The New South Wales Government appears to have drawn a line through Barangaroo as the site for its temporary Sydney Startup Hub, as it nears a dotted-line conclusion to negotiations for space near Wynyard, according to sources close the deal.
It’s been a big week of news for incubators and co-working spaces. On a day when Victorian innovation minister Philip Dalidakis announced the state would create a Melbourne Startup Hub at the Goods Shed North in Docklands, and the private sector-led Lighthouse project said it would not proceed with its Barangaroo workspace, and Sydney’s iCentral by the Start Society unveiled a new startup hub in St Leonards on the city’s north shore.
Jobs for NSW, the government agency driving the Sydney Startup Hub program, still won’t say where it is looking to house it 15,000 square metre hub, although the Wynyard Green building is firming.
Negotiations have been underway regarding the fitout and the furniture, but no decision has been made on the location. Jobs for NSW says an announcement will be made by the end of the month. Maybe the NSW budget this week will help shake things lose, although it is hard to understand why.
The Sydney Startup Hub has fallen behind schedule, and Jobs for NSW is facing on-going criticism for a lack of consultation and the opaque processes that have governed the selection of the site.
It also stands accused of “sucking the oxygen out of the ecosystem” – an extraordinary accusation against an organisation charged with super-charging the sector.
One startup leader has also complained loudly that Jobs for NSW has not recognised the growing complexity of the ecosystem. It does not look like it did a year ago, and the applying a slow-moving cookie cutter to its accommodation issues is not helping.
Regardless, Jobs for NSW will announce the location of the Sydney Startup Hub by the end of the month.
More interesting is Philip Dalidakis’ announced plans for a Melbourne Startup Hub as one of the state’s strategies for attracting the best FinTech’s in the land. Mr Dalidakis last week fired the starter’s gun on the project, releasing a request for proposals to create the space at the Goods Sheds North in Docklands.
The hub aims to strengthen the local FinTech sector by bringing startups together with investors, industry corporates and researchers in one concentrated workspace.
Targeted mentoring services at the hub would help resident startups develop new skills, connect with customers and bring new products to market.
The hub would also strengthen links with international FinTech companies and enhance Melbourne’s position as an attractive location for investment.