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The government is not to blame, you are

Thursday, 7 June 2012 | By Niki Scevak

The state of the Australian start-up community is due more to the people not starting new businesses than the easy-to-blame government.


The easiest of excuses in evaluating our start-up community is to blame the government. Someone didn't raise money? Blame the government! Venture capital in Australia is broken? Blame the government! Australians are moving to Silicon Valley? You get the idea.


The narrative of blaming a large, de-personalised entity that is responsible for “the public interest” is easy. However, the harsher more simple reality is that people not doing start-ups are really to blame. Yes, that's probably you reading this article.


Every person who chooses to remain at a job with a large corporate where navigating bureaucracy and maintaining process are valued higher than productivity and original thought, means the start-up industry is denied a person striving to create something in the world. Nassim Taleb famously tweeted: "The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary."


Every person who loads up on education debt and a large mortgage makes a conscious choice as to how they would like to live their lives. And when they make those choices, they are excluding start-ups from their life path.


The Australian start-up community is nowhere near on par with others because people want to spend most of their life at university and buy the most expensive house they can. It's really that simple. No grant or incentive will change that. Only people's choices of what is important will.


Ironically, the Australian Government offers an amazing array of help: you can get marketing spending refunded through the Export Market Development Grant, development spending refunded by the R&D tax grant and investment funding doubled through Commercialisation Australia. What more could you possibly be waiting for?


If you're complaining that the government should be “doing more” for the community then maybe it's time for you to look in the mirror and change the industry yourself. Start a company and make a difference.