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Australia’s startup scene brims with innovative potential

Australia is embracing new ideas in innovation and exploiting new sources of economic growth for the “fourth industrial revolution,” said its top envoy to Korea, encouraging firms to invest in the country’s thriving startup ecosystem.

Australia’s fast-growing start-up ecosystem, supported by the government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda announced in December 2015, provides great opportunities for Australian and international startups to test and build their businesses, said Ambassador James Choi at the investment seminar, titled, “Start Me Up,” in Seoul on Thursday.

The event introduced Australia’s startup ecosystem to Korean entrepreneurs, featuring insights from experts who have launched their businesses in Australia, and worked to build connections between the two countries’ business leaders in innovation-driven industries.

Australian Ambassador to Korea James Choi (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
Australian Ambassador to Korea James Choi (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)

“A better understanding of the start-up ecosystem and how we can support innovation through startups can help achieve new pathways to innovative growth,” the ambassador said. “The Australian startup ecosystem includes over 500 support organizations that are becoming increasingly sophisticated and interconnected.”

Supported by government programs and funding, Australia is playing host to numerous agencies that provide support to global entrepreneurs, encompassing incubators, accelerator programs and foreign investors, he added.

According to the Australian Embassy in Seoul, the country is home to internationally successful startups, including as Atlassian, Freelancer, CultureAmp, Canva and Prospa.

A culture of innovation has helped Australia become one of the world’s fastest growing hubs for tech, with Sydney ranked in the top 20 cities worldwide to launch entrepreneurial business in the 2017 Silicon Valley Global Start-up Ecosystem Report.

“Thirty-six percent of startup founders in Australia were born outside our country, and a third of them had moved to Australia just less than 10 years prior,” stressed Choi, arguing that collaboration between Australia and Korea can drive job creation and innovation in both countries.

“Australia’s start-up ecosystem fosters business growth through overseas trade. Over a quarter of startups in Australia generate revenues through export.”

The Sydney Startup Hub is a new innovation center backed by the New South Wales government and the first of its kind in Australia. It offers more than 17,000 square meters of space across 11 floors in the Sydney central business district, and houses startup co-working providers Stone and Chalk, Fishburners, Tank Stream Labs and The Studio, among others.

A survey by Startup Muster last year showed that nearly 30 percent of startups received an Australian government-funded grant or scholarship.

At the seminar, three entrepreneurs spoke on Australia’s venture environment. They were Peter Park, co-founder of Assurety, a Brisbane-based investment and transaction advisory firm assisting investors and growth companies; Jean Lee, director and co-founder of Edwy, a Sydney-based educational tech firm providing an artificial intelligence-based search platform for international education; and Kim Yoo-jin, director of New South Wales Trade and Investment at Austrade Seoul.

Officials from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency were present at the venue at D-Camp in southern Seoul.

By Joel Lee (