Katrina calls for start-up solutions - NSW Nationals

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Katrina calls for start-up solutions

Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson has urged fledgling regional entrepreneurs to help shape the future of start-ups by contributing to a NSW Government Inquiry she is chairing. 

The NSW Parliament’s Committee on Investment, Industry and Regional Development has launched an Inquiry into the best ways to support the budding entrepreneurial ecosystem of start-ups in regional NSW.

The closing date for public submissions has been extended to the end of July, and Katrina urged interested locals to bring forward issues for the Inquiry to consider.

She said regional NSW was forging a reputation as a hub for start-ups and the NSW Government was keen to nurture and support those businesses. 

“About a quarter of start-ups come from regional locations and we want to make sure we’ve got reforms and initiatives to reduce barriers and capitalise on the advantages associated with regional start-ups,” Katrina said.

“We want to see what we can do to perhaps offer greater incentives for them to be successful.

“There is so much innovation happening in offices and homes across our region and we should be celebrating and supporting that.”

Young-based start-up entrepreneur Ben Reid, who co-founded global agricultural supply chain business AgriDigital in 2015, said there were simple steps the government could take to support start-ups at every step of the journey.

“So many start-ups fail but a lot of that comes back to an aversion to risk, a flawed idea or a lack of energy,” Mr Reid said.

“But there are small things at the embryonic stage that hinder someone starting a successful business, and it can be as simple as not knowing how to register a business, set up a website or obtain finance.

“If the government could have someone in regional areas new business owners could turn for help on these things, it would be hugely beneficial.”

He also suggested co-ordinating networking events where successful start-up entrepreneurs could share their stories and inspire others.

Access to working spaces was also a key issue, he said. 

"When my co-founders & I started AgriDigital, we were based out of the Sydney based hub Stone & Chalk, which was a great environment where many like-minded start-up businesses conceived their ambitions,” Mr Reid said.

“Similar spaces in regional NSW would provide people with the right environment to kick-start their ideas.

“There’s no reason the government couldn’t identify a room in the local library, or an empty office space on the main street, as a place where someone could set up and work on their start-up.”

Katrina said there were already a number of government resources available to start-ups but many operators were unaware of them. 

She said the NSW Government’s Business Connect program (www.industry.nsw.gov.au/business-and-industry-in-nsw/businessconnect) offered valuable information for new start-ups, while the NSW Small Business Commissioner (www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au) could also assist.

More than 40 per cent of Australia’s start-up founders were based in NSW, a recent survey revealed.

It also found more than 20 per cent of start-ups had received a government grant of some kind.

Submissions to the inquiry can be made at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2443

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