Regional businesses transforming rural economies

Nearly a quarter of Australian start-up business are founded outside of capital cities, according to a new report from Universities Australia and Startup Muster.

The report indicated that start-ups (typically a newly emerging, entrepreneurial venture) are projected to create more than half a million jobs across Australia over the coming decades, and that much of the burgeoning start up economy is already in regional Australia.

More than 20 per cent of Australian founders work in regional Australia. “I think we were really surprised at those numbers,” said Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson.

“But what it does suggest is that regional economies … not only need, but are going to be quite well supported by, regionally-based start-up companies,” she said.

Startup Muster surveys the Australian start-up ecosystem annually, and founder Monica Wulff said growth was trending towards the regions. “You look at places like Newcastle, Wagga, Wollongong, Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, where you’ve got a strong local focus and you’ve got a university and local business coming together, and it’s phenomenal.”

Start-up founders Simone Eyles from Wagga Wagga is part of new trend across regional Australia.

Ms Wulff calls it the ‘Silicon Paddock’ — a play on words with the famous area in the San Francisco Bay area where many technology companies are located. “You can have, through technology now, incredibly connected communities that don’t have to be geographically in the same area,” she said.

Start-up founder Simone Eyles, from Wagga Wagga in regional NSW, is a self-described ‘dinosaur’ of the Silicon Paddock. She was home alone and bored after giving birth to her son, and had a “crazy idea” about opening a drive-through coffee shop. “I’ve always had a cafe coffee for work every day, it’s my daily guilty pleasure,” Ms Eyles said.

“I spoke to my friend Marius, now business partner, about making me a cool ordering system for my drive-through. Now their coffee-ordering app 365Cups has turned over almost $9 million in orders and has new outlets jumping on board every day.

Originally Published by ABC Rural, continue reading here.