Research from the Tech Council of Australia reveals how Australia can become the best place to start and scale a tech business
A new report from The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) released on day one of the inaugural TCA National Summit shares urgent policy and legislative recommendations to address the challenges facing startups in Australia – to create an ecosystem where more Australian companies get a genuine ‘shot on goal’ to become globally successful tech companies.
The report finds that in the last decade Australia has become significantly more successful at starting new tech companies. Between 2013-25 and 2019-22, there has been a 78% increase in the number of startups founded. Australia has produced over 20 unicorn tech companies in this period – that is, companies worth over $1 billion dollars. The survival rate for early-stage firms in Australia is now on par with leading countries in the world, such as the US, UK, Canada, Israel, and Singapore. Most importantly, Australia has made significant progress in addressing funding for early-stage companies, with Australia on track to achieve the same per capita levels of funding for early-stage companies as the US by 2030.
The challenge now for Australia is to scale companies beyond Series B. At this point, Australia has a structural funding gap with significantly less funding available relative to other markets. Without action, this will equate to a $53 billion funding gap for scaling-up companies in Australia by 2030 compared to the US on a per capita basis. Scaling-up companies also struggle to find talent with experience in scale-up companies, partly because Australia’s tech sector is still relatively young.
Making Australia a great place to scale companies is critical because scaleups are the engine room of economies. They are vital to growth, jobs, and opportunity. They account for 5% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but employ 50% of the people working in SMEs. If Australia can address structural funding gaps for scale-ups and lift high potential scale-up survival rates to the same level as competitor markets, it will be worth 140,000 additional jobs to Australia by 2030.
The report titled Shots on goals provides six national and three State and Territory policy recommendations to embrace the opportunity of scaling a tech business in Australia and competing on a global stage.
Kate Pounder, TCA CEO, said “This report identifies policy changes required by government across all levels. There is already good work underway to improve Australia’s competitiveness – from skills and migration reforms to the establishment of the National Reconstruction Fund and state-based funds. But
we need to accelerate and coordinate these reforms to give Aussie companies the best chance of succeeding globally while creating jobs and growth here in Australia.”
“Australia is now a great place to start a tech company. We urgently need to ensure it is also a competitive and supportive place to scale it too.” Ms Pounder said
Robyn Denholm, TCA Chair said “Whether it’s sports, arts, industry or any number of other sectors, Aussies typically are among the world’s best. We’re a competitive bunch, we strive to be the best we can. We have a great “can do” attitude and we are not afraid to change the status quo.”
“The global tech sector is another area where Australia has consistently punched above its weight. Australia boasts a technology sector that employs over 935,000 Australians. That makes it equivalent to our seventh biggest employer.”
“These are businesses that have dreamed big from the beginning, sought to solve complex problems, have challenged the status quo, taken risks, failed, succeeded, grown, and prospered.” Ms Denholm said.
Kate Pounder added, “Australia is a nation of creative entrepreneurs and talented innovators who are seeking to address some of the most complex and significant challenges of our time. With over 140,000 Queenslanders working in the tech sector today, it’s critical that we continue to attract, retain, and upskill Australians, so that local talent and opportunities can be embraced.”
“We must encourage the next generation into the sector to unlock the ideas and potential to create a gold-medal future for Queensland and our great nation.” Ms Pounder said.
National policy recommendations
- Set the strategic direction for Australia’s tech sector
- Expand investment into Australia’s scaleups
- Enable more Australians to move into tech jobs
- Ensure policies affecting the global integration of Australia’s tech ecosystem are working efficiently and effectively
- Ensure regulatory frameworks and processes support the growth of the tech sector
- Regularly measure and review progress towards making Australia the best place to start and scale a tech company
State and Territory policy recommendations
- Support local strengths in tech
- Support greater adoption of technology in the delivery of public services
- Regularly measure and review progress towards improving the environment for starting and scaling tech companies