Written on the 16 February 2016 by Jenna Rathbone


BLUECHILLI, a startup accelerator empowering global entrepreneurs to do great things, is aiming to produce a portfolio of tech startups valued at $1 billion by 2020.

Founded by former Australian Navy weapons engineer Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin in 2012, BlueChilli is well on its way to achieving its vision after producing more than 70 Australian tech startups since inception, valued at more than $200 million.

BlueChilli helps budding entrepreneurs build businesses and assists a startup's path to launch, growth and scale.

BlueChilli launched with a single incubator in Sydney, with this location tripling in size over the past few years, and has added locations in New York, Melbourne and Brisbane.

BlueChilli startup evangelist Alan Jones (pictured) says that 2016 can expect to see strong growth for both BlueChilli and the broader tech sector, and he highlights three key areas that are gearing up for rapid transformation. 

The first, which he says is a problem which has plagued the technology industry in Australia and around the world for a long time, is the gender imbalance.

"I am confident that in 2016 Australia is going to make tremendous gains in addressing that gender imbalance, both in the people who work in the technology industry and the gender of the people starting new technology companies in Australia," he says.

"Ultimately a good gender balance is important to my industry and other industries because if you are looking for the best talent, 50 per cent of it is going to be female. 

"We have to have an even gender balance because there is nothing about a woman that makes her less capable of being an entrepreneur compared to a man - nothing at all."

Secondly, Jones says the way local, state and federal governments engage with the technology industry and support the industry is and will continue to change.

Jones says with the help of all three levels of government, investment in technology and startups will help strengthen the nation's economy.

"We at BlueChilli are very excited about the rapid progress and the attitude of particularly the federal government towards change and support for the tech industry," says Jones.

"The most promising thing we have seen come out of the current federal government's approach to innovation and change is that they are prepared to take risks, and to accept that mistakes will be made when you are moving fast and trying new things.

"This should not be a blame game - it should be about 'let's collaborate again and see if we can improve that rapidly' so that we end up with the world's best practice and supporting innovative industries."

Lastly, Jones says 2016 is going to be the year that he doesn't have to explain to his relatives what he actually does for a living. 

"I think we are going to see tech startup people join the mainstream. It is going to be a recognised career path and that will lead to many, many smarter, talented, motivated people joining our industry and making a big difference," he says.

BlueChilli recently partnered with CCIQ to launch Collaborate, a unique co-working environment designed to build businesses focused on solving the problems of business.

Located in Spring Hill, Brisbane, the incubator offers free-of-charge residency, access to programs, resources, mentors and opportunities to grow business, entrepreneurs and thinkers.

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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