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Agile public policy for the Australian startup ecosystem - Featured Image
By Bluedot Team | February 21

Agile public policy for the Australian startup ecosystem

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Bluedot Innovation

Thank you to Austrade for organizing the Australia-United States Business Week. A high level delegation of political, business and scientific leaders spent the week in San Francisco meeting startups, large tech companies and VCs.

Bluedot Innovation was pleased to participate in panel discussions and a public policy roundtable with the Assistant Minister for Innovation. In addition, the former and current Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb and Steven Ciobo, respectively, attended events during the week. Building on the Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda, a broad range of policy ideas were discussed throughout the week, including a number aimed at attracting industry-leading talent to Australia and supporting Aussie startups to expand to international markets.

Having previously been an adviser on international economic and cyber policy, I advocated for a policy framework that ensures initiatives are tied to a detailed understanding of the stages and circumstances of the startup lifecycle. This would recognize the dramatically different and changing requirements of early stage companies as they grow at a pace that’s unprecedented in economic history. Cross-referencing these stages with an analysis of the gaps in the Australian ecosystem is an essential starting point for determining where to focus political attention and public resources.

I also argued that the Australian VC market requires more than just a redirection of Australia's ample capital. It necessitates greater sophistication in assessing technology companies, as well as broader anticipation of the evolving touch points between capital, technology and global markets. Significantly increasing the involvement of leading VC's from the US, key Asian markets and elsewhere would increase competition for deal flow in the Australian market, while also creating opportunities for collaboration and the instilling of expertise as Australian and international VCs syndicate on investments.

We need to oppose traditional viewpoints that see the spread of Australian startups to international markets as a loss to the domestic economy, as if the modern global market is still defined by industry protection and binary trade balances. If Australia doesn't create globally competitive companies then it will not be able to compete domestically. Australia is an advanced economy with low trade barriers and high rates of technology adoption. It will be increasingly challenging to create technology driven products that cater only to a domestic market because software collapses borders and quality international alternatives will be exported to Australia.

This requires a change of mindset to simultaneously pursue scale globally and agility at a national level.

There's an immense amount we need to do to expand and improve the Australian ecosystem but we're building upon a strong foundation.

At Bluedot Innovation, we look forward to contributing to the greatest extent possible to both the public policy debate and the growth of the startup community on the ground.