AFTER ITS SUCCESS in 2017, the Advance Queensland Young Starters’ Competition is returning with up to $45,000 worth of prizes for Queenslanders aged 15-24 who want to take their business ideas to the next level.

The Young Starters’ competition is aimed at helping Queensland’s young entrepreneurs to build business skills and develop their startup ideas to become investor-ready. 

“Following on from the success of last year’s competition, we anticipate an increase in applicants both in Brisbane and regional Queensland,” River City Labs organiser and operations manager Tarryn Thiele said.

“We’re excited to also have on board Scott Millar, finalist from 2017 Young Starters Competition, to provide guidance to entrepreneurs starting in this field,” Ms Thiele said.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to see entrepreneurship as a career pathway, develop and pitch ideas to investors and be a part of Queensland’s contribution to supporting youth in business.

The competition was officially launched on April 6 at River City Labs’ Fortitude Valley headquarters in an evening of celebrating ‘young starters’.

River City Labs welcomed more than 100 attendees as they heard stories from some of Queensland’s young entrepreneurs.

Among the presenters were Bop Industries founder Scott Millar, who told his story and acted as master of ceremonies for the Let’s Celebrate Young Starters’ event; the GenIn challenge project manager, Megan Short; Indooroopilly State High School deputy principal Timothy Barraud; AntiOrdinary founder Rob Joseph; Pegasus App founder Rosanna Relton; and TechFlow co-founder Yash Dutt.

Young Starters 2017 winner Grant Sampson said he gained valuable experience from entering the competition.

“Before the Young Starters Competition in 2017, I had the very limited knowledge and scope of what I had to do to take my startup to the next level,” Mr Sampson said.

“Over the course of the weekend, I was able to receive more feedback, knowledge and skills than I had already gathered through previous courses. This didn’t stop there. The support I have received since the competition has helped me to grow and bring my idea to a reality. I now have a small team helping me finish my app, BragTag.

“I would highly recommend to everyone with either a small idea or a progressing startup to enter as, no matter what stage your idea is at, you will gain so much knowledge and many business skills.”

Applicants are required to progress through a series of stages throughout the competition, including submission of pitch videos and selected to attend a pitch bootcamp. Ten teams will then be chosen to present a live pitch at the Young Starters Competition Pitch Breakfast held on July 23, and the winners will be announced.

The winners will share in prizes including an entrepreneurial skills program for a school, up to $5,000 for a startup; co-working space for a startup, and participation in the Startup Catalyst Youth Mission.

Applications for the Young Starters’ Competition are open until May 31 at 4pm.

“River City Labs fosters the growth of startup companies wanting to solve big problems,” Mr Thiele said. “We provide resources to empower, support and connect entrepreneurs. Central to everything we do is a focus on collaboration and connection.”

“Since 2012 more than 460 entrepreneurs have called River City Labs home. Through our events program we have welcomed more than 16,000 guests into our community by hosting over 500 events aimed at supporting founders on their entrepreneurship journey.”

River City Labs powers a range of programs, events and engagement opportunities, enabling its corporate partners to innovate differently and embed their teams within the startup community.


RIVER CITY LABS is now seeking submissions for the next RiverPitch event on May 17 – where investment-ready ‘tech entrepreneurs’ pitch to a pre-screened selection of Australia’s leading investors.

A River City Labs CEO Peta Ellis spokesperson said applications would remain open until April 15 for the next RiverPitch being staged at the Royal International Convention Centre at Bowen Hills, Brisbane. 

Ms Ellis said it was the biggest venue yet “and a sign of how the event has grown since its first edition in November 2012”.

RiverPitch seeks to reconceptualise how investors and members of the startup mobile-web-internet community might meet and form mutually beneficial relationships. RiverPitch differentiates itself from Angel Investment groups by having no formal requirements for how investment may occur.

As River City Labs founder and Ten’s Shark Tank investor Steve Baxter is fond of saying, RiverPitch exists “to bring two parties together in a social setting to potentially have a million-dollar conversation”.

Applicants are asked to submit a short form and 90-second video via the F6S online platform. Submissions are reviewed by a committee of RiverPitch members, who will invite the top 10-15 applicants for an interview at River CityLabs the following week. Up to six finalists will then be selected, who will attend a series of practice sessions in the lead-up to the May 17 event.

Ms Ellis said RiverPitch was the next phase in River City Labs’ goal of placing Brisbane at the forefront of a technology boom in Australia. Trading off River City Labs’ nationally recognised brand-name in the start-up sector, and with sponsorship from McCullough Robertson and Morgans, RiverPitch’s goal is no less grand than to “change the way investing is done in Brisbane.”

Past alumni of RiverPitch include Audeara, the ‘world’s first full fidelity headphones, designed by doctors and engineers’ which has garnered rave reviews on Boss Hunting and the Australian Financial Review; and SiteSee, which uses drone footage and machine learning to map, manage and analyse critical infrastructure projects.

Selected applicants will pitch at Startup Invest which is being staged in conjunction with the Myriad Festival – now Brisbane’s biggest annual startup festival.

RiverPitch applications close on April 15.

Startups can apply through the F6s portal:


River City Labs has fostered the growth of startup companies wanting to solve big problems since 2012 in Brisbane. It provides resources to empower, support and connect entrepreneurs.

“Central to everything we do is a focus on collaboration and connection,” CEO Peta Ellis said. “Since 2012 over 460 entrepreneurs have called RCL home. Through our events program we have welcomed more than 16,000 guests into our community by hosting over 500 events aimed at supporting founders on their entrepreneurship journey.

River City Labs powers a range of programs, events and engagement opportunities, enabling corporate partners to innovate differently and embed their teams within the start-up community. Recent partnerships in the financial technology sphere include sponsorship and collaborations with BOQ and CUA.



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