The right mix of venture capital, affordable rent and tax incentives would encourage an increased culture of innovative start-ups in Sydney, Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP told a new Oxford Street networking event last night.
More than 100 creative entrepreneurs and investors attended the inaugural 66 Meet-Ups networking evening to hear how it was crucial for them to share their knowledge and experiences with each other.
The Lord Mayor said it was critical for the growth of new start-ups that they were connected to government, big business and investors.
“We know that start-ups need a supportive environment that allows for experimentation and, yes, for failure as well,” the Lord Mayor said.
“They also need affordable spaces in the inner city where like-minded people can gather.”
The 66 Meet-Ups event was organised by what’s on start-up AroundYou and tenants of 66 Oxford Street – a City-owned building, which was offered to creative and cultural entrepreneurs in February this year at affordable rates.
Following from the success of these spaces, two further affordable spaces will soon be made available in a mixed commercial building on William Street, Darlinghurst. Further down the track, the City will offer affordable artist live-work spaces in the same building.
The Lord Mayor also said the City of Sydney was gearing-up to investigate ways of becoming a “broker” between venture capitalists and start-ups.
“We need to start redirecting some of the money that goes into property, mining and exploration into our local talent, as well as encouraging the Federal Government to look at tax incentives, so we can help innovative small businesses become the mid-sized or larger businesses of Sydney’s future,” the Lord Mayor said.
Fishburners founder and original PayPal investor Peter Davison said there had been a fundamental shift in the way business was being undertaken, because it had never before been possible to access a global market from your bedroom.
“It’s easy to buy a domain name, it’s easy to start buying traffic, it’s easy to build a website – anybody can do it,” Mr Davison said.
“So instead oftrying to emulateSilicon Valley, a mature ecosystem of investors, entrepreneurs and acquirers, Sydney can provide opportunities for the new breed of bedroom entrepreneur.
“We need to start out by giving them the opportunity to learn from each other, network and talk to the big end of town.
“Doing so might trigger an industry of successful small businesses, creating jobs and bringing in money. With a little luck, one or two Silicon Valley-like success stories might emerge.”
Tech start-ups, an architect, a textiles design house, two co-working spaces and three art and design shops were among 16 tenants that moved into City-owned affordable creative spaces in February this year, injecting new life into the precinct.