Regional Startups 3 MIN READ

NSW Premier Mike Baird has today announced Jobs for the Future, a NSW Government initiative developed through its Jobs for NSW body that will aim to deliver one million jobs to the state by 2036 by encouraging the establishment and growth of small businesses and startups.

“NSW leads the nation when it comes to job creation, but we know the world is changing and we must keep adapting with it,” Baird said.

“Our small, fastest growing companies create the most new jobs in NSW; supporting these ambitious and innovative firms is essential to grow resilient jobs for the future.”

Of the $190 million in funding for Jobs for NSW, $50 million has been put aside for a loan guarantee program for gazelle companies, those growing revenues by 20 percent a year, with a $3.5 million direct loan pilot program also to be established.

Through the pilot program, the government will provide loans of $100,000 to $300,000 directly to emerging businesses which have plans for continued fast jobs and business growth.

Also to be established is a $10 million fund to grow accelerators and incubators, and direct grants for startups.

Jobs for NSW will also look to establish partnerships with accelerators and incubators through which these programs can recommend startups to be considered for MVP or Building Partnerships grants, funding of up to 50 percent of approved project costs to a maximum of $25,000 per project at its start or up to 35 percent of approved project costs to a maximum of $100,000 per project, respectively.

These grants have been upped from what they were under the previous Innovate NSW scheme, with MVP grants formerly $15,000 with funding only released upon completion of a project, and Building Partnerships grants upped from the one quarter of total project costs on offer as Collaborative Solutions grants.

Through a $30 million program, Jobs for NSW will also look to grow regional companies, and both state and international competitiveness a factor, another $30 million fund will be established to help attract big international companies to base their regional headquarters in NSW.

Established nine months ago, the private sector-led, Government-backed Jobs for NSW has examined how to go about answering the question of “what should the State of NSW do in the next three years to secure more opportunity, inclusion, engagement and productivity for our workforce in the 2030s?”

The resulting Jobs for the Future report has informed the new plan, with Baird unveiling a new $190 million plan to address the challenges of increasing global trade in the knowledge economy, task automation and unbundling, an ageing population, and new challengers in faster-changing industries.

The plan looks to address these challenges in four ways: nurturing the state’s globally competitive growth sectors, opening doors for entrepreneurs, skilling up for the knowledge economy, and drawing on everyone.

Anthony Roberts, Minister for Industry, said, “The innovative financial support programs we’re announcing today have been specifically developed to have maximum job creation impact for NSW.”

While the funding will be welcomed by the small business and startup communities, the state is also waiting for the release of the government’s innovation strategy, a ‘whole of government’ policy plan that will look to make it easier for startups to actually start up and do business.

The government first opened public consultation for the plan in March. Now closed, the consultation period called for input across eight core issues, including boosting access to funding and investment, the development of innovation hubs, and further opening access to government data.

Creating a friendlier regulatory environment that supports innovation was also a key issue, with the government releasing a policy framework in January for the embracing of the sharing economy after regulating rideshare services last December.

Image: Mike Baird. Source: NSW Government.

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