Aussies to storm Start-up Nation in search of innovation spark

A delegation of young Australian firms in cybersecurity and fintech will take part in Tel Aviv accelerator program

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, third from left, at opening of Landing Pad in Tel Aviv (Courtesy)
Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, third from left, at opening of Landing Pad in Tel Aviv (Courtesy)

A delegation of 10 Australian startups in the field of cybersecurity and fintech will take part in an accelerator program in Tel Aviv to help boost Sydney’s position as an innovation hub in the Asia Pacific region.

As part of their activities in Israel in September, the participants will meet with Israeli startups, attend the DLD Tel Aviv innovation conference, meet with Israel-based multinationals and gain access to leaders in the venture capital industry and entrepreneurs.

The push is part of the so-called Landing Pads initiative by the Australian government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia, as commodity prices have dropped globally and the country is witnessing a downturn in the mining sector, which accounts for a large part of its economy. Israel and Australia signed a bilateral cooperation in R&D and Technical Innovation in April, in which both countries pledged to invest $2 million into joint innovation projects with a focus on cybersecurity, agribusiness and water management.

“Australia is seeking to become a more innovative and entrepreneurial economy,” Dave Sharma, Australia’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, said by phone. “We have been blessed with natural resources, and that is both a blessing and a curse, as we have had no need to focus on emerging areas for growth.”

“But now, with the drop of commodity prices and the freeing up of mining sector resources, we must reach out to new frontiers if we want to preserve our high standard of living. Israel is an example in this area. Start-ups have gone global and entrepreneurs have developed skills to turn a good idea into a commercial proposal. We want to see what we can learn and take back home from your ecosystem of big ideas and ambition.”

The Tel Aviv landing pad, set up in June this year, is one of five created by the Australian government globally. Besides Tel Aviv, innovation hubs have been set up in San Francisco, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore this year.

The Tel Aviv delegation will be the Landing Pad’s first, out of four delegations planned per year around different subjects, ranging from fintech to social investment to the legal complexities facing startups globally.

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