It’s hard to do startups in Australia, they say. Australian entrepreneurs have often lamented the lack of opportunity on home soil, citing Silicon Valley as the place to be if you really want to build a successful startup.
Well I think they’re wrong.
Did you know that Australia is quickly becoming an entrepreneurial paradise? After steady declines in 2008 and 2010, Australian entrepreneurial activities have returned to the pre-economic crisis levels of 2007. Per capita, we’re sharing the lead with France for the quickest recovery of new enterprise. While the US and Canada are struggling to reignite their startup industry to the glory days of Silicon Valley (and a bleak economic forecast looks set to keep it that way for a while yet), Aussie innovators are jumping back on the horse with enthusiasm. In the March 2011 quarter alone, 37,910 new businesses commenced operations.
And it’s no surprise why. With the rapid expansion of online technologies, coupled with the ability to rent, outsource and up skill what you want, when you want, it’s never been easier to launch your very own startup with the click of a button.
It’s also incredibly easy to start a business. Australia ranks second in the list of countries with the least restrictions to starting a business (only behind my native soil, New Zealand), and number seven in the list of countries with the least administrative burdens for startups.
Helping things along for new business is a decline in bankruptcies, after hitting their peak in 2008. Many economic commentators point to the scare of uncertain economic conditions prompting conservative business cash decisions as a key factor in keeping levels so low. We’re also seeing the rise of the savvy business owner; the sheer level of knowledge and information available in real time, on demand, online has lead to a new breed of entrepreneurs that have greater business nouse than ever before.
So it’s no surprise that our latest MYOB Business Monitor Report uncovered that startup business owners have a far more optimistic outlook about future business revenue than established business owners. Close to half (49%) of the startup owners we surveyed expect increased revenue over the next month, compared with only 19% of their established counterparts. We also found that 44% of startup business owners had more sales or work in the pipeline than usual, which is a sharp contrast to the 20% of established business owners that reported the same.
All things considered, it looks like a pretty good time to be a startup in Australia.
There’s plenty of doom and gloom in the media about industry conditions, and I’m not going to sugar coat it. Things are tough out there. But with relatively low unemployment rates, a fairly steady housing market (despite widely reported mortgage stress) and such healthy levels of startup activity, it’s my humble opinion that we’re seeing signs that things are going to start looking up.
What’s your view on the startup industry in Australia?