As Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp’s two-year tenure draws to a close, she says innovation is more important than ever and often thrives in times of uncertainty.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship have a certain type of energy that will exist regardless of the vehicle that manoeuvres it,” Leanne says.
She says it’s more important in times of uncertainty and often, in these times, it comes to the fore.
Leanne’s tenure as a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship across the state ends on December 31. At this stage, her successor has not been announced.
It’s a role she has tailored to suit the needs of the community, respond to the conditions and best use her experience.
“Being an honorary role, I made it my own. Leadership reflects on the needs of the community. I listened to what was required and moulded to suit the time and space,” she says.
She says COVID-19’s effects on business across the state required a different style of thought leadership.
Leanne says she understood the challenges entrepreneurs and innovators were facing because she was dealing with them in her own business.
She is the founder of ground-breaking startup, Everledger, which burst on the global stage in 2015 and was listed as one of the Word Economic Forum’s most promising technology pioneers three years later.
Everledger uses blockchain technology to track valuable commodities back to their source. It started with diamonds, which can be tracked from where they are mined to where they are cut and polished, and to the jeweller. All of this information comes together on a digital platform of provenance.
Leanne says being Queensland Chief Entrepreneur has given her the chance to engage with forward-thinkers in many corners of the state.
“Meeting entrepreneurs and innovators in places that you would least expect to … innovation thought leaders that exist on farms that are solving problems right before their eyes,” she says.
“Act local, buy local and think globally – remain connected with what’s going on in the world,” Leanne says.
She will take a break over Christmas and is looking forward to focusing on her own business interests in the new year as well as her positions as member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Blockchain Business Council and a Co-Chair for the World Trade Board's Sustainable Trade Action Group.
Some of her break will be spent at home in Samford. Because when Leanne’s not in London or one of the four other countries in which her company operates, she’s is living off-grid in an old railway carriage.
She bought the property, which was the former Samford Grass Ski Park site, in 2007 and set about converting the railway carriage in to the “Train Mahal”.
It’s a welcome tonic to the hustle and bustle of busy cities, the perfect place to recharge and a stark contrast to the hi-tech world in which she has achieved business success.
“I feel being out there I have a sense of solace and peace of mind,” she says.
“It’s amazing when you have time to think, and clear air, where your mind can take innovation to.”