Australia features high up on the list of global entrepreneurs but data shows we are better at producing ideas than getting them to materialize into anything. And, as far as technology and entrepreneurialism goes, the critics say there is still so much more we could be doing to improve our business future.
Surprisingly, we are not leading in terms of venture capital in the developed world, one of the major criticisms provided for the flailing state of the entrepreneurial economy. Our business culture is still dominated largely by men, especially when it comes to entrepreneurs, with men outnumbering their female entrepreneurs by an astonishing ration of four to one.
Our entrepreneurial culture has taken a bit of a knock from critics who say that the Australian approach is lagging far behind that of other developed nations. The decline of the mining boom, along with the government’s challenges to replace it as a source of revenue, could mean the economy might lose its place in the world’s top 20 economies by the time we get to 2050. And the critics happen to think there is a viable solution in entrepreneurialism, if local businesses are prepared to take it up.
And, as we know, to launch new initiatives successfully, a health dose of venture capital is a base requirement. Venture capital is supposed to take up 0.03% of a developed nation’s gross domestic product but Australia is currently only using 0.02% of its GDP towards venture capital. By comparison, Israel spends 0.4% of its GDP on venture capital. Historically local entrepreneurs have managed to keep up with the global pack but we have managed to fall short of developing the ideas into success stories. It is certainly tough for businesses, especially in start up phase, but business can get easier to manage when it is done right.
The availability and cost-effectiveness of serviced offices has meant that even small companies and start ups can have a business address and professional frontline services, at a fraction of the cost of running their own office operations. Professional communications serviced and fully serviced office premises are now affordable for even one-man businesses or businesses where the executives spend most of their time traveling and do not require that much desk space.
Another area that has been quite difficult for small and start up companies to manage is payments. Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said last year that the Australian payment infrastructure had become dated and that it wasn’t doing much to service business owners. Since then however, a number of digital products have been released that have made the business of accepting clients; money easier and more convenient to manage.
What it means is that small businesses wanting to compete in the global market can accept payments from anywhere in the country, or the world, without need physical contact with the account holder. It also means they can make purchases of their own, wherever they can find the best rates.
Credit and debit cards typically become expensive for small businesses to process, with much of it being consumed through bank charges. From portable payment systems to international payments, technology has solved a number of logistical challenges that have plagued business owners for a long time. Technology has made a number of convenient, low-cost systems available that also provide valuable market intelligence and offer business owners the opportunity to track and monitor buyer behaviour and preferences.