Two New Initiatives to Propel Australia’s Startup Scene

Some say Australia is a great place for start-ups: Internet literacy levels are high among the population, emerging businesses have access to affordable serviced offices from a lead office rent agency and there are many accelerators and incubators for new companies to join. At the same time, others are decrying a lack of investors, as well as insufficient government policies for this field. Yet two new initiatives in this segment, one private and the other one public shine a ray of hope for the future of Australia’s IT and tech startups.

Aussies are Taking to BizSpark

Australia StartupsBizSpark is a program for start-ups that has been active for five years now in Australia, as of November 2013. The anniversary came as a coronation of the success the platform has seen recently among Aussie entrepreneurs. The program, launched by Microsoft Australia in 2008, allows tech and IT startups to use several apps developed by the software giant for free. It also provides them with free credit on the company’s cloud computing platform. All these efforts have seen massive success in the 2013, as more than 160 new start-ups joined the ranks of participants to the program. The platform’s development and evangelism director for Australia, Sarah Vaughan, says its new found popularity is cause for great excitement; its benefits for start-ups are numerous and multifaceted, she explains.

By joining the program, companies also accessopportunities for advertising, mentorship, partnerships, and support. This is what Vaughan believes sets the program apart: it doesn’t simply help entrepreneurs come up with a concept for a product. It takes a holistic approach to creating that product, with everything the creation process entails. In the past five years, since the program was first launched, over 3,000 companies in Australia have joined it. More than 900 of them have even passed the ‘graduation’ benchmark, which means they are now making more than $1 million worth of net revenue each year. The program’s recently launched innovation center in Queensland is further proof to the success of the program. And, for the first time in a long time, it looks like government policies are falling into place, in terms of aligning themselves with the demand on the start-up market.

Australia’s Government is Ready to Provide Start-ups with Open Access to Data

Access to government data in Australia has been a sore topic until now, in terms of official policies implemented at global level. That’s not the opinion of some media pundit, but of the country’s Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. The minister spoke of Australia’s lag in this department, in comparison to other countries around the globe, during an event for start-ups held in late November in Sydney. Turnbull said that allowing start-ups to access more datasets, via the will definitely help emerging businesses attain success at a more rapid pace. He compared data set numbers in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom – and obviously came up short. The U.S. government has made 210,930 data sets available on its official dedicated websites. There are almost 10,000 data sets on the similar site developed by the British Government. Australia only currently provides access to 514 such data sets.

Turnbull pledged the commitment of the current government to make more data available to the ‘innovators’ in Australia. In his view, this will help entrepreneurs in the tech and IT fields to develop their own applications in this domain. In turn, these products and services will mark an uptick in terms of government productivity and also allow the country’s citizens to engage better with their government, its strategies, policies, implementation methods, and results. It’s what one would call a win-win situation for all the parties involved. All that’s left now is for the officials to actually make good on their promises.

You may also enjoy:

 Start-Up Guide for the Technopreneur: Financial Planning, Decision Making and Negotiating from Incubation to Exit  Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster  The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company  Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website

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