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Leigh Angus is the sort of woman who can leave you ever so slightly breathless.

I once had occasion to travel to Perth with her. After a full day’s work, and a glass of champagne, Angus – a mother of three children, including twins, settled back with a pile of reading for her PhD nanotechnology studies.

Today Angus is the programme director of iLab, a Queensland based technology incubator and accelerator, and also involved in her own start-up.

Owned by the University of Queensland’s Uniquest operation, iLab was set up to service the general technology community across Queensland and also forge a close association student entrepreneurs. Angus took on the role to lead the organization in April 2012.

“iLab is helping to create a community that is empathetic and supportive of entrepreneurs and founders. This is the most difficult stage - trying to find money and resources, to help them build out their idea. We create an environment that does that and give them the knowledge they need and provide them with the resources they require and to have that as accessible as possible and with as little expense to the start up as possible.”

Similar in essence to Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator, start-ups which are selected for an iLab programme secure up to $20,000 to pay for development or marketing expenses to build up their idea, thanks to grants from the Queensland Government.

In addition iLab provides access to a community of mentors and advisors to: “ Provide the knowledge, expertise or guidance to help them progress down the commercialisation path.”

Angus says that to be considered for the programme entrepreneurs need to demonstrate tenacity, a strong desire to succeed and a reasonably good idea. He sees her role as to remain neutral about the business, but to act as a confidante who can find people to “unstick” any problems.

As to who makes the grade Angus explains; “We have an external selection panel – we had programme in June  - there were 260 expressions of interest, 100 full applications. We shortlisted that to 19, ten were chosen to pitch and over three months six have finished with us.”

Over that three month intensive period entrepreneurs work to build out a concept into a business.

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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.

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