Study Finds Australia to Be Haven for Start-Ups

A recent survey published by the Queensland University of Technology, with data provided by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, indicates that Australia is a safe haven for startups—at least for the time being. The study starts from the premise that entrepreneurship is one of the main catalysts of a healthy economy, since it helps generate new jobs, it encourages competitiveness among players in the same field and drives both efficiency and productivity of the economy at a macroeconomic level. That being said, the findings of the survey are impressive in many respects, especially if considered against the backdrop of the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The poll says that, aside from Australia, the only country in the world with a higher rate of start-ups is the United States. According to GEM data, the proportion of Australian entrepreneurs to the general population is 6 per cent, while in the U.S. it’s 8.3 per cent. South Korea is the only other country in the world with more new business owners, except for Australia: the percentage is 4.7 for Australia, and 5.1 for South Korea. Moreover, 33 per cent of new business owners in Australia expect to open up at least five new job opportunities over the course of the coming five years, while 11 per cent hope to create upward of 20 new employment opportunities.

The study also notes that the rate of businesses that were discontinued in 2011 in Australia is relatively high—yet no higher than in other developed economies around the world. The survey’s authors take this as a sign of economic health, in which the country’s business-making population is involved in a continuous renewal process. This having been said, the International Monetary Fund’s annual ‘Doing Business’ report has also recently revealed that it’s easy to do business in Australia: the country actually ranks second the world over in terms of how easy it is. Business electric power costs are the sixth lowest in the world and the country is also ranked among the ten countries where doing business is not a strenuous process.

Infrastructure and communication are also accessible in Australia, even though in most corners of the world, they rank among the industries with the lowest level of competition. To boot, the Australian business scene has one another beneficial trait: new, updated solutions are continuously made available to the would-be entrepreneur. Rental Company Regus allows new business owners to virtualize their headquarters by purchasing a virtual office solution bundle pack, via Virtual offices provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to outsource call answering services and benefit from the prestige of a business-appropriate address for formal mail exchanges.

There is one sector, however, in which Australia’s entrepreneurs could use some improvement. While they are optimistic about the unemployment rate and their bid to improve it, most owners of new businesses do not harbor global aspirations. The ‘international competitiveness’ indicator in the QUT-conducted survey has the country stuck at number 19, behind Belgium and the United Arab Emirates (yet ahead of Taiwan, Finland, Japan and Spain). Only 12 per cent of Australian business owners say they are interested in making it big overseas and competing with similar brands at a global level. The authors of the study explain that this situation is also due, in part, to Australia’s geographic location. The country is rather remotely positioned from other countries. Meanwhile, the countries which ranked high for this marker either cannot find the competition they need on their low-activity local markets, or are located in areas of the globe where their direct competitors are right across the border (for instance, in Europe).