ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN AUSTRALIA
Background and Economic Scenario
Australia is a developed country, a prominent economy in the Asia-Pacific region, being world’s 14th largest economy and 10th highest in per capita income. Major sources of income include mining exports, telecommunications, banking, manufacturing, tourism, and international education. The services sector such education, financial services, and tourism account for 70% of the GDP. The Australian economy continues to grow steadily in comparison to the neighboring economies. However, a slowing growth in recent years is attributable to the slowing economies of its major trading partners.
Australia has a population of approximately 26 million, 30% of which accounts for immigrants, making it the world’s 8th largest immigrant population. It pursues a policy of multicultural immigration from across the world. Uppma Virdi an Indian-Australian lawyer, hustled to startup with her passion for tea, over time she launched Chai Walli in Sydney and has not only successfully left her career in law to pursue the business fulltime, but also has been awarded Australia’s business woman of the year. An inspiring story for many migrants to be motivated to follow their passions and succeed down under.
Australia is ranked first with the highest average wealth and most of its cities rank in the Top 10 Most Livable Cities in the World. With 3.4 persons per square kilometer, Australia is the most sparsely populated country. The eastern seaboard is heavily populated compared to the other regions in the country. Australians have traditionally maintained and struck a good work life balance in their lives and career. Having completed my MBA in Melbourne, Australia provided a firsthand experience of a typical Australian approach towards business and taking risks in starting up. Back in early 2000’s conversations over starting up in Australia or doing business in Australia would often conclude negatively due to the lack of a sizable market to launch or expand a business. However social media and technological advances over the last decade has changed this mindset to a more positive outlook.
Entrepreneurship is booming in Australia with Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane being the major startup hubs. Major universities offer a number of courses in Entrepreneurship both for full time and part time enrolments to promote it as a career path. The average age of an entrepreneur in Australia is approximately 36+, which signifies considerable professional work experience post-graduation, sufficient appetite to take risks in terms of investing time and money behind the idea. Also Australia ranks 3rd amongst developed economies when it comes to seniors in the age group of 55-64 involved in entrepreneurship.
Australians primarily save for retirement and hence the country has one of the world’s largest superannuation fund at approximately A$2.5 trillion. A small fraction of this is used by the government for venture capital investments. With a limited number of venture capitalists and the general attitude of the population towards investments and savings in safe instruments such as superannuation or real estate property makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to raise funds from the already limited options available.
Australia is ranked as the world’s eighth most attractive destination for foreign direct investment in 2018. It offers significant opportunities for foreign investment in a variety of sectors, including agribusiness, mining and minerals processing, renewable energy, medical technology and wealth management.
A popular success story with regards to investments in the Renewable Energy sector is of Tesla along with the local government and Neoen, installed the worlds largest lithium ion battery at the 100MW Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia. This project was completed in record time in response to a once in 50-year storm that damaged critical infrastructure in South Australia and causing a state-wide blackout. A perfect example of leveraging global entrepreneurial success and skills to solve local problems.
The total entrepreneurship activity rate at 12.2% is higher than the average rate of 9.2% which puts Australia in league with USA, Israel and UK. Australian companies also encourage entrepreneurship amongst their employees via employer sponsored intrapreneurial activities and programs with in the organisations.
As per the World Bank survey with Ease of Doing Business, Australia ranks 14th in the world. The average time taken to register a business in Australia is 2 days, making it the 7th easiest place in the world to start a business. Ola the Indian app based cab aggregator startup expanded its operations internationally by launching in Sydney, Australia in March 2018 and has since expanded its operations within the country to 8 other cities.
Prominent Startups from Australia
99 Designs a platform which enables designers to compete to get paid.
Canva an online graphic design platform that makes it easy for users to design anything from social media graphics, presentations, social media posts, posters, invitations and more.
Atlassion and enterprise software company that helps businesses plan, build and launch software.
Lifx is the light bulb company that reinvented the light bulb, making them brighter and controllable from any smart device with Wi-Fi.
Campaign Monitor known for email marketing and automation tools.
Sighting the global trends and economic environments, it is evident that lots of Australians will indulge in Hybrid entrepreneurship – a mix of being employed in a professional role within the corporate world as well as experimenting entrepreneurship with side hustles. Corporates will expect greater intrapreneurial efforts from their employees to get things back up to speed. Sustainable, environmentally friendly, ecological, green ideas will see a lot of entrepreneurial action.
PS: We would love to hear from and feature entrepreneurs from Australia. Thoughts and conversations on this topic will be appreciated through the comments section below or you can write to us privately.