Qld Chief Entrepreneur says networking is key for business

18 September 2018

Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, Steve Baxter, shared his personal and career journey with UQ business, economics and law students at The Edge Leadership Series on 4 September.

Mr Baxter, who is a prominent Australian investor, tech founder and Shark Tank judge, spoke of starting his career in the Australian Army at 15 years of age.

During this time, he would take books on training exercises to study for his QTAC exam so he could enrol and study at university.

Mr Baxter said he stumbled on the idea for his first start-up business, SE Net, while making personal computers in his spare room.

“I worked out you could plug a whole bunch of modems into the back of a computer and then into some phone lines, and people would pay you to dial in and use that service.

“When it came to marketing SE Net, I actually left flyers and brochures at computer shops – that’s how we did social media back in 1995.”

Steve Baxter

Steve Baxter speaks to UQ students at The Edge Leadership event.

When speaking about what lead to the creation of his investment company Transition Level Investments, Mr Baxter shared his reasoning with complete honesty.

“I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur – I just wanted to be an investor to make my mark,” he said.

“I had been an entrepreneur twice and had two successes – and that’s unusual – so I made the decision that I wanted to invest in people and make my mark that way.”

It was through this process that Steve identified that the only support available for start-ups in Brisbane was UQ’s ilab, so he founded River City Labs to provide resources to empower, support and connect entrepreneurs through their start-up journey.

To conclude, Mr Baxter shared what he believes to be the best advice for budding entrepreneurs.

“What I think is a real secret sauce in business is networking,” he said.

“When you come to university you have access to a large networking campus and you should treat it as such.

“One thing you really should take out of being at university is the contacts that you make, because networking for entrepreneurs is a vital skill and one of your best opportunities.”

The Edge Student Leadership Series connects BEL Faculty students with leaders from a wide range of industries. Guest speakers are invited to share their stories, giving students valuable first-hand insight into how business leaders get to the top of their game and overcome challenges.

View the photo gallery.

The Edge Leadership Series 3