Australia still failing tech startups

StartupAUS released the Crossroads 2015 report in April, which reveals that, despite positive developments over the past 12 months, Australia continues to under-invest in catalysing high-impact entrepreneurship and supporting its startup ecosystem.
 
Australia still records some of the lowest rates of startup formation, and one of the lowest rates of venture capital investment for a developed nation.
 
The report further notes a dramatic fall in the government’s provision of matching capital to support startups, with the Innovation Investment Fund abolished in last year’s budget and the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program having only half the funding for startups of Commercialisation Australia, the body it replaced.
 
Compared to our regional neighbours Australia is performing poorly. China recently announced the creation of an $8.3 billion seed-stage National Venture Capital Fund, South Korea is implementing a $4 billion Creative Economy initiative, and New Zealand is extending its network of government supported startup incubators, innovation precincts and funding programs for startups.
 
Further afield, the UK is delivering a multi-billion pound suite of pro-startup programs, while at the same time Australia still lacks a coherent innovation strategy, and has reduced its investment in knowledge economy initiatives at a time when almost all other developed economies are increasing theirs.
 
The list of StartupAUS Crossroads 2015 Report recommendations are:
• Create a national innovation agency
• Increase the number of entrepreneurs
• Improve the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship education
• Increase the number of people with ICT skills
• Improve access to startup expertise
• Increase availability of early stage capital to startups
• Address legal and regulatory impediments
• Increase collaboration and international connectedness
Professor Jana Matthews, StartupAUS director and ANZ Chair of Business Growth at the UniSA Centre for Business Growth said: “The choice is ours to make: we can either invest in the development of a knowledge economy in which startups can flourish, or we can maintain the status quo and forfeit Australia’s prosperity and competitiveness.”
 
The full 2015 StartupAUS Crossroads report can be downloaded at: www.startupaus.org/crossroads.