Engaging with Government at the Innovation Industry Consortium meeting

Engaging with Government at the Innovation Industry Consortium meeting

StartupWA took another step on our Government advocacy program yesterday. 

The Innovation Industry Consortium meeting, convened at the Premier's office, provided another forum to encourage the Government to pursue an open, collaborative approach to the future of our State. We and others in the room also recommended a number of practical steps for growing the startup industry.

Co-Creating Policies & Government Advocacy - for the community, by the community

A key plank of Startup WA's activity is ADVOCACY. That means developing policies, meeting with decision-makers and promoting debate of strategic initiatives in support of our mission - to create the local foundations to enable global success for the ventures of tomorrow.

Startup WA's Top Ten Recommendations for WA's State Government are on our website here.

Underpinning each of these recommendations are evolving strategies. To ensure these are representative of the startup community, we are undertaking an ongoing co-creation process — inviting experienced industry practitioners and community members to contribute, discuss, draft and drive strategies specific to their areas of interest.

We have created a public board on Trello which sets out the recommended process, policy goals, considerations and other criteria. You can check it out here.

Broadly, the goals of StartupWA policies are to:

  • Improve key metrics of the ecosystem, benchmarked against other cities
  • Increase the likelihood of WA-based technology startups succeeding
  • Reduce the barriers to starting, finding cofounders, accessing support and training, and growing and scaling your venture in Western Australia
  • Reduce the barriers to for WA technology startups to compete for contracts and procurement with government and established businesses in WA
  • Grow the 'startup' culture and mindset    

Considerations and guidelines as to what makes a good policy include:

  1. Alignment with StartupWA’s mission, values and vision: growing WA as an attractive location, creating the local conditions, enabling the global success, of the ventures of tomorrow
  2. Popularity of the recommendations with the ecosystem, including with reference to published strategies, documents, and based on surveys of the sector
  3. Effectiveness in achieving the WA government’s stated aspirations, given the current economic, social and political conditions, and based on successful implementation in comparable jurisdictions
  4. Relevance - this has several meanings: First, is it relevant to the industry right now. Second, is it relevant to the person / organisation to whom we are advocating i.e. are this actionable for them, a material concern.

Policy Process

These considerations guide our policy process.

To ensure consistency and effectiveness we adopt a standard format for all draft policies. In summary the approach is:

  1. The case for change — Why is this important? Why is now the time to act?
  2. Key principles — What? How? Who?
  3. First Steps — What do we need to get started?

To ensure policies are impactful we seek to identify a number of measures for success - ie. metrics; “what would success look like?”

If support or action by the Government is required, we also try to give consideration to which of the ‘levers’ of government does each policy touch (awareness, expenditure, regulatory).

Over time, we would like to add resources and examples of where other, similar policies and initiatives have been adopted elsewhere, what worked best and how each can be improved upon.

You can see an example of a draft policy statement here. Please feel free to add your comments too - these are moving documents, with strategies intended to evolve in line with community needs and expectations.

How can you help?

The top ten policies for advocacy have their own board on the public Trello page here. In short, they are:

  1. Look forward - be positive about role of startups in our future
  2. Review risk - change Government procurement criteria
  3. Open Engagement - early industry partnerships
  4. Focus on Transformation - leverage major projects
  5. Proactive strategy - update the scope and content of State strategy
  6. Entrepreneurial education - ensure entrepreneurship is an attractive career option
  7. Enabling regulations - identify regulations that enable industry development
  8. Increase employment - concessional payroll tax rates for startups
  9. Encourage co-investment - sidecar funds with angel investors; and
  10. Targeted attraction - win the battle for talent

We are experimenting with co-creation of a couple of those policies at the moment.

If you are interested to help guide a policy or strategic initiative in support of winning the battle for talent or changing Government procurement criteria please let us know.

If you are interested in any of the other policy areas and would like to be contacted as and when we go through the co-creation process for each of those then please reach out via email now too.

If we are to be effective advocates, it is crucial that Startup WA provides a positive, visionary voice for the innovation and technology sector. The first step, though, is always to listen.

So... What major policy changes and reforms would you like Startup WA to be advocating for? Are you interested in co-creating a policy in your area of expertise or passion? How can you help and who else should we be speaking to?