Asia venture capital needed for economic boost

Financial & Technology Centre Advisory Group andrew bragg Guy hedley atlas advisors australia Asia visa venture capital

19 February 2021
| By Chris Dastoor |
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Australia needs to create better incentives to attract business and investment from Asia to help boost economy, according to the Financial and Technology Centre Advisory Group.

That was the central theme of a report based on the recommendations from the group to the Australian Government by chair of the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, Senator Andrew Bragg.

The group was comprised of industry advisers who convened with Senator Bragg in August 2020 to advise on how to strengthen Australia as an Asia-Pacific business and financial services hub.

Guy Hedley, Atlas Advisors Australia executive chair, said the principles set out within the report were critical to guiding the future of Australia’s economy.

“Most importantly this means removing barriers to business growth and attracting business, investment and expertise to help drive industry and innovation,” Hedley said.

Hedley said reforming the Significant Investor Visa program was key to Australia’s competitiveness in attracting wealth and investment from prominent businesspeople in destinations such as Hong Kong.

“Venture capital is critical to growing Australia’s next generation of internationally competitive employers,” Hedley said.

This was because start-ups and the early-stage segment of venture capital were in desperate need of funds.

Statistics showed that the number of early-stage funding deals in Australia had declined from around $320 million in 2016-17 to $120 million in 2018-19.

“The Significant Investor Visa program could be the driving force behind Australia’s ailing venture capital sector, having already contributed more than $11 billion in direct investment to Australia so far,” Hedley said.

“Wealthy migrant businesspeople can provide the investment and expertise to help build local businesses, industries and employment.

“Another key aspect to boosting venture capital is creating better incentives to attract world talent, who become the founders of internationally competitive companies.

“These people bring unique expertise and experience to Australia with a multiplier effect on domestic employment.”

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