By John Barilaro, Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business
Everywhere we look at the moment, it seems industries are being transformed, traditional firms disrupted and business models reborn.
We see new businesses cropping up in all sectors: from aerospace to aged care, two of the industries where you can see examples showcased at the NSW stand at CeBIT Australia 2017.
We can all see how the way goods and services are sold and delivered is being fundamentally changed by digital processes. This brings many challenges, for workers, businesses, educators and governments, in how we participate in the new economy.
It’s important to know when to get out of the way and let natural entrepreneurial spirits flourish but, at the same time, there is a lot we can, and must, do to help create the environment for our people to prosper in this exciting new world of doing business.
That is why it is a core priority of the NSW Government to help create the best innovation ecosystem we can. We want the best possible environment for entrepreneurial activity and start-up enterprises to take advantage of an ever widening horizon of future work and business opportunities.
The start-up sector in Australia has already taken off, but we are still really only at the beginning of the journey. PwC forecasts business start-ups will be worth more than $100 billion to the Australian economy by 2033, creating more than half a million jobs in the process.
By almost any measure, NSW is already the best place in the country to start and grow a business.
We have the fastest rate of economic growth, the strongest business confidence, and the highest rate of new business creation with an incredible 20,000 new small businesses in 2016, a 3 per cent increase in just a year.
Plus, we have Australia’s largest finance and ICT sectors, along with world-class research institutions and the most R&D expenditure of any state.
And it’s no coincidence of course that CeBIT Australia is not only held in Sydney, but has thrived here to become the largest and most successful business technology event in the Asia-Pacific region.
We have a great springboard for the future in NSW and I’m proud to see our state is already a principal centre for start-up businesses in Australia, while Sydney is also emerging as a go-to start-up hub in the region.
NSW hosts 41 per cent of the nation’s start-up founders and 42 per cent of its support network - that’s all the accelerators, incubators, investors, mentors, educators, co-working spaces and government initiatives needed to sustain businesses when they’re starting out.
All the hard work and innovation of NSW entrepreneurs and our 710,000 small businesses is shining through in many ways. For example, our enterprises both new and established took out 30 of the 46 prizes at the Australian Small Business Champions Awards this month, recognised for their innovative approaches to new and better ways of doing business.
For a glimpse of what’s to come, I urge you to visit Startup Alley on the CeBIT showfloor, to meet 12 of NSW’s most innovative and ground-breaking start-ups.
From businesses like Obelisk Systems, building the hardware to make scientific experiments in space easier; Spot Parking, delivering real-time information to help city drivers find a parking spot; and Infocare, offering online comparisons of carers in the fast growing disability sector.
But, there remains much to do to build on our great foundations and help to open more doors for our current and future entrepreneurs, not just in Sydney, but throughout Regional NSW, to thrive and create the one million new high-skill jobs we are going to need in the next 20 years.
High-growth, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are already the silent engine room of the turbo-charged State economy, but we aim to lift the proportion of these ‘gazelles’ to 5 per cent of all enterprises, up from 3.2 per cent currently, and help them tap into high-growth export markets from their beginnings.
The Government-backed, private-sector-led Jobs for NSW is stepping in to fill key gaps in the innovation ecosystem, providing sound financial support to innovative start-ups and SMEs, along with thought leadership, mentoring and networking support.
Jobs for NSW is just one piece of the puzzle. It is a key part of our coordinated Innovation Strategy that is connecting government, business, industry, and the research and community sectors, like never before.
Other critical elements include the Sydney Startup Hub, where the support community - those accelerators, incubators, investors, and mentors – will seamlessly integrate with our start-up entrepreneurs on a large scale.
And the new Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, home to a unique collaborative where 11 NSW universities and TAFE NSW are working in partnership, will help create the ideal conditions to bring on the next generation of local entrepreneurs - 1000 a year.
The NSW Government has lit the innovation fuse across the State, and our start-up expo at CeBIT Australia 2017 shows the dividends of our investment are already paying off.
We want to transform our regional communities with greater connectivity and collaboration and make our cities world leaders in entrepreneurial activity.
NSW Government is the Official Partner for CeBIT Australia. By supporting the best, fully networked ecosystem for start-ups in Australia we will ensure NSW is the best place to work, live and prosper.
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