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Small Business Minister Bruce Billson hopes the latest initiative in the start up sector will usher in an entrepreneurship “renaissance” and encourage more Australians to go into business for themselves.

Start Up Australia (SUA) is a not for profit organisation that is part of a global movement which emerged in the United States in the wake of the global financial crisis. It has now grown to 44 separate countries and, here in Australia, it seeks to take business owners “back to school” and equip them for success. Some of the brains behind the concept include founders of the Fortune Institute, Brian Sher and Siimon Reynolds, real estate magnate, John McGrath, and Naomi Simson, founder of online gift retailer Red Balloon.

SUA sells itself as an organisation formed by real entrepreneurs to assist other entrepreneurs. One of the stated goals of the initiative is to reach out to 1 million small businesses and provide them with the tools and information to succeed in the marketplace.

An enthusiastic Mr Billson launched the initiative this morning ion behalf of the federal government, saying the nation’s two million small businesses put the “energy and enterprise” into the Australian economy.

“Together we need to support the inspiration behind the creation and growth of start-ups; the invention of new technologies, products and services to boost Australia’s economic activity and international competitiveness,” he said.

SUA is an attempt to educate independent minded people and equip them for the trials of running their own enterprise. It provides a free online entrepreneur school or what has been dubbed an “entrepreneur academy” to anyone interested in going into business.

For example, the SUA website allows business owners to sign up to a 12-week free small business course hosted by Mr Reynolds, providing a step-by-step guide on how to succeed.

Some of the nation’s top entrepreneurs have also joined the cause to help act as “mentors” and inspire others in a five day online conference. During this event 50 leading business figures will share their business insights.

Speaking at the launch in Sydney this morning, Mr Sher said there were 741,000 unemployed people in Australia. He said that 300,000 new businesses each year were offset by 300,000 businesses that closed each year. “We don’t have a net increase at all,” he said.

Mr Sher said that Start Up Australia would encourage more Australians “to view entrepreneurship as a legitimate career and as an exciting path to go down.”

The initiative was launched with the support of the Treasury Department and was sponsored by American Express, MYOB, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The Fortune Institute.

John Osborn, ACCI’s Chief Operating Officer, said it was important to “make it easier for startups to establish and become successful innovators and wealth creators”.