Promoting the value of entrepreneurship to the Australian economy will be the focus of new StartupAUS chief executive officer Peter Bradd.
On Friday, StartupAUS announced Bradd, a foundation member of its board, would become the organisation’s first ever CEO. Prior to joining StartupAUS, Bradd was a founding director of Sydney co-working space Fishburners and the founder of personalise postcard startup ScribblePics.
Bradd says he wants to work to change the perception of entrepreneurship in Australia.
“People say things like those entrepreneurs are good at selling the dream and putting their hands out, but what do they really contribute to economic growth?” he says.
“People in government ask things like why support technology entrepreneurs when nine out of 10 fail and those that don’t go overseas. I really want to change that conversation. It’s the wrong conversation to be having. PwC estimated tech could create 500,000 jobs by 2034.”
Bradd argues that narrative makes it sound like startup founders are segmented from the broader Australia community.
“Entrepreneurs are a group of people with similar needs. Innovators across every industry, be it financial services, mining, agriculture, aged care, health services, transport,” he says.
“You’ve got people creating apps and websites to aggregate or provide services through tech enablers. People creating high technology, like Wi-Fi, which was created in Australia. Then you’ve got a whole heap of different things.
“They need venture capital. A higher percentage of their staff need to have technology skills. They’re entrepreneurial, they need entrepreneurship skills and education. There’s a whole heap of things they all need, but they do work in industry.”
Bradd says Australia’s startup ecosystem is growing organically but could do with a push.
“Australia is quite far behind and the way that ecosystem’s grow is they need to grow the ball and push it down the hill and it will then pick up speed and size,” he says.
“That’s the PayPal effect, and before that the GE effect. The IPOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google created 4000 millionaires. And those 4000 went and created new businesses, they had money, they had knowledge. They knew how to work in a high growth startup and they knew each other. They knew how technology worked and they spawned some amazing companies.
“Australia’s ecosystem is growing organically, we just need a bit of support.”
StartupAUS also announced that Steve Baxter would retire his position on the board to become the organisation’s chief advocate. Andrew Larsen, investor, and founder of co-working space SyncLabs, joins the board.