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Google Australia Urges Innovators to Stay in Oz

|May 29|magazine8 min read

Google Australia is urging the nation to step up its support for technology start ups to deter more innovators from making their way overseas to build their businesses.

“If you take a big risk in this place you can face-plant very quickly and get punished for it ... here failure is seen as a terminal blackspot,” said Google Australia’s managing director Nick Leeder at an event in Sydney last night.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s reporting, Mr Leeder said Sydney must become something of a ‘Silicon Beach’ to keep up with the cities abroad currently booming with innovation – especially those who attract Aussie entrepreneurs.

Currently, there are more than 17,000 Aussies residing within the San Francisco Bay Area, and 65+ start ups in Silicon Valley were either developed in Australia or founded by an Aussie, said Mr Leeder.

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“We already have the key ingredients: top talent, world-class educational institutions, ambitious people and potent investors,” Mr Leeder said in The Age. “We're investing in the high speed broadband infrastructure that powers global reach. We're big enough to accomplish big things on the world stage, but we're also small enough that even a couple of people with a great idea can have a big impact.”

The City of Sydney is making strides in the right direction: a start up workspace opened at 66 Oxford Street in February to give entrepreneurs a place to collaborate on projects. The space has been so successful that two more buildings on William Street will open for similar functions.

"You can start a technology business these days with the money in the bank ... and as a result there's a lot of young businesses starting in bedrooms around Australia,” said David Vandenberg, who serves as the director of co-working space and entrepreneur community Fishburners.

"When they start looking for money they just find that the doors keep closing for them so they just end up inevitably looking overseas.”

Lord Mayer Clover Moore MP has reportedly announced her aim to secure more finances for Australian start ups, asking her staff to "look at ways the city could act as a broker or blind date some of these venture capitalists with start ups."