NSW ‘Landing Pad’ targets foreign tech companies

New South Wales will get its first International Landing Pad before the end of the year, with the Minns government seeking to use it to attract new technology businesses to Australia’s most populous state.

Based at the Sydney Startup Hub, the Landing Pad will provide temporary desk space to businesses wanting to establish a presence in NSW at a time when inflationary pressures are weighing on the global economy.

The coworking facility already offers a Regional Landing Pad, which provides regional entrepreneurs visiting Sydney hot desks for up to three days at a time and meeting rooms.

NSW Industry and Trade minister Anoulack Chanthivong said the Landing Pad was designed to “make it easier for global businesses to set up shop in NSW”, and that the government had already received “positive interest already from companies overseas”.

“With a dedicated space at the Sydney Startup Hub, we can further enhance NSW’s position as the premier destination for international businesses expanding to Australia,” he said in a statement this week.

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Fit out works at the Sydney Startup Hub, which is located above Wynard in Sydney’s CBD, have already begun and are due to be completed in the coming months, ahead of the planned opening of the Landing Pad in November.

Plans for the International Landing Pad comes eight months after reports that the Sydney Startup Hub was being under-utilised in the wake of the pandemic, with most of the 11 floors originally slated for startups empty.

The former Perrottet government renewed the lease for five years in late 2022 at a cost of $14.3 million a year, according to the Daily Telegraph. The initial cost of fitting out the hub back in 2017 was $35 million.

At the time of the report, Mr Chanthivong said the government had “over-promised and underdelivered” with the hub, despite then minister Alister Henskens confirming the residency of 338 startups.

Minister Chanthivong this week also announced the expansion of the Female Founders Program, which will double in size under a new partnership between Investment NSW and the course provider, Tech Ready Women.

When it was last run in 2021/22, the program mentored 150 women on the various stages of the startup journey. It will now provide mentoring and training to 300 women with startup concepts over the next two years.

“Startups and small to medium enterprises generate over 40 per cent of total job creation in Australia, yet the sector is severely underrepresented by women,” Minister Chanthivong said.

“Just 16 per cent of startups globally are founded or cofounded by women, while only 25 per cent of women are in technology careers.

“We are committed to growing the network of female entrepreneurs and breaking down the barriers for women entering the startup space, recognising the valuable contribution they can make in delivering innovative services and solutions.”

Last month, the Minns government put more than $227 million worth of industry and innovation grant programs, including the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Ventures program, on hold, ahead of the state Budget in September.

Treasury is conducting a Comprehensive Expenditure Review, with around $7 billion in immediate cost pressures identified by the government in April – just a month in. Earlier this week, Treasurer Daniel Mookhey warned that tough decisions would need to be made to address the challenges.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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