Start-up year to drive our future innovation economy

13 May 2021

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) welcomes the Federal Opposition’s focus on universities as a key driver in fostering Australia’s next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators in tonight’s Budget-in-Reply.

Labor’s Startup Year policy will provide 2,000 graduates and young businesses with a year-long opportunity to access mentoring at our university campuses, learn from our academic experts, access our world-class facilities, and test new business ideas.

ATN currently supports student entrepreneurs, and hosts hundreds of start-ups and micro-businesses at our campuses and through Curtin Accelerate, Deakin ManuFutures, RMIT Activator, UniSA Venture Catalyst and UTS Startups.

Critical to Australia’s economic recovery is investment in human capital, as well as fostering the entrepreneurialism and ingenuity of Australians. We strongly believe a university education, including extension programs like Startup Year, should be accessible to all Australians, regardless of their background or circumstance.

Australia’s world-class income contingent loan scheme, HELP, is one of Australia’s greatest policy innovations having served us well for more than 30 years. It has played a direct role in expanding access to higher education without the barrier of up-front costs.

ATN looks forward to working with Labor on developing this policy idea to ensure additional debt does not serve as a barrier for students, and that Australians from all backgrounds can have the opportunity to further their skills or business ideas at one of our world-class universities.

Quotes attributable to ATN Executive Director, Mr Luke Sheehy:

“Labor’s Startup Year policy rightly recognises that Australia’s universities play a critical role in driving new ideas, innovation and opportunity in the Australian economy.

“ATN universities strongly believe that all Australians regardless of background or circumstance should have the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and business acumen as part of their university experience.

“As Australia’s leading university grouping for industry collaboration, innovation and enterprise, our universities, students and graduates are uniquely placed to take advantage of Labor’s proposed Startup Year policy.”