News & Analysis

Adelaide is on the hunt for startups keen on rent-free offices in the CBD

- May 6, 2019 2 MIN READ
Adelaide

Adelaide’s reputation as a startup hotspot took a massive leap last month when the release of the StartupBlink Startup Ecosystem Rankings 2019 report revealed the South Australian capital had cracked to top 150 global cities for startups, rising from 227 on the list to 143.

Australia overall jumped six places from 11 to 5th.

It’s kicking goals with the newly established Australian Space Agency calling the city home, and the government appointing Nova Systems chairman and co-founder Jim Whalley as South Australian Chief Entrepreneur.

Then there’s the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, which is being turned into Lot Fourteen, a defence tech and innovation hub, plus the $28 million Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund handing out up to $100,000 for early stage startups and up to $1 million in co-investment for later stage businesses.

And if you’re looking for a place to bootstrap your idea, then have a chat to Renew Adelaide, which has helped give that chance to more than 150 startup ventures that started out on rent-free leases in central Adelaide over the last decade.

Renew Adelaide communications manager Biela McMillan told Startup Daily that her organisation currently had “about 30 current ventures who are currently not paying rent and testing their business idea with a view it will succeed and enable them to become a strong business and good commercial tenant.

They include ‘Link4,’ an e-invoicing platform on the Government of Australia’s Digital Advisory Council, and ‘Scullery Taproom”, a former storage garage transformed into a kombucha manufacturing facility and cellar door.

Botanica director Lesley Williams at the launch of her Rundle Street residency with Renew Adelaide. Source: Renew Adelaide.

The idea began under a team of volunteers in 2010 to tackle commercial property vacancies in Adelaide. The good news is the project is ongoing and there’s always an interesting range of sites on offer – right now there’s even one in the city’s famed Rundle Mall.

“When a space becomes available we usually conduct a call-out for ideas,” McMillan said.

“Information about the space, including photos and an application timeline for ideas will be detailed on our website. Applications stay open for a few weeks and once closed, a Renew Adelaide panel selects the top applications to come in for an interview. The finalist is selected with the approval of the property owner.”

Once chosen, you get about a month to get cracking at your free site.

A helping hand at the start also pays off for the landlords, with McMillan reporting that last financial year, 40% of Renew Adelaide projects went on to take out a commercial lease in the space they initially scored for free because their venture is flourishing.

If you’re keen to know more, you can sign up for Renew Adelaide’s Creative Spaces Alert via Facebook here.

Contact details for Renew Adelaide are here.

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