Guide to the Australian Startup Ecosystem

As well as boasting one of the world’s strongest economies, Australia is also home to a flourishing startup ecosystem. This article provides a broad guide to the Australian startup ecosystem in relation to the following areas:

 

1. Government Grants

2. Immigrants

3. Events

 

Government Grants

There are numerous government grants available for startups in Australia at Federal and State levels.

Federal Grants

1. Entrepreneur’s Programme

The Australian Government proudly refers to this programme as its “flagship initiative for business competitiveness and productivity”. Comprehensive in scope, it provides funding for businesses through its Accelerating Commercialisation component, which involves:

 

  • Providing up to 50% of project expenditure, capped at:
    • $250,000 for commercialisation offices and eligible partner entities
    • $1 million for all other applicants

 

In addition to the grant, this program also provides business management services, incubator support and innovation connections. For a detailed description of the programme’s services and requirements, visit the Australian Government website.

 

2. CSIRO Kick-Start 

Funded by Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), this grant provides:

 

  • Dollar-matched funding of $10,000-$50,000

 

Eligible business must be researching a new idea with commercial potential, developing a novel or improved product or process, or testing a novel product or material developed by the company. Visit the CSIRO Kick-Start website to find out more about the programme.

 

3. Research and Development Tax Incentive

The R&D Tax Incentive encourages companies to pursue R&D activities in Australia by providing tax offsets to eligible businesses. The grant can apply to:

 

  • Businesses with aggregated turnovers of less than $20 million; they can claim a 42.5% refundable tax offset

 

  • Businesses with aggregated turnovers of more than $20 million; they can claim a 38.5% non-refundable tax offset

 

For more information, visit the Government’s R&D Tax incentive website.

 

State Grants

1. New South Wales

The NSW State Government has designed two categories of grants:

 

  • Minimum Viable Product Grants (MVP)
    • Provides up to $25,000 to promising startups to assist them with testing their business model and gathering consumer feedback.

 

  • Building Partnerships Grants
    • Helps revenue generating startups and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) grow by connecting them with a key customer or market channel.
    • Provides funding of up to 35% of project costs, capped at $100,000

 

Get the full details at the NSW Government website.

 

2. Victoria 

  • LaunchVic
    • Established by the Victorian Government in 2016, LaunchVic is an agency dedicated to the growth and development of startups in Victoria.
    • LaunchVic has a pool of $60 million that it distributes through consecutive funding rounds, with each round being focused on a different aspect of startup development

 

  • Public Sector Innovation Fund
    • This fund supports solutions to public policy issues by providing grants to small-scale, collaborative projects.
    • Grants range from $50,000-$400,000

 

Immigrants & Startups

Whether you’re considering making a move to Australia to launch a business, or have already arrived, the numbers show that Australia is a fantastic place to be if you’re an immigrant wanting to start a business:

 

  • 57% of Australian startups were founded by immigrants or their children.
  • 20% of the startup workforce in Australia is comprised of international talent. 
  • 86% of Australian startups were looking to bring in international talent within 6 months.

 

The high engagement levels of Australia’s immigrants in the local startup ecosystem is reflective of a wider, evidence-backed trend: immigrants consistently display a greater capacity for entrepreneurship than non-immigrants.

 

What’s more, a new Entrepreneur Visa, aimed specifically at attracting foreign entrepreneurs Down Under, is currently being trialled in South Australia. Following its anticipated success, the new visa will be rolled out nationwide as part of the Government’s visas for innovation programme.

 

The Global Talent Scheme is yet another visa option being piloted by the Government. This visa has been designed to allow Australian businesses, particularly startups, to attract top international talent from STEM backgrounds.

 

 Among programs for expatriates, many networks exist and allow people to have a foothold in the business environment in Australia. For instance, La French Tech provides a focal point for the French entrepreneurial ecosystem in Australia to boost the development of French start-ups seeking to establish a presence down under and make France more attractive to local entrepreneurs and investors.

 

Startup Events

Australia hosts a variety of startup events, giving you the chance to learn, network and grow.

 

1. StartCon

StartCon is truly massive in scale, bringing together 4,000+ attendees, 65+ speakers, 160+ exhibitors and 650+ startups—it is Australia’s largest startup and growth conference. The event will be held from November 30-December 1 at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.

 

2. Spark Festival

Spark Festival is taking place in Sydney from October 19-November 4, choose from over 150+ events that celebrate, support and strengthen NSW’s booming startup sector. Don’t miss out, there are only a few days left!

 

3. Startup&Angels

Startup&Angels is Australia’s premier networking event where startups connect with angels and investors. With 30+ events under its belt in 10 different cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Singapore, Manilla, Kigali, Port Moresby, Kathmandu), hosting over 3000+ attendees and 200+ speakers, this an event not to be missed.

 

4. B2B Rocks

B2B Rocks hosts leading conferences for B2B and SaaS startups in Paris and Sydney. Partnering with the likes of Microsoft and LinkedIn, B2B Rocks always delivers insightful and valuable advice through its vast array of speakers. Re-experience the 3rd edition of this major event just HERE

 

Conclusion

The Australian startup ecosystem is not only strong, but one of the world’s most promising too—especially if you’re considering a move to Australia. StartupAUS sums up the situation perfectly:

 

Startups in Australia are booming. Capital availability is at record highs, local tertiary institutions continue to produce high quality talent, and governments around the country are increasing support for young high-growth businesses and the organisations that help them grow. Coworking spaces in major cities are overflowing, requiring rapid expansion to accommodate increased demand by entrepreneurs.

 

Over the past few years, Australiance has assisted many startups, such as iBubble, the company that launched the first autonomous underwater drone, to successfully settle in Australia.

 

And you, what are you waiting for? Launch your business Down Under today!

 

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