iTWire – Big wins for small business but no big wins for tech startups

The Abbott government has been criticised by StartupAus for not addressing the tech startup ecosystem in its budget. StartupAus does, however, acknowledge the governments moves to support crowd-sourced equity funding and to fix the tax treatment of employee share schemes, and applauds financial measures that make it easier for Australians to start new companies.

StartupAUS says many of the key issues affecting the startup ecosystem such as lack of venture capital, lack of technology and entrepreneurial skills development, and a lack of investment in soft infrastructure, have simply not been addressed in this year’s budget.

StartupAUS urges the government to use the learnings from other countries that have been set out in detail in the recent Crossroads report for building a competitive startup ecosystem in Australia, as it develops its own startup-focused policies and programs, “and to engage with the startup community to ensure it is developing programs that will have the maximum possible impact”.

According to StartupAUS, the government has no commitment to creating and implementing a national innovation and entrepreneurship strategy, but it wants one urgently developed and for a central agency to be established to drive the innovation agenda.It further comments that, “The lack of policy co-ordination and funding for implementation reduces the effectiveness of existing government programs, while decision making regarding regulations and support for startups is falling through the cracks as a result of there being no single portfolio with responsibility for innovation and startups”.

And, while acknowledging that the government’s announcement of plans to reduce red tape and lower costs of business formation is positive for small businesses, StarttupAUS says it is of limited relevance to tech startups, “which are still lacking many of the basicAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. support programs available to startups in other countries”.

In further criticism, StartupAUS harks back to the government’s budget last year announcing “saving of $845.6 million over five years” by scrapping Commercialisation Australia and the Innovation Investment Fund – “a reduction of support of nearly $170 million a year”.

Of this week’s budget, StartupAUS makes the point that the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program (EIP) is now the government’s only substantive program remaining to support tech startups, and that’s now been subjected to funding cuts totalling $27.3 million over five years. Via


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