Master's Thesis (Report)
In collaboration with PwC Chair in Digital Economy

Sustainability of Startups in Australia:
a Policy-Maker Perspective


Startups represent key drivers to fuel Australia’s shift toward a sustainable and knowledge-intensive economy. Yet, Australian startups face sustainability issues. They have low-survival rates and face difficulty to find skilled employees or raise investment. This report analyses up to two thousand Australian startups to help policy-makers (federal and state governments) make informed decisions to tackle obstacles to startup sustainability.

Australian startups analysed

This report’s findings show Australian startups experience greater difficulty to achieve three years of consecutive growth, or to revive from downturns, compared to other developed economies (first study, section 2.2). Key conditions to achieve such sustainability are found to be linked with initial investment in resources (asset, labour) and founder(s) previous industry experience (second study, section 2.3). Australian policy-makers play a key role in enabling these conditions, and are currently focusing on the right issues by supporting high-potential startups (third study, section 2.4). Yet, policy-makers’ support has room for improvement and suffers from inefficiencies as former attractive industries keep being over-subsidised (third study).

achieve 3 years of consecutive growth

On a micro-level, the federal government is recommended to amend the “Entrepreneur’s Programme” eligibility requirements (changing revenue threshold and list of attractive industries, adding growth pattern and years of industry experience), and application processes (proactive v. reactive), to more efficiently support high-potential startups (first recommendation, section 3.2). On a meso-level, Australian policy-makers are recommended to improve (second recommendation, section 3.3):

As a result, Australian startups will be able to take advantage of their ecosystem and environment to sustain growth, and use more efficiently policy-makers’ micro-level supports.

receive government support

Download Full Report
June 2016 | 47 pages | 1.4 MB | PDF


Illustration Credits: Nick Abrams and Ralf Schmitzer (Noun Project), and Freepik.