Successful start to agenda tour

James Riley
Editorial Director

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull continued his ‘innovation’ tour today, while announcing an investment partnership between First State Super and Fintech venture capital firm H2 Ventures at Stone and Chalk in Sydney.

Flanked by a rather impressive cabinet representation – Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Small Business Kelly O’Dwyer – Mr Turnbull was the guest of honour at the Fintech hub where First State Super announced it expects to deploy around $250 million into technology innovation.

Its partnership with H2 Ventures is an investment of capital that supports and encourages innovation in new technologies, while delivering attractive returns for fund members.

“Everyone say ‘innovation’ once more time”: PM says Fintech is a gigantic opportunity

Naturally, an enthusiastically large crowd turned out to hear from Mr Turnbull following yesterday’s long-awaiting National Innovation and Science Agenda release. And naturally, Mr Turnbull used the opportunity to hammer home the Agenda’s key points in relation to startups, knowing his audience.

“This partnership between First State Super and H2 Ventures recognises that there has been, to date, an insufficient appetite for this type of risk in Australia,” the Prime Minister said.

“But that is changing, there is plenty of money available – $2 trillion in superannuation assets – that, as we start to see more of invested in innovative ventures, we will see the fruits of.

“We’ve seen this year an explosion in venture capital funding – more than $400 million raised so far and that’s expected to grow to $600 million in this financial year – the highest amount raised in seven years and more than triple the amount raised only four years ago.

“The Fintech opportunity is gigantic. It’s as big as the financial services sector,” he said.

Reiterating the Agenda’s measures for early-stage startups – such as the 20 per cent tax offset for investments in early stage companies that are less than three years old , have less than $200,000 of revenue and less than one million in expenses and the 10 per cent tax offset in early stage venture capital partnerships – Mr Turnbull said these incentives from government are designed to tip a trend that’s already blossoming and to tip it further along the road of supporting innovation because “that is where we can secure our prosperity”.

A few selfies later, a quick tour of Stone and Chalk, a congratulatory message to the media for Joe Hockey on his confirmed appointment as Australian Ambassador to the United States, and a confirmation that he is “unruffled” by the most recent news poll showing a dip in his popularity, and the innovation-crusader was gone.

For the record, counted the use of the words ‘innovation/innovative/innovating’ 17 times.

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