Turnbull’s $15m start-up sector boost deemed a good start

StartupAUS says increased investment will give start-ups a leg up

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has pledged another $15 million to aid start-up businesses. This funding is in addition to the $1.1 billion innovation agenda that the government launched last year.

In detailing the funding, it is expected to expand on the Incubator Support Program, which initially only received $8 million in funding.

The funding boost is expected to support the expansion of existing incubators, raise the number of start-up incubators, provide incubators with $500,000 in funding, and enable industry experts to provide start-ups with advice.

StartupAUS CEO, Alex McCauley, said the investment is overall, good news for the sector, and the support of the accelerators and incubators are in line with what StartupAUS has been recommending.

"We welcome the Turnbull Government’s $15 million investment as one that will genuinely help start-ups. Funding for incubators and accelerators is important and many of our most promising entrepreneurs are going through these programs.

“Incubators and accelerators provide valuable support structures to help founders skill up and succeed. This was an important area of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) which was substantially underfunded, so it's good to see it getting a boost,” he said.

“This is a relatively modest announcement, but it's a good start.”

However McCauley mentioned that it’s far from sufficient and there are more core areas that both parties must look at addressing to further help boost start-ups in Australia.

“If we really want to boost the quality and output of our entrepreneurs we can't ignore co-working. Most start-ups are in co-working spaces and don't have access to the facilities on offer in incubators or accelerators - StartupAUS would like to see the program expanded to help co-working spaces fund accelerator-style opportunities to help their resident companies grow quickly.”

He added that there needs to be more funding made available to help incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces measure the performance of their member companies.

“That's how we're going to know if we're moving the needle here. Both sides of politics recognise that innovation is a priority area for Australia's future prosperity, but the election campaign has been notable for its absence of policy in this space.

“We've been told for some time that the series of policies announced by both sides last year was just the beginning, so we'd like to see both sides do more in this election campaign. If we want to build a thriving tech start-up sector in Australia we'll need more of these sorts of practical policy commitments, as well as some ambitious, big-picture thinking,” McCauley said.

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