Opinion

How to solve the challenges facing regional startups

- November 28, 2019 3 MIN READ
Australia is becoming increasingly more attractive to develop and run startups with the recent Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2019 showing the nation jumping forward six places to become the fifth-most startup-friendly country in the world.

But when you think of startup hubs, they’re typically centred around metropolitan areas — think Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane. This mentality however, neglects a growing segment of entrepreneurs thriving in regional cities across the nation. From Newcastle to Ballarat, startups are sprouting and flourishing.

Like many startups however, regional startups are faced with their own set of unique challenges. Distance to major city centres have often meant regional startups lacked many of the essentials needed to thrive.

But technology is helping to break down many of these traditional barriers.

At Fishburners, we’ve partnered with organisations like HubSpot for Startups to give our regional entrepreneurs the access to many of the critical tools they need to grow their business, from sales and marketing to education and training.

Here’s are some of the ways regional startups can overcome the other hurdles they face.

Better together

Often the most successful startups leverage, learn and collaborate with like minded entrepreneurs. It provides a sounding board to bounce ideas around with a community of people just like them.

As regional Aussies are often hundreds of thousands of kilometers away from CBDs, this is a challenge startups have to face. With half of small businesses not expected to survive past the five-year mark, and only about one in three small businesses making it past the 10-year mark, it’s essential that startups have access to these communities to strengthen their chance of survival.

With online accelerator programs, virtual networking events, online mentors and communities, startups are now more connected than ever. Technology has brought knowledge, networks and communities together so distance has no limits. Startups can connect with like-minded entreprepreneurs while located in the most rural parts of Australia.

Knowledge is power

Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that regular training and education is essential to successful growth. But this often gets put on the backburner for many startups as managing the day to day operations becomes a priority and distance to training facilities makes it simply out of reach.

But with hundreds of courses made available online from the likes of HubSpot, it’s helping bring regional startups the same opportunities as those located in capital cities. From virtual training and access to online communities, it’s leveled the playing field for regional startups.

Show me the money

Access to capital is one of the biggest challenges any startup faces. When starting out there are a number of essential costs from building products to establishing a quality customer base. It’s an expensive time, that requires funds upfront.

Technology is helping close the gap for accessing funds and capital with companies like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and HubSpot Ventures offerings startups around the country the opportunity to seek investment. This has opened a whole new playing field and allows startups to pitch from anywhere around the world to organisations who are dedicated to supporting regional startups.

Additionally, businesses like HubSpot are offering services to regional Aussie startups encouraging creativity and innovation around the country. Opportunities are no longer limited to the likes of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and are backed by a number of successful Aussie startups.

The time is now

We’ve seen the key role technology is playing in recent years by closing the gap that entrepreneurs face when starting out. For regional startups, it means more opportunities to thrive. And this is good news for all of us. Startups play a fundamental role in driving Australia’s economy so the more we can do to support these founders, the better.

* Henry Weaver is Head of Community, Fishburners 

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