Recognition for young leaders and entrepreneurs

The 40 Under 40 Awards will celebrate the contribution of young leaders to the state’s economy, from those in emerging industries to regional innovators, says awards judge Steve Greenwood.

Jun 09, 2023, updated Jun 20, 2023
Robotics is an emerging industry in Queensland (Photo: Brookings Institute)

Robotics is an emerging industry in Queensland (Photo: Brookings Institute)

Queensland Futures Institute CEO Steve Greenwood is a judge for the inaugural 40 Under 40 Awards, which will recognise 40 of the state’s young leaders and entrepreneurs at a gala dinner next month.

With nominations closing on June 16, Greenwood said he is excited by the awards highlighting innovation and achievement in business.

“The awards offer the opportunity to promote some of the young leaders, including thought leaders, in a wide range of sectors important to Queensland’s growth,” he said.

QFI champions faster economic and social growth through collaborative and apolitical public policy reform, with its members coming from a broad spectrum of academic, business, community and social services, government, industry and research organisations.

Greenwood hopes the 40 Under 40 Awards will bring attention to all contributors to the state’s growing economy, particularly those sectors operating outside of the major cities.

“South East Queensland is focused on managing growth [with] the Olympics focusing a lot of the near-term activity,’ he said.

“But some of the thinking around ‘where to from here?’ in terms of energy supply and critical minerals – that’s where, I think, we’re seeing some new ideas.

“I’m really interested to see what comes out of our regions, and to see their unique ideas and solutions [that can contribute] to growing the state.”

He said the 40 Under 40 Awards provide an “important and exciting” opportunity to increase knowledge around emerging industries and technologies to help make them better understood.

From the state’s emerging sectors, he hoped to see tech, biohealth and bioenergy step forward and be represented.

“[The QFI’s] goal is to do what we can to stimulate thinking around the future of the state,” he said.

“It’s always important to celebrate and acknowledge these new ideas [because] new thinking is where the future growth of the state is going to come from.”

The think tank recently launched Building Queensland’s Future Together: Harnessing New Growth In Financial Services, reporting on the role of the state’s financial services sector in catalysing the green economy.

Greenwood said QFI has a vision for the state to become the “green finance hub for the Asia Pacific region” with the green economy offering “big opportunities”.

“We have a lot of natural capital assets, and there are new opportunities to invest in those,” he said.

“In addition to that, we have a large number of renewable energy projects on the cards, and they’re going to require a huge amount of financing.”

Through the QFI’s forums, councils and other engagements, he said the body encouraged newer and younger voices, and a diversity of opinions from its membership, “big and small”.

Beyond the opportunity for building awareness for the work of individuals and their companies, Greenwood said there was another important reason to nominate for this year’s awards.

“It’s very unusual for someone to actually progress an idea or action by themselves,” he said.

“They always need some form of support or joint assistance – be that financial, through other input into decision making, or be through investors – and these awards are an opportunity to promote [the nominee’s] activity.”

The 40 Under 40 Awards are presented by InQueensland and The Weekend Editions.

The awards will acknowledge this year’s alumni of 40 of the state’s brightest, including the winners of the 11 category awards.

Nominations and self-nominations close June 16.

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