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The Startup Sector Wants Government Grants Lifted To $1 Million For Early Stage Tech Companies

Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB

The federal government is in the process of setting up its $484.2 million Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Programme, announced in the budget earlier this year, and the startup sector is hoping to mould the inner workings of the new funding mechanism.

The program is due to be fully functioning by the end of 2014, but some of the finer details are still being worked out.

In an open letter, startup representative body StartupAUS is demanding the grant cap be lifted to $1 million from the current suggestion of $250,000 per company, that all sectors be eligible for the grants and that the money is allocated solely on merit.

The problem with this is it’s taxpayers money that’s being played with here and if more than 90% of startups fail, the question remains are Australians really going to be happy with public money being invested in this way?

“There’s already a low level of capital in Australia for tech startups,” Peter Bradd said, adding “$250,000 isn’t very much money, depending on what you’re doing.”

Bradd recognises that building a viable Australian tech startup sector isn’t going to happen via government funding alone.

“I think the government needs to amplify what the community is doing,” Bradd said, adding it could be through tax exemptions, entrepreneurial visas or funding.

“It’s too risky for investors to do it [alone],” he said

“We need to communicate the benefits of the tech sector more broadly. There’s so much value to be delivered from technology, we have to develop the capability in Australia.”

Here’s the letter. (Click to enlarge.)

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