Meet the Judges

Deborah Morandin

CEO of Entrepreneurs Paradise


CEO of Entrepreneurs Paradise, Deborah brings together the biggest and brightest entrepreneurs across the world together to create opportunities that change the world for the better. Many of these groups at the homes of Sir Richard Branson.

Mike Smith

Founder / Start-Up Mentor

Mike Smith, serial Founder, start-up mentor and business technology specialist. Mike’s combined 15 years of product, marketing and project management experience across mining, automotive, employment and tech.

Passionate about providing pathways for all people to create a positive impact in this world Mike is now actively working to create a sustainable early stage business hub within the Moreton Bay Region bringing founders, investors, businesses and community together.

Sharon Armstrong

Business Owner

Sharon has owned and operated a health and wellness business in the Moreton Bay Region for the last 10 years. The business is a centre for Sharon’s passion for healthy families and currently employs 32 staff and therapists. Sharon also has a passion for business in the region and has been an active member of her local chamber of commerce and other committees for more than four years.

Nette Griggs

Director RDA Moreton Bay

Nette Griggs has had an extensive career in local and state government and the community sector in different parts of Australia including areas as diverse as the City of Sydney and Woomera in the South Australian outback and East Timor. She has managed a wide variety of services and facilities and she has led significant organisational change agendas and participated contentious urban renewal projects.

Returning home to Queensland in 2007, Nette took up the position of CEO in a Moreton Bay community organisation, contributing to significant changes in their operation and funding model and building strong local, state and federal government partnerships. In late 2011 after a short contract of six months returning to local government in the outback, Nette took up a position working with Queensland Health Metro North Hospital and Health Service in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit.

Paul Russell

Executive Director - Innovation Programs & Engagement
Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games (DITID)
Queensland Government

Paul joined the Queensland Government in 2003 and has held Senior Executive Service (SES) level positions responsible for the leading the development and implementation of strategic policy development and service delivery in areas including trade and investment, advanced manufacturing, development of the State’s ICT and other enabling technology sectors and the creative industries.

With the formation of the Department of Science, IT & Innovation (DSITI) in 2012, Paul was appointed to the role of Executive Director, Digital Economy and Productivity. This unit developed the GoDigitalQLD digital economy strategy which included a range of firsts for Queensland in digital literacy, community engagement, digital infrastructure and startups. It also supported Australia’s first Chair in Digital Economy at the Queensland University of Technology. In 2015, Paul’s role was expanded to take on the Government’s Open Data policy.

With the ramping up of the Government’s $205M Advance Queensland initiative, in September 2016 Paul moved into the Innovation Division with responsibility for delivery of a range of startup and business facing grants programs and projects. He has been responsible for delivering the Government’s flagship innovation space – The (startup) Precinct in the historical TC Bierne building in Fortitude Valley (over 5,000 sq metres), the $6m Advancing Regional Innovation Program, the Ignite Ideas commercialisation support fund ($26.5m invested in 203 Queensland ventures), The Australian first, Hot DesQ startup landing program (53 international and interstate startups supported to move to Qld), the Industry Accelerators Fund (7 tech accelerator programs running in Qld), the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships graduate placement program ($3m supporting over 60 SMEs to employ a graduate).

Paul is also responsible for the department’s Innovate Qld program of workshops and webinars delivered by the Impact Innovation Group and the department’s contract with Myriad Technology Events to deliver the annual Myriad Festival.

Tracy Constable

Queensland Stakeholder Engagement Manager for AusIndustry

Tracy Constable is the Queensland Stakeholder Engagement Manager for AusIndustry within the Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Tracy has worked for AusIndustry since 2007 and focuses on stakeholder engagement across all levels of government and with regional organisations and industry groups. Part of Tracy’s role is to assist business identify what government assistance is available to suit their needs or requirements with the view to assist them grow, innovate and prosper.

Shaun Reeves

Chartered Accountant and Director of SRJ Walker Wayland

Shaun is currently a Chartered Accountant and Director of SRJ Walker Wayland, business advisors, accountants and auditors. With 25 years’ experience in that role, Shaun has mentored hundreds of businesses helping to formulate and implement growth and profit strategies across many industries.