Dear Startup Founder, the Government Owes You Nothing

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Burning paper

All this talk about needing government grants, begging for tax breaks for innovative companies and the like makes me wonder if the startup community has an inflated sense of entitlement.

What happened to personal responsibility? In a caring society we help individuals when they need it. If someone is homeless, needs help finding work, etc of course we, as members of society, should help, but handouts because you want to start a for-profit business? You’re joking, mate.

Let me be clear here. There has never been any guarantee of equal prosperity in Australia. Our entire system is set up to provide equal opportunity, not equal profits.

On a macro level, the Australian government needs to drive direction and encourage change within industry. We cannot keep digging up natural resources forever, or we’ll need to start adding huge bloody holes to Maps of Australia. We can’t keep contributing pollution to climate change, that’s not something we want to win: World’s Best Polluter. We need to stop highly skilled employees leaving for better opportunities overseas.

Our car manufacturing industry has died. RI-bloody-P. Other manufacturing and heavy industries aren’t far behind. We will face worrying levels of  unemployment in these sectors without encouraging growth and re-skilling (ditch that hi-viz jacket for a tee short, folks).

On the flip side, tech startups have an opportunity of massive global growth, significant value creation (see Australian unicorns like Atlassian, Canva and Campaign Monitor) and large employment scale.

Tech startups typically have little damaging emissions (however hosting and computing power can’t be underestimated as a source of pollution), usually don’t use limited natural resources and can encourage highly skilled Australian workers to stay working, here in Australia, effectively reducing our ‘brain drain’.

However, all of this knowledge aside, is it the governments mandate to use taxpayers money (that is, yours and mine) to help create an inflated market, where subsidies help offset the true costs of doing business, hiring people and innovating? I’m not keen on spending my taxes on that shit startup idea.

Sure, the government should be providing tools and resources to help drive the direction of future business into using our minds, not our valuable resources, to effectively shift our exports. They don’t, however, actually owe any of us trying to build profitable businesses, anything at all.

Imagine if some of the energy spent whining about the lack of government funding was actually directed at growing your startup, don’t you think we’d be a shitload better off? I do.

Creating your own business, such as a startup, is an investment that you make personally. Sure, it is a gamble, and may fail, but that’s a choice you should make with your money, not with taxpayer funds.

So, I hate it to break it to you, but the big G owes you bugger all, punk.