Monday, 16 July 2018 10:48

Accelerator program focus on boosting Queensland tourism

Palm Cove Queensland Palm Cove Queensland

A tourism accelerator program run by Slingshot and backed by the Queensland Government’s $650 million Advance Queensland initiative has launched for the second consecutive year.

The Horizons accelerator was launched today with start-ups accepted into the program to receive bespoke training and resources, a support team of mentors, access to co-working space and $30,000 of initial seed investment with a possible further $100,000 of follow-on funding.  

Horizons incorporates a 12-week program commencing on 24 September and will have two cohorts running simultaneously – one in Brisbane and one in Cairns designed to better serve regional entrepreneurs.

The program will be led by Slingshot chief program director Ben Hutt, an entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience working with high-growth technology-based companies.

And the program has been sponsored again this year by travel technology company Amadeus, as part of the company’s travel start-up program, Amadeus Next.

Last year, Cairns Startup Reef Restoration Foundation, which manage innovative coral nurseries, participated in the Horizons accelerator and went on to receive substantial commercial investment.

Slingshot says without programs like the Horizons accelerator, start-ups are often confined to localised investment and support.

According to Hutt, every industry faces disruption and the tourism industry is no exception.  

“We’ve already seen the impact of start-ups like Reef Restoration work to preserve the future of the Great Barrier Reef and therefore visitors to this site. We are looking to invest in up and coming start-ups and scaling businesses that can move the needle.

“With the tourism industry employing nearly 10% of people in Queensland, there is a huge opportunity to cross pollinate a range of products and services, like accommodation, leisure, retail, recreation services, transport and hospitality, with cutting edge technological developments like AI, big data, AR / VR and frictionless payments, to drive commercial outcomes.”

Queensland’s Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones said Slingshot’s Horizons accelerator program gives start-ups mentoring and support to translate their ideas into new tourism products and services.  

“The Palaszczuk Government through Advance Queensland is committed to supporting start-ups to develop innovative new services to help drive the state’s economy.

“Regional start-ups such as the Reef Restoration Foundation are already harnessing innovation and creating jobs for Queensland’s future.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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