(Media Release from the Hon Simon Finn MP, Minister for Government Services, Building Industry and ICT)

The State Government has thrown its support behind a new Innovation Outreach Program to be established in Brisbane by Microsoft, in what’s believed to be an Australia first.

Information and Communication Technology Minister Simon Finn said the new Program would receive State Government support through the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).

Mr Finn said the Program would serve as a high-tech hub, providing both start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises with business expertise, advice and support.

“Microsoft is investing $4 million over three years to create this Program, and that’s a huge vote of confidence in Queensland’s growing ICT industry,” he said.

“It means increased access to international expertise and business networks for local ICT businesses and specialised support to help them reap the benefits of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

“This is also great news for the Queensland economy because it will create up to 200 smart jobs and generate more investment and economic growth.”

Mr Finn said DEEDI would support the project by providing business innovation services and advice to Innovation Lab firms.

“DEEDI will also provide access to Queensland Government services for start-up and early stage firms and encourage participation in ICT industry events and networking,” he said.

Microsoft State Director Patrick Pathinathan welcomed the State Government support.

“This is great news for Queensland’s ICT industry, and Microsoft looks forward to working with the State Government on this project,” he said.

“The Innovation Lab will encourage innovation and economic activity, and it will help local businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the NBN.”

Mr Finn said it was an exciting time for Queensland’s ICT industry, with the release this week of the Federal Government’s digital economy blueprint and the rollout of the NBN.

“Queensland supports the Federal Government’s National Digital Economy Strategy, which aims to ensure Australia becomes a world-leading digital economy by 2020,” he said.

“The NBN is crucial to realising this vision and it will help to unlock the full potential of the digital economy through e-commerce and smart applications such as telemedicine, remote security of the home, energy monitoring and teleworking.”