The role of accelerators in the Australian startup ecosystem

Thursday, 2 June 2016  Media Alerts

A new report has assessed the value-add of Australian incubators and accelerators to the high-growth innovative start-ups they support, as well as to the local, regional and national innovation ecosystems.

UNSW Business School’s Martin Bliemel was the Chief Investigator of the report. Co-Investigators were Ricardo Flores, and Saskia De Klerk from UNSW and Morgan Miles from the University of Canterbury.

The report explored the impact on the development of entrepreneurial networks, improving the performance of the supported start-ups, and providing generally positive economic and social outcomes.

While the focus was nominally on incubators and accelerators, other support organisations for start-ups were considered, including co-working spaces, angel groups, mentoring programs and training services.

Martin Bliemel​ is a Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He says “the report reveals the explosion of support organisations in Australia such as accelerators and co-working spaces. Many of these organisations only emerged within the last 3 to 4 years, highlighting that their business models are also relatively new and prone to changing.”

“We also revealed considerable heterogeneity in the business models. While hard performance metrics are hard to come by, their direct impact was immediately evident in the advancement of entrepreneurial skills for the start-ups they supported. Almost more importantly, accelerators have an indirect impact on the broader ecosystem. They bring people together who can learn from each other and they inspire others to ‘up their game’. This results in faster business development, more start-ups and more early stage deals beyond the accelerator’s four walls.”

We concluded that it is recommended to directly fund support organizations and improve the R&D tax incentive process. Direct support for accelerators might be in the form of co-investment in the start-ups or co-funding of the organisation’s operating costs.”

​The report is available at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website. ​

UNSW Business School is also launching a MOOC on how to validate your start-up. Rather than teaching the principles of entrepreneurship in a passive way, the MOOC actively encourages students to get real feedback from external stakeholders about their idea.

Martin Bliemel says the MOOC reflects aspects of the programs offered by accelerators, in that it helps students find a real product-market fit. “The course is offered on-demand, can be started any time, and modules can be repeated as often as necessary and taken out of sequence. There is no pressure to finish a rigid program within a short time-frame,” he says.

Details are available on  the business school website

​​​​​For further details contact Martin Bliemel on 02 9385 5671

Media contact: 

Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 9887 

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