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The Prime Minister’s office and Pollenizer have joined hands to launch a government tech start-up incubator

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The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is partnering with Pollenizer, an established Australian incubator, to deliver DataStart – an open data initiative to support data‐driven innovation in Australia.

Data‐driven innovation added approximately $67 billion to the Australian economy in 2013. It is estimated that the Australian tech startup sector has the potential to contribute over $100 billion (four per cent of GDP) to the Australian economy by 2033.

DataStart advances the Government’s election commitment to work with the private sector on data‐related, joint public‐private projects. The initiative will find, incubate and accelerate innovative business ideas that leverage openly available data from the Australian Government.

What does DataStart have to offer?

The winning start-up will be decided through a competitive selection process, culminating in a showcase event on 18 January 2016. Shortlisted applicants will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges from government, industry and investment organisations, with their ideas judged on criteria such as the level of innovation and commercial viability.

The successful start-up will be incubated from concept to delivery as part of the nine month Pollenizer Success Core Program. The start-up will also be supported by a team based out the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who will assist the startup in accessing government data, customer discovery and technical support.

DataStart is an opportunity for start-ups, incubators, big corporates and Government to work together to deliver cost effective and innovative digital services.

It is sponsored by corporate partners, Optus and Google. PwC Australia is the strategic adviser for the initiative. Support is also being provided from CSIRO’s Data61, Rozetta and the Australian Information Industry Association.

Pollenizer Investments has also partnered with Right Click Capital to offer a $200,000 seed capital investment. If both firms mutually agree to invest in the idea, the successful start-up will be able to access the funds to grow their business and draw a salary during the incubation period.

A series of information nights will be held around the country during November. For more details and to secure your place at an information session, visit: www.datastart.com.au.

What exacty is DataStart here to change?

Daniel Ringrose, Partner at Pollenizer, explained the program in detail below:

Policies under previous leadership created investment and research grants, hackathons, open data platforms, and adviser networks. Yet despite best efforts, the tech start-up community did not embrace these offers at scale. The opinion of many entrepreneurs was that these were too slow and cumbersome to engage with.

They were often focused around small business or established companies where business models are known and proven. Start-ups innovate to disrupt industries by discovering new business models, not replicating the past proven models.

Daniel-Ringrose-Pollenizer
Daniel Ringrose

This project differs in four ways:

  1. The focus is not on just ‘starting’ companies.

By sponsoring an incubation program it allows founders runway to find a globally scaleable and valuable business model, and not just initiate projects and just hope they scale. Government now understands that a fast failure should create learning insights, and new ideas can pivot.

  1. The thought leadership has been entrusted to experienced start-up founders, rather than well intentioned public servants with big organisation mentality.

This brings credibility and empathy to the state of tech startup founder challenges. Partnership with world class private-equity startup VC investors also ensures the right questions are asked when making decisions to find high-growth potential opportunities.

  1. Government is now backing founders to pursue concepts in industries they are passionate about, and use domain expertise.

Prior initiatives were focused on solving government challenges that may have failed internally even with big budgets. Previously concepts had to meet pre-determined government societal objectives to get support.

  1. Open data will be a powerful tool, not just a prescription.

Founders are being given freedom and support to creatively ‘mash-up’ information and discover new value we haven’t even thought of yet.

Founders can pursue their big vision without restrictions to comply with mandated themes or outcomes. It’s Founders, not the data, that will make this program succeed.

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