May 19, 2020

Brisbane: A hub for innovation and the gateway to Asia

Olivia Minnock
4 min
Brisbane: A hub for innovation and the gateway to Asia

A fast-growing economy

Brisbane has been dubbed “Australia’s new world city” and currently has a $146bn economy.

According to, by 2031 the economy for Greater Brisbane will match that of New Zealand with a value approaching $250bn. Its diverse economy has “traditional pillars such as mining services and construction making way for a raft of new growth sectors including education, advanced manufacturing and health services.” This growth will likely come from its biggest sector, health and social care, as the population ages.

Economist Gene Tunny told Courier Mail: “What we will see is a continuing expansion of aged and health care, combined with NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) investment, being a huge driver of employment in the future.”

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Education and innovation

In terms of its workforce, Brisbane has shown strong population growth for the past two decades and this is set to continue. According to, the population is projected to grow to 3.12mn by 2031. At present, the Greater Brisbane region holds 2.2mn people and 42.8% of these are aged between 25 and 54, with 22% holding bachelor degrees. It has the fastest employment growth of all Australian capitals and has the second-highest full-time employment rate in the country, with 65% of those employed working full-time.

Playing host to three major Australian universities, Brisbane not only has a highly-educated workforce but is a hub for research. Griffith University, a global top 5% institution, is famed for its research into health and the environment. Queensland University of Technology is a 45,000 student-strong organisation which is ranked 2nd of all Australia’s universities under 50 years old. The University of Queensland is a member of the world’s top 100 institutes and is a leading organisation in Australia for new patents, licence income and start-up companies.

It is unsurprising then that Brisbane was the city to develop the world’s first vaccine for cervical cancer, which has now been rolled out by several governments around the world. The city has been ranked in the top 15% worldwide for innovation in the Innovation Cities Global Index, and the greatest number of patents in the country come from Australia.

Little Tokyo Two… collaborative workspace

As well as other areas of innovation, Brisbane is fast becoming known as a tech hub. A prime example of this is Little Tokyo Two, a company providing workspace and innovation hubs for entrepreneurs, which has chosen to use Brisbane as its base for a variety of reasons. Its headquarters is at Spring Hill, but the business also has locations at Petrie Terrace in the city as well as its newest offering, The Capital building, in Brisbane’s CBD. Workspaces are also offered in other Queensland locations: Springfield and Gold Coast.

Little Tokyo Two dubs itself “one of the largest and most dynamic communities of entrepreneurs, innovators and creators in South East Queensland”. Championing collaboration, trust, openness and support, the organisation boasts a range of members between the ages of 15 and 70, with most around 30 to 35. It provides not only 24-hour workspace for collaboration but also mentoring programmes for start-ups and entrepreneurs, with 55% of members being less than three years in business. 

The company boasts “a thriving event program” with “plenty of chances to rub shoulders with like-minded folks” and says the strategic partnerships it offers will “create untapped opportunities that you may never have thought possible”.

Brisbane as a gateway…

Brisbane is the closest Australian capital to Asia, and as such is seen as a gateway between whole continents. The port of Brisbane is one of the fastest-growing container ports in Australia, and is a hub for over 35 shipping lines. Located just 24km from the CBS, states the port is five sailing days closer to Asia than Sydney of Melbourne.

In addition, Brisbane plays host to a top world airport in which 34 airlines operate with links to Singapore, Hong Kong, LA and Dubai. Currently several billions are being spent on improving the airport, which includes the construction of a new parallel runway.

Other infrastructure developments include the Queen’s Wharf Development in the CBD, and a $5bn cross river rail project to open up corridors and transit centres such as Woolloongaba.

The city says it is “committed to strengthening trade and commerce across the globe and rapidly becoming a powerhouse in the Asia Pacific region”.

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Jun 13, 2021

Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?

Kate Birch
3 min
From just US$45,000 capital in 2003 to a world-leading biopharma giant with revenues of US$1.69bn today, Seo JungJin is crowned EY World Entrepreneur 2021

Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.

Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.

JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.

Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.

Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?

A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.

The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.

According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.

Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.

“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”

How did JungJin get there?

JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.

And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.

With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.

“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”


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