Universities and the Start-up Economy

May 4th, 2017

There are more university graduates than ever and it turns out that they are driving Australia’s start-up economy.  A project between Universities Australia and Startup Muster found that 84% of Australian start-up founders have degrees.entrepreneur

Many universities have restructured their courses to provide the next generation of graduates with the knowledge and resources to found their own businesses. It is becoming increasingly common for students to take courses in entrepreneurship and then develop a start-up business in conjunction with a university incubator program.

Some universities state that up to 40% of their students and recent graduates have founded, or are considering founding, their own company. This is a massive change from past cohorts, who generally expected to work for an employer after graduation. Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University, Professor Colin Stirling said that universities are no longer concentrating on training students for specific jobs, as those jobs may not exist in a few years.

Last year, Australian start-ups raised $568 million, 73% more than in 2015. This is great news, as new businesses help to grow and diversify the Australian economy. By the time today’s kindergarten students start applying for university, over 500,000 jobs will have been created by these companies.

It’s not just the cities creating these start-ups either. Rural Australians are using technology to market farm-based businesses globally – the ‘silicon paddock.’ Thanks to technology, they do not need commute long distances to the cities as they can work from home. In fact, 23% of start-up founders are based in regional and rural areas.

The Startup Muster survey found that top skills for founders included software development, business, marketing, engineering, scientific research and legal skills. The most popular fields for start-up founders with a PhD were in the medical technology fields and for dual degree and honours holders, fintech. Graduates with a single bachelor degree preferred the content and media industry.

Around 23% of founders surveyed had used the R&D tax credit to fund their business. If you are running a start-up, you may also be eligible for a refund on your R&D spending. Why not find out? Contact the experts at Swanson Reed R&D tax consultants for an obligation-free assessment.