QLD’s Chief entrepreneur and Shark Tank favourite, Steve Baxter spoke at the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce’s Better Business Breakfast last Friday alongside a panel of leading QLD business people.
The Chamber’s tri-annual breakfast event featured an insightful and interactive panel discussion with owner of Helimods Will Shrapnel, who won Telstra’s QLD Business of the year, QLD’s first Small Business Champion Maree Adshead and co-founder of Chimu Adventures, Chad Carey.
Moderated by author, consultant and 2018’s Keynote Speaker of the Year, Amanda Stevens, the panel broached questions pertaining to emerging trends for small business, the importance of young people in business, concepts around upscaling and talent attraction to the Sunshine Coast as well as a few quips about Steve’s on-air portrayal.
“If you think I’m rude on the Shark Tank, I sometimes do it for a reason because entrepreneurs don’t need you to blink at them, they need a figurate slap in the face saying you’re going broke.” Steve told the crowd of 430.
Australian businesses beware, ‘the rest of the world’s coming to eat your lunch’.
This frank snapshot of the Australian business environment is exactly what people have come to expect from the Shark Tanks often gruff and to-the-point panellist, Steve Baxter.
“I’ve got a pretty down view on the way that we do business in Australia in general,” Steve told the crowd.
“When we started Pipe networks, we probably spent a couple hundred thousand dollars in capital just setting up our I.T, now per staff member that’s 50 or 60 dollars a month.”
“It’s never been so inexpensive to start a business, and that’s actually the biggest risk because we used to have an advantage in Australia that things were expensive because they were just as expensive here as they were in Chile, or in Israel or somewhere else – now they’re not.”
“The rest of the world has the same level playing ground as us, and that’s bad, so we have to get smarter about the way that we are doing things.”
One area that Steve is passionately vocal in is gaining access to the five thousand km route of spare and unused fibre optic cable in QLD that has been ‘lying dormant for ten years doing nothing’.
“My plan is to take that from them (state government owned corporations), because we own it not them, and build a network on it.”
“We are going to make it that cheap to communicate from regional QLD back to Brisbane it will shake the pillars of hell.”
“We need to talk to our politicians.. This is engineeringly the most simple thing ever but we’ve got a bunch of risk adverse politicians and a bunch of risk adverse public servants, get the hell out of our way and give us our fibre network.”