Gladstone could learn from Silicon Valley's entrepreneurs
"A LIFE-changing experience," is how Luis Arroyo, president of Start-up Gladstone, described his recent fact-finding mission to the United States.
The overseas study tour, funded through an Advance Queensland grant, saw him visit Silicon Valley and Boulder, Colorado, in a bid to gain new insights into entrepreneurship.
"Australians in general terms ... we are very good at doing things, at executing things, at providing solutions, but we are not story tellers ... we are very poor at sharing," Mr Arroyo said.
The experience has convinced him Gladstone could become a hotspot for entrepreneurs.
"I was positive before going over (but) now I am one thousand per cent sure it will happen for Gladstone," he said.
In Boulder, Mr Arroyo witnessed co-working spaces, which are "the future ... where organisations and freelancers (can) come together and work on specific projects".
Boulder is the US city with the highest rate of investment attraction per capita.
"What that means is there's a very thriving community and (it's) intentionally designed tobe that way," Mr Arroyo said.
During his time in the US, Mr Arroyo visited companies setting the global standard for so-called acceleration programs.
Acceleration programs are exactly that, programs which help entrepreneurs move from one stage to another very quickly "so they can actually make money in a global environment".
He said we have a lot to learn from America's start-up culture.
"For too long we've been protected by government," he said.
"Always entrepreneurs, at some point of the journey, always we expect the government to do something for us.
"(But) In Boulder and San Francisco it's the opposite, they don't want the government to be involved whatsoever.
"Get out of my way - if you don't add value to my journey, get out of my way.
"That (mentality) creates a stronger mindset and beliefs."
Mr Arroyo said in America, collaborative partnerships are also done better.
"Everyone gives away," he said.
"This is the total opposite of the mindset (here).
"What they (entrepreneurs) don't realise (here is) when you share, more people come to the market.
"The market expands, competition provides a pathway to improved market conditions."
Mr Arroyo said story telling from successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs was also important, "so we can actually collectively learn from both sides of the equation".
If he can garner support for the ideas he has brought back, his overseas experience has the potential to be life-changing for others too.