As a city, Sydney is home to two-thirds of Australia’s tech startups. However, we are far from global leaders. In fact, Australia has one of the lowest rates of angel and venture capital investment in the world. We also happen to be the only developed nation globally that does not offer entrepreneur visas.
Cities like Berlin, London and Singapore have supportive government investment; and the tech startups within those cities are seeing the benefits.
In the Crossroads 2015 Report produced by StartupAUS, there was a particular graph on Page 28 that gave an overview of the eight specific conditions that are required for a successful startup ecosystem to thrive: 1) a pro-entrepreneurship culture; 2) guidance from experienced entrepreneurs; 3) a supportive regulatory environment; 4) a collaborative business culture; 5) visible successes and role models; 6) risk tolerance; 7) availability of capital; and 8) technical skills like computer programming.
As a city, Sydney exhibits many of the conditions shown on this graph. It has a pro-entrepreneurship culture; there are many experienced entrepreneurs willing to give back to the community; and there are a growing number of success stories and role models to look up to in the ecosystem – as more startups reach maturity and exit, this will increase.
But there are also some very big gaps that Sydney as a city needs to address if it is serious about becoming the ideal environment for highly-scalable tech businesses.
The City of Sydney’s new 10-year action plan is all about creating an environment where entrepreneurs can start and grow successful global businesses. Authored by Charnelle Mondy, the plan reiterates exactly how vital tech startups are for Sydney’s future.
“Successful tech startups such as Atlassian, Campaign Monitor and Canva have put Sydney on the map,” says Mondy.
“We want to build this entrepreneurial culture and support access to skilled support networks, funding and markets. Our goal is to support a flourishing ecosystem that is open, inclusive, skilled and highly connected.”
The actions within the plan focus on providing a strong support network, business and entrepreneurship education, as well as infrastructure and financing opportunities.
Proposed projects in the plan include a visiting entrepreneur program, startup-focused business seminars, a Sydney tech startup festival and investor recruitment events.
The City is looking for input from the startup community to finalise the plan. You can view the plan and provide feedback at sydneyyoursay.com.au until November 10th.
Those within the startup ecosystem can also join the conversation using the hashtag #startupsyd.