// This post gives an overview of the scale and development of WA’s startup and innovation hubs. It also serves as an introduction to a very useful new tool co-developed by We Are Arising, StartupWA and StartupNews.
Only a handful of startup ‘hubs’ existed in WA ten years ago.
There are now more than one hundred and thirty ‘Hubs‘ – a term we use to encompass all programs, networks, spaces and support services aimed at early stage, scaleable innovative organisations (startups).
The 2015-16 StartupWA ecosystem report showed twelve incubators and twelve coworking spaces.
There are now:
- twenty eight structured support programs e.g. accelerators, bootcamps;
- eighteen recurring events e.g. hackathons, festivals and pitch events; and,
- fifty five co-working spaces.
Those WA numbers are comparable to those for Victoria (LaunchVic, 2018) and Queensland (Business QLD, 2019) whose State governments have historically invested an order of magnitude more into support for startups e.g. hundreds of millions vs. tens of millions.
Encouragingly, our analysis has shown that in 2018-19 State and Federal government co-investment in WA hubs did increase, reaching ten times the amount in any previous year in the last decade.
This investment has gone into hubs longer-term sustainability, new audiences, and new services to address gaps and needs. More expert support is now more accessible to diverse people and in more diverse sectors: females, students, regional entrepreneurs, and for health, eco-tourism, VR and social ventures.
The WA startup community should be proud of the growth in hubs and support, and satisfied that starting and scaling an idea from Perth is easier than ever.
And, just like a startup getting some traction is just the beginning for the WA ecosystem, what next for the whole ecosystem? The ‘valley of death’, ‘hockey-stick growth’, or steady sustainability?
Startup Genome’s ‘ecosystem lifecycle’ model gives insight into what we could expect, and suggests greater activation, resource attraction and globalisation are needed. This would mean more: startups and scale-ups, more $100m exits, sector specialisation, and globally connected entrepreneurs and hubs.
Anecdotally, this is starting to happen in WA organically: we have local hubs that are internationally influential in their sectors, more successful exits and re-investments, and stronger international via overseas missions, visiting experts and returning ex-patriots.
Growing our innovation ecosystem and support for startups, scale-ups and beyond will be challenging, as there is now global competition for talent and capital. Many other comparable cities, states and nations are extremely focused and well-resourced, so we will need to position intelligently, implement smart strategies, invest wisely, and collaborate locally.
Imagine what this could mean ten years in the future…
… 10x the scale of hubs, and amount of effective support,
… 10x the number of startups, scale-ups, and associated jobs,
… 10x export earnings from globally-relevant innovations.
The analysis summarised in this article, and in our database, can used to both drive and track that change.
The database can be used by:
- Startups to find what they need for grow their venture,
- Hubs to update their data and find others to collaborate with,
- Government and others to wisely direct their investment,
- All of us to use this in as ambassadors and advocates.
We are looking forward to sharing more analysis, insights and news from WA’s hubs and ecosystem. Please use the tool and provide feedback on how we can improve it.
Using the newly refined MENU system on StartupNews, you can visit HUBS at anytime… as well as all your favourite NEWS and EVENTS…