Smart state the top IT incubator

$26 million from start-ups

The Queensland Government's technology incubator i.lab has been voted 2006 Australian Incubator of the Year at the 2006 Australian Incubator of the Year awards ahead of 80 other national business incubators.

i.lab has also established the state's first life sciences incubator, the i.lab bio.incubator based at Brisbane Technology Park.

Anne-Marie Birkill, CEO of i.lab, said the incubator has at least 35 members at the moment and more than half of them are working on developing new software for the market.

Birkill said since they were established in 2000 the lab has been home to more than 70 technology start-up companies.

"We expect our return on Software development to be earlier than biotechnology or hardware because of our work across health in oncology management software and hotel management," Birkill said.

"We have a company that is currently developing software to map the radiation blooms across telecommunication towers within the next 12 months.

"In the past 12 months the facility has more than doubled its size and one of i.lab's key elements is its mentoring program, which partners these companies with experienced people with collectively hundreds of years of experience."

John Mickel, Queensland minister for state development, said i.lab was the first incubator fully funded by the Queensland government and has proved a good model for all other incubators.

Business Innovation and Incubation Australia (BIIA) president Bob Waite said the lab has supported companies that have raised a total of $26 million since 2004.

"In an environment where the federal government is stepping away from support for incubators across Australia, it is heartening to see the Queensland government not only recognizing the valuable role incubators play but continuing to fund vital organizations like i.lab," Waite said.

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