A number of themes in the discussion forum, comments in the online survey and email submissions were identified. This is a summary:
The predominant feedback (25% of comments in the online survey and submissions) was the need for entrepreneurship skills and knowledge delivered through programs, workshops, meetups, seminars or international speakers. The need to leverage connections with TAFE and universities as a source of talent and as education providers was highlighted as was the specific need for mentorship.
· 94% of online survey respondents said it was ‘useful’ to support events to connect startups with investors.
· 89% of said it would be ‘useful’ for the City to facilitate startup education courses.
· 86% said ‘useful’ to support investor recruitment and education events.
· 75% ‘useful’ to hold an ‘introduction to the Sydney ecosystem’ business seminar (although 11% did not).
The comments (15%) also focused on the need for and lack of affordable office space when tech startups are launching and scaling and the opportunity for City of Sydney to provide this. A number of comments also referenced the opportunity to create a tech hub which would enable startups to connect, share ideas, mentor and partner with others.
· 93% of survey respondents agree tech startups need more affordable office space.
· 84% agree startups need to be located close to investors, accelerators, customers.
· 72% agree startups need to be located close to each other and 26% neither agreed nor disagreed.
· 91% of respondents considered suburbs within the City’s local government area to be the best place suited to tech startups and their entrepreneurial networks.
· The top four areas were CBD (20%), Pyrmont or Ultimo (19%), Redfern or Eveleigh (18%) and Surry Hills (17%).
Support for action plan
· In the comments (13%) which were about support (or not) for the action plan, strong support was demonstrated.
Access to markets
In considering increasing business, or access to markets, the comments (11%) focused mainly on how valuable international connections are in gaining skills, obtaining customers or market share and investment and that City of Sydney can leverage these through its international relationships. The feedback also mentioned that the City can ‘open its order books’ to procure goods and services from tech startups and raised the value of the City creating open data.
· 93% of survey respondents consider opening up City data and encouraging testing ideas ‘useful’.
· 89% consider a change to procurement policies to enable startups would be ‘useful’.
· 87% consider it ‘useful’ to leverage sister-city relationships San Francisco and Guangzhou
Entrepreneurial culture and community
The lack of diversity and the need to support women entrepreneurs to start and grow global businesses was highlighted in the comments (10%) about diversity in Sydney’s entrepreneurial culture and community. Comments also raised the need to raise the profile of Sydney’s entrepreneurs and the community’s success stories.
· 78% of survey respondents consider it ‘useful’ to support initiatives for women to access co-working spaces and mentoring
· 72% consider a marketing campaign of Sydney’s tech entrepreneurs ‘useful’ (although 14% did not).
Computer science skills / talent
· 8% of comments were specific comments about the need for computer science skills in our community and that limited access to skilled employees is a barrier to growth.
· 83% of survey respondents consider ‘how to code’ classes in libraries and youth programs ‘useful’
7% of comments related to the impact of government regulation, primarily the barriers created by tax legislation.
6% of comments related to the implementation of the action plan, with a focus on the need for the work to be entrepreneur-run and that it needed to encompass all types of tech companies, not just ‘digital tech’.
6% of comments were made which provided general information about organisations and the role they played in the ecosystem to inform the action plan.
5% of comments were made about the infrastructure tech startups businesses require; fast NBN/internet speed is essential infrastructure but lacking in Sydney.
5% of comments were about business education; the cost of and need for legal advice or education but also that the needs of employees need to be addressed.