Australia has a proud history of making the most of our international networks and being early adopters of new technologies. Our challenge now is to capture the competitive gains that come with pioneering innovation and leading the way in global markets.
And there have never been more opportunities on the horizon for Australians and Australian businesses. The internet and the technologies it supports reduce barriers to entry for Australian businesses, no matter where they are located. Right across Australia, anyone can sell their products and services to just about every corner of the globe.
Encouraging innovation is centre stage in the Government’s approach to economic policy making. The Australian start‑up community is growing. Improved funding conditions and growing entrepreneurial experience are helping drive the sector. It is clear the start‑up sector has grown strongly in the past few years.
But there is still a long way to go — for example, venture capital funding in the UK and Canada is significantly higher as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than here in Australia.
The Government is doing its part, having launched the National Innovation and Science Agenda to make sure the right policy settings are in place to improve the business and funding environment for promising projects right across the economy.
Meanwhile, the economics of start‑ups has fundamentally changed. Cheaper technology and open access to information on the internet have reduced the cost of starting a technology firm.
The mantra across the start‑up community is ‘global from day one’, recognising the opportunity of the global market.
Traditional businesses are also benefitting from advances in technology, with many investing in technology to achieve efficiency gains and deliver innovative customer service.
Start‑ups in their early phases of development rely on various sources of finance — recognising that they may not yet be earning revenue. Nonetheless, the potential global opportunities for start‑ups are clear, with around 40 per cent of those earning revenues also exporting. Australian start‑up firms are also experiencing success in developing technology products and penetrating overseas markets.
Companies that embrace innovation, that are agile and approach change confidently are more competitive, more able to grow market share and more likely to increase their employment. More jobs and more growth — that is the focus of the Government. And, with that focus, we want to help innovators contribute to defining Australia’s competitiveness and agility in our fast‑growing Asia Pacific region.
Export opportunities in the region are growing
As new markets open up for our exports, particularly in our expanding services sector, Australian businesses will see opportunities to invest in their productive capacity.
Free trade agreements and a more competitive Australian dollar facilitate this expansionary activity.
Exports of goods and services are growing at their strongest pace since 2000–01.
Exporters are expecting the recent free trade agreements to generate further export growth.
Increasing demand and profits for our exporters will support increased capital spending and employment in the future.