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Katrina Hodgkinson

NSW government announces inquiry into growing regional startup ecosystem

The NSW government’s Committee on Investment, Industry and Regional Development has announced that it will be conducting an inquiry into how to grow the state’s regional startup ecosystem.

The Committee will examine the effectiveness of existing government policies and programs supporting regional areas, and look into recommending new initiatives that could help break down the barriers to entry for regional startups.

These possible reforms will aim to capitalise on the advantages associated with being a startup located regionally, in turn boosting the strength of regional businesses.

Other alternate factors influencing regional startups will also be looked into.

The Committee was established by the government in 2015 to conduct inquiries into regional industries including tourism, trade, finance, water, land, and innovation, and issue recommendations.

Committee Chair and Mootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson, said: “We’ll be looking at what support is available at the moment both within and outside NSW and how we can make it easier for regional start-ups to get up and running.”

To fuel the inquiry, the Committee is reaching out to the public and regional businesses for their thoughts around regional startups and initiatives.

“We’re keen to hear ideas and suggestions on this issue through submissions to the inquiry,” said Hodgkinson.

“With more than 20 percent of Australian founders living in regional areas and the growth of startups trending towards regional NSW, it is paramount that there is support for these business communities in their early stages.”

According to a joint report from Universities Australia and Startup Muster, almost a quarter of Australian startups are founded outside of capital cities, with the entire startup ecosystem estimated to create over half a million jobs across Australia over the next decade.

Innovation across regional Queensland was found to be particularly strong, with the latest Startup Muster report finding that roughly half of Queensland’s 19.3 percent founder base is located outside of Brisbane. 

Looking to further regional innovation, the Federal Government recently announced that $4.5 million in grants have been supplied to groups of regional farmers to support collaborative farming projects.

Delivered by Southern Cross University under the government’s $13.8 million Farm Cooperatives and Collaboration Pilot Program, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the grants would help accelerate innovation in the agricultural sector.

“These grants are helping interested businesses make the next step, allowing groups to move towards forming a cooperative or some other collaborative business arrangement, giving farmers greater control of the supply chain and more bargaining power when it comes to negotiating with buyers,” he said.

Amongst the grant recipients is the Professional Fishermen’s Association in NSW, who received $109,225 to fund the a study on the feasibility of shipping live eels to China, while Perth-based company Sweeter Banana Cooperative received $57,275 to research the business development of a ripening and marketing facility for bananas.

You can find more about the regional inquiry here.

Image: Katrina Hodgkinson. Source: Daily Telegraph.

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