the Army, enlisting in its apprenticeship program. There, he became a technician working in the field of electronics, telecoms and guided weapon systems.
In 1994, at the age of 23, Steve put his life savings of $11,000 on the line to launch his first startup, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home. Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet under the stewardship of its founding Director and former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
In 2001, Steve teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second startup, PIPE Networks, a provider of wholesale telecoms infrastructure that was listed on the ASX in 2005. Eight years later they sold it to the TPG Group for $373 million. Steve spent a year working with Google in California in 2008, leading a project to deliver high-speed telecommunications systems across North America.
Since 2010 he has become a major early stage investor in startups leading to the founding of Brisbane tech startup hub River City Labs, foundered and underwrote the Startup Catalyst and River Pitch programs; he has been on the listed boards of Vocus Telecoms, Indoor Skydive Australia Group and OtherLevels as well as being on the board of Commercialisation Australia.
Steve has been heavily involved in the early days or founding of numerous industry groups and forums such as the South Australian Internet Association, South Australian Internet Exchange, Australian Domain Name Authority, AuDA, INTIAA, IIA, AusBone and AusNOG.
Steve has been a 'Shark' on Channel 10's Shark Tank program for the past three seasons.
In 2006, Steve received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Northern Region. In 2016, Steve received the Pearcey Medal for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of distinguished lifetime achievement and contribution to the development and growth of the Information and Communications Technology Industry.
Steve is married and the proud father of a 4-year-old daughter as well as twin baby girls and is a keen private pilot and recreational fisherman.