Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Australia：Specialization, Diversification, and Regionalization
According to the Australian Startup Status Database (https://your.startupstatus.co/), the number of Australian startups and entrepreneurship service agencies has steadily increased since 2005, ushered in a substantial increase around 2014, and reach the peak in 2018. In the following years, the relevant data declined slightly, mainly because the limited space and resources led to the relative saturation of entrepreneurial projects, making it difficult to set up more incubators, co-workspaces and new entrepreneurship centers. The rapid development of Australia entrepreneurship ecosystem in the past few years is mainly due to Australia's "National Innovation and Science Agenda" issued in 2015. Under this framework, the federal government has increased its strong support for the domestic innovation and entrepreneurship development, which also includes the continuous investment of 1.1 billion Australian dollars. In addition, federal and local governments’ financial support for innovation and entrepreneurship has reached 700 million Australian dollars. The federal government takes the national strategy to support entrepreneurship as the top-level design, and the local government launches various support projects with its own characteristics, forming a national entrepreneurship support network. Therefore, when the pandemic of Covid-19 broke out in 2020, Australian entrepreneurs and their companies were in a relatively stable state.
Since 2018, entrepreneurship ecosystem in Australia has become more specialized and diversified. Venture capital no longer play the dominant role in the entire national entrepreneurship ecosystem, and others such as angel investment are becoming more mature. In addition, many people who are engaged in work related to startups, such as those involved in the development and maintenance of incubators, would choose to join as investment fund managers, and then may choose to work in other organizations related to entrepreneurial services, as a result, entrepreneurial service personnel are increasingly specialized and understand all aspects of the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The emergence and concentration of different types of startups in the urban entrepreneurship ecosystem will help enterprises get access to high-quality and sophisticated labors with diverse backgrounds, enjoy the efficient integration and utilization of different resources, and cross-industry knowledge spillovers.
From another perspective, we can also see the other kind of diversified development in the Australian entrepreneurship ecosystem in recent years, that is, with the joint support of the government and enterprises, more groups who were previously excluded from the entrepreneurship ecology due to skills, thresholds and resources have also been counted in. For example, women, youth and indigenous people etc. Among them, the Australian government supports women entrepreneurship through a financial allocation of 52 million Australian dollars. In 2022, the federal government announced a $10 million investment in the establishment of an Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Labour Centre in the Northern Territory, aimed at improving the employment and entrepreneurship skills of Indigenous people in northern Australia.
Due to the unbalanced population distribution and economic development, there are bound to be differences in capital investment and resource planning in entrepreneurship among different regions of Australia, which has become one of the significant features of Australia's entrepreneurship ecosystem. In addition, the differences in resource and usage in different regions further diversify the focus of entrepreneurship in different geographic regions in Australia. For example, Sydney, which has a highly developed financial and manufacturing industry on the south-east Gold Coast, will have more fintech-related startups than other regions.
Entrepreneurship and the SDGs: Governments take the lead, but role models should not be underestimated
In September 2015, 193 member states of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit formally adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which entrepreneurship is closely related to industrial innovation, social equality, sustainable communities, environmental climate, etc. . In recent years, the Australian government has mobilized all stakeholders in the country's entrepreneurship ecosystem to comprehensively promote startups to integrate sustainable development goals into the development goals. The first step is to increase financing support. Led by the government, diversified funds such as angel investment, venture capital, crowdfunding, and government funding have been pouring into start-up companies, actively encouraging them to shift some of their attention from the net profit to sustainable development issues. Secondly, set up a special fund, such as Minderoo Foundation, Paul Ramsey Foundation, etc.. Enterprise executives and shareholders are usually oriented to maximize profits, and the establishment of special funds can encourage enterprises to share the government's responsibility for solving sustainable development problems.
Of course, in addition to helping companies build awareness of sustainable development goals, the Australian government itself has made many major initiatives on environmental and resource-related sustainable development issues. For example, the government allocated A$5 billion to set up the Future Drought Fund and established eight innovative research bases across the country to address drought issues; allocated A$1.2 billion to establish seven research canters dedicated to water research. In addition, the government has also invested 700 million Australian dollars in civil aviation construction and the establishment of the Australian Space Discovery Center.
Although the government's leading role in the sustainable development goals is undeniable, the role model companies in the pursuit of the sustainable development goals in the entrepreneurship ecosystem cannot be underestimated. Mike Cannon Brookes, one of the founders of the software company Atlassian, is so concerned about the environment and climate that he set up a venture company to buy one of Australia's largest energy companies to enable company towards a "carbon neutral" model. There are many similar cases. When some outstanding entrepreneurs take the lead in paying attention to and committing to sustainable development goals, it may lead to more companies to follow in their footsteps, while also urging the government to strengthen the implementation of sustainable development goals as well.