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Salt: Fast-growth Australia ideal for start-ups

By Oliver Milman
Wednesday, 08 September 2010

The rising population in high-growth hot spots across Australia provides ideal conditions for start-up businesses, according to demographer Bernard Salt.

 

 

Salt, a partner at KPMG, told StartupSmart that rapidly expanding suburbs are delivering opportunities to budding entrepreneurs, adding that the government must aid small business growth.

 

KPMG unveiled a report that found that the western suburbs of Melbourne are now the fastest growing region in Australia, outstripping the Gold Coast. The districts of Wyndham and Melton added 18,000 new residents over the 12 months to June 2009, compared to 17,000 additions in the Gold Coast.

 

Western Melbourne, along with the northern suburbs of Brisbane and north west Sydney, are identified by Salt as prime locations for start-up businesses.

 

“In areas like this, people are more likely to set up a business associated with property construction and infrastructure, such as a plumber or an electrical contractor,” he says.

 

“There is $180 million in new retail spending every 12 months in western Melbourne and not all of that will be in large shops. Strong growth means strong entrepreneurial opportunities.”

 

“The Gold Coast, for example, isn’t as singularly old as it once may have been. There’s been a lot of growth there in the commuter suburbs, hanging off the back of the railway line.”

 

Age is a crucial factor in start-up growth, Salt stresses.

 

“Small business is associated with a particular stage of life, around 25 to 40-years-old,” he says. “People at that age aren’t as likely to have mortgage commitments. Lots of computing firms, for example, are run by young, well-educated people with no personal commitments who know that they can fall back on mum and dad.”

 

“Once you get into your 50s and 60s, your passion and exuberance is dampened. You don’t have that youthful drive. I think that the idea that baby boomers are keen to start a business when they retire isn’t as big as people think it is.”

 

Government help is also important, Salt adds: “Government may look at breaking down red tape and create incubators and facilities in these growth areas. Libraries should be more than just that, they should be community support centres where one-man bands can go for their computing and photocopying.”

Comments (4)

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amandagome
Bernard, our research shows that the most ambitious and successful entrepreneurs actually start their companies between the age of 30-50 so when they are in their 50s and 60s they are running very successful businesses.
As for your passion being dampened at 50-60?
No way! This is when you have the house paid off, the school fees paid, the kids off your hands and you get a whole new lease of life!
Bernard, I have long wondered why you haven't set up your own business. Some names for you:
The Populater.com.au
Salt & People.com.au
Bernard's Backyard
Any other suggestions?
amandagome , September 08, 2010
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skitj
Amanda, I think the point Bernard is trying to make is that passion and age are, at many levels, intrinsically linked. It is not to stay that some 50-60 year old's don't still posses extreme levels of passion but it is more likely to be directed in other directions other than start up businesses. As you say, most people in this age bracket have paid off their house, paying school fees is behind them (well in most cases anyway) and have a new lease of life. But I would should suggest at this stage in life, the passion they still have will be direct towards enjoying the fruits of their hard labour in pursuits outside of the business world (e.g grand kids) other than returning to "base camp". The people in our age bracket who are driving start up business are striving to reach this type of mountain summit so we too can enjoy the view!
skitj , September 08, 2010
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amandagome
Simon, that's the old fashioned view. Your average 50 year old who looks after themselves will be active, passionate, fit and active well into their 80s. Technology and better broadband will mean they have great freedom of choice and flexibility. The word 'retirement' will become redundant as people don't just seek to remain engaged but view after 50 as the next stage of theor working life.

I meet heaps of people in their 50s planning new ventures, taking up new careers or buying into businesses! Plus there are tens of thousands of business owners in their 50s and 60s runing successfu small businesses with as more passion than Richard Branson. Plus they see the grandkids and 'give back' as well!
amandagome , September 08, 2010
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skitj
Amanda, my message wasn't taking aim at any age group or criticising any opinions offered. Actually, I tend to agree in most part with your views :-).
It is my father's 70th birthday next week. He is no Richard Branson nor does he possess the youthful drive he once did. But I know he still is committed and passionate as ever in successfully running his own small business. I am continually inspired by his drive and commitment and hope to emulate his many achievements by the time I reach his age!
All I was trying to convey from my last message is that making the decision to start a new venture from the ground up later in life (my father commenced his latest venture at age 65) may present more challenges than between the ages of 30-50.
It definitely not impossible but may be a involve a difficult decision, even when maintaining a proactive and healthy lifestyle, when it is balanced against directing your energy into other areas of your life, like grand children.
skitj , September 08, 2010
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