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20 of Australia's brightest future tech founders and CEOs heading off to soak up Silicon Valley



Last night’s announcement in Brisbane of the latest Startup Catalyst Youth Mission involving 20 of Australia’s brightest up and coming tech founders and CEOs aged between 19 to 29 years selected from over 200 applications received from around the country sets in motion the next wave of young Aussies on a pilgrimage to the Mecca of technology in Silicon Valley.

Now in its third year, Startup Catalyst began as an experiment in 2014, initiated and funded by Brisbane-based entrepreneur, investor, Shark Tank star and founder of River City LabsSteve Baxter, to take young Queenslanders to the spiritual heartland of technology and expose them to the “high intensity environment” that is Silicon Valley with the hope that participants during the trip would attain the right level of technical thinking needed to actually start globally significant tech startup businesses, and on their return they would infect their peers with their newly acquired thinking and in turn boost the startup culture in Queensland.

The success of previous missions has attracted a lot of interest from around the country and triggered a Queensland Government grant and support for the program to continue into the future in conjunction with sponsorship from corporations and Australian universities.

Startup Catalyst CEO, Aaron Birkby said the selection panel had a very difficult time in deciding the final 20 participants for the upcoming mission owing to the large number of high calibre applicants, which paints a good picture of the current state of Australia’s burgeoning tech sector. “Also pleasing is the fact that seven of the latest successful applicants are female, signifying the increasing participation of women in the tech sector in Australia,” he says.

The group depart on November 13 for a 10-day trip and along with visiting the biggest tech companies in the world including Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter the mission will include spending time with some of the 20,000 strong army of Aussies currently working in the Valley.