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START-UP REPORT GIVES PYNE AND ROY FOOD FOR THOUGHT

16-11-2015
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A start-up report containing 10 key innovation recommendations was presented to Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy at a special event in Canberra last week.

Included in the report’s recommends is more funding for female-led ventures and better incentives to improve the quality of start-ups.

The report follows a special Policy Hack event conducted by start-up accelerator BlueChilli in Sydney on October 17 this year.

Produced by peak start-up body StartupAUS, it took the work from some 150 Policy Hack participants including entrepreneurs, investors, industry, government and interest groups.

Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy MP told The Australian at the event it was important to have collaboration between innovators and public servants, and the event marked “just the first step.”

“The mixing of those two worlds is really interesting and you can have the best idea but you have to be able to realistically implement it,” he said.

“It’s exciting to see disruption to the traditional policymaking process, with some of those ideas now finding their way to the next level of government.”

He said the ideas wouldn’t be prescriptive, and is “not the ten commandments” but would be a “good start.”

The StartupAUS document includes the following ten recommendations:

1. Connecting Australia’s established enterprises to start-ups through an innovation accord, an innovation precinct, and through the extension of the R & D tax incentive.

2. Improving social enterprises by creating the Academy for Sustainable Community — a nationally co-ordinated strategy that is delivered locally around the country to provide communities with the skills to leverage digital inclusion and build social enterprises through the NBN.

3. Achieving gender equality by providing a $100m Federal Government co- contribution fund for female-led ventures, and a detailed program for male ‘champions for change,’ where men support women in the ecosystem by putting their money and brand on the line.

4. Intellectual property — keeping innovation in Australia by following international best-practice and introducing a tailored tax regime for intellectual property revenues, allowing Australia to retain innovative businesses, while attracting more innovative businesses from overseas.

5. Incentives to attract capital and improve start-up quality including matched funding for accelerators and incubators, and income and capital gains tax incentives for early stage investment.

6. Encouraging universities to engage with industry by boosting research and development funding to universities and tying it directly to engagement with industry, as well as a funding increase of $300m to encourage strategic staff and student secondments in tech-based companies.

7. Fixing Government procurement by redesigning the current practices, which are inherently biased towards larger enterprises, to truly open up government contracts to start-ups. Open government data to new innovative measures.

8. Enhance global awareness by creating start-up “landing pads” in key markets where Australian start-ups can access local knowledge, a place to work, and community support – starting in San Francisco.

9. Improving education through planting the seed of innovation inspiration at th earliest stage of educational development, primary school. ‘Lemonade Day’ is an opportunity for children to own and operate their own venture — a lemonade stand.

10. New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) — Introduce a new stream into the NEIS — a Start-up Incentive Scheme (SIS) — to support founders entering accredited accelerator programs.

The report’s author, StartupAUS Head of Strategy and Advocacy Alex McCauley, said: “This report provides a window into an area of economic policy which is of vital importance to Australia, but which is a bit opaque for a lot of people.

“At its core, innovation policy is about trying to create jobs and boost economic growth, by encouraging modern technology and flexible, creative business practices.

“Recently, we have really been able to feel a change in the national conversation about our economic future. Innovation policy is now front and centre. There are no silver bullets, and Australia is playing catch-up in this area. But we’re starting to really build up some momentum and we’re confident we’ll see some very positive initiatives like these in the near future.”

BlueChilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, said he was excited to have this attention at a senior level in government.

“Policy Hack enabled people who generally don’t have a voice to work direct with government bureaucrats and members of parliament on how to shape Australia’s start-up future,” he said.

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