News & Analysis

#StartupAUS report presents first comprehensive plan to boost startup ecosystem

- April 15, 2014 2 MIN READ

#StartupAUS, a non-for-profit organisation helping foster a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia, today published a comprehensive report which calls on the Government to take swift action to support our startup ecosystem and safeguard the country’s long-term economic prosperity.

The report, titled Crossroads, highlights the following key issues facing Australia:

  • Australia’s startup sector is maturing at a slower rate than many other nations.
  • High-growth tech companies could contribute 4% of the nation’s GDP by 2033, compared to just 0.2% today. This would add 540,000 jobs to the economy.
  • In 2013, Australia invested just $4.5 per capita in Venture Capital for start-ups compared to $120 in Israel, $85 in the US, $20 in South Korea and $15 in the UK.

While our startup ecosystem has blossomed over the past five years and should be celebrated, it is still lagging behind other developed nations and faces several challenges that are hampering its growth and the nation’s ability to transition to a knowledge-intensive economy.

A number of notable Australian entrepreneurs and investors have contributed to the Crossroad report – including Alan Noble, Head of Engineering at Google Australia, Steve BaxterFounder and Managing Director of River City Labs, Peter Bradd, Founding Director of Fishburners, Bill Bartee, General Partner of Southern Cross Venture Partners and Dr Jana Matthews, Program Director at ANZ Innovyz Start Accelerator. The contributors have put forth a tangible set of solutions to accelerate the growth and maturation of our startup ecosystem.

Noble, who’s also a board member at #StartupAUS commented: “Australia’s fledgling startup sector has experienced a groundswell of activity over the last three years and we are seeing a number of Australian technology companies begin to achieve meaningful global scale.

“However we still lag behind many other nations, with one of the lowest rates of startup formation in the world, and one of the lowest rates of venture capital investment. If we fail to address this, we risk forfeiting over $100 billion in economic benefits from emerging tech companies, and an irreversible decline in Australia’s competitiveness.”

The Crossroads report notes that the conditions for a successful startup system have not yet been successfully established, primarily due to market failures in areas such as education, expertise, access to capital and regulatory support.

The following seven key actions to support the Australian startup ecosystem are recommended:

  1. Increase the number of entrepreneurs
  2. Improve the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship education
  3. Increase the number of people with ICT skills
  4. Improve access to startup expertise
  5. Increase availability of early stage capital to startups
  6. Address regulatory impediments, particularly in relation to employee share schemes and crowd-funded equity for startups
  7. Increase collaboration and international connectedness

Matthews, also a board member at #StartupAUS board said: “With new technology companies disrupting almost every global industry, Australia has a huge opportunity to capitalise on its creativity culture and ability to deliver world-changing innovation such as wi-fi and Cochlear implants.

“Great successes such as Atlassian and Freelancer prove that Australian startups can be successful on the global stage. However, if governments at all levels do not take the lead and do more to foster, promote and back tech startups, Australia will miss out on major economic and cultural benefits. The time to act is now, and we will be bringing this report to federal, state and local policy makers and Ministers with a view to driving action in this space.“

The full Crossroads report can be downloaded via this link: startupaus.org/crossroads

Image sourced from techworld.com.au