The Prime Minister’s recent pledge to pump $15 million into his government’s Incubator Support Program for startups, if re-elected next month, is a good start but far from sufficient, according to Australia’s peak startup body, StartupAUS.
CEO of StartupAUS, Alex McCauley said the additional funding for accelerators and incubators will genuinely help startups.
“Funding for incubators and accelerators is important and many of our most promising entrepreneurs are going through these programs,” he said.
“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.”
“We can’t ignore coworking”
Despite welcoming Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement, McCauley also described it as ‘modest’.
“It’s a good start but if we really want to boost the quality and output of our entrepreneurs we can’t ignore coworking,” he said.
“Most startups are in coworking 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 coworking spaces fund accelerator-style opportunities to help their resident companies grow quickly.
“StartupAUS would also like to see more funding made available to help incubators, accelerators, and coworking 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 urged to do more
McCauley said that while both sides of politics recognise innovation is a priority area for Australia’s future prosperity, 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.,” he said.
“If we want to build a thriving tech startup sector in Australia we’ll need more of these sorts of practical policy commitments, as well as some ambitious, big-picture thinking.”