Australia was the world’s 13th-largest economy in 2017 according to IMF estimates and it hasn’t suffered a recession for over a quarter of a century.
If you’re flexing your entrepreneurial muscles Down Under, Sydney’s a popular choice, but don’t dismiss Melbourne too swiftly — the state capital of Victoria punches well above its weight.
So when you’re looking for the right location for your Aussie SME, here are four reasons Melbourne’s a business hotspot.
1. Government support
The Australian government isn’t resting on its laurels in terms of supporting startup businesses.
Their government’s Research and Development Tax Incentive offers a refundable tax incentive for eligible enterprises with a turnover of less than AUS$20 million — this should take the financial sting out of developing prototypes and testing market demand.
And they also operate an entrepreneurs programme which supports businesses to commercialise services and provides innovation facilitation experts to identify knowledge gaps that prevent progression.
But you can find support from local government in Melbourne too — the City of Melbourne’s startup action plan assists innovators to launch and grow their businesses and expand into international markets.
2. Co-working culture
Leasing premises can be challenging for startup businesses — rents can be considerable and, should a new firm expand rapidly, it’s nigh-impossible to move somewhere larger before the end of your lease terms.
So co-working and serviced office spaces with flexible lease terms are often a better option — plus there’s always the chance you and your staff will rub shoulders with future collaborators.
And the co-working sector in Melbourne is in rude health, with Campfire, We+ and WeWork expanding their offerings in the city’s central business district.
If you choose to co-work in a well-appointed workspace, it can facilitate a smoother launch and cash savings going forward.
3. Transport links
When your business starts to grow, you’ll want to shuttle staff around Australia and further afield to set up shop and liaise with clients in new territories.
That’s no problem in Melbourne as its air travel hub is served by domestic carriers like Alliance, Jetstar and Tigerair — as well as international airlines Air Asia, Air Canada, Air China, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
And a long-awaited rail-link airport train link that will reduce travel times has been awarded central government fast-track finding after years of planning — but if you prefer the comfort of travelling to your flight by car, you’ll also locate parking at Melbourne airport easily.
The airport is also diversifying its passenger lounge provision, with a new pay-as-you-go area that all passengers can use — so you won’t miss out on a little pre-flight pampering if you’re not splashing out on business class tickets.
4. Melbourne life
If you and your staff are going to be based in Melbourne, it’s important that it’s an enjoyable place to live as well as an entrepreneurial enclave.
And there’s every chance you’ll enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer — it was named the world’s most liveable city by The Economist Group in 2017 for good reason.
The city is home to around 50 vinyl stores where you can dig in the crates for rare grooves for your collection, there are cool coffee shops and a craft market in Boho St Kilda and you’ll spot genuine Banksy murals dotted around town.
But if your prefer your culture a bit more highbrow, Melbourne Arts Centre regularly hosts spectacular opera and symphony performances.
Meanwhile, sports fans will be satisfied with international cricket, Aussie Rules football and horse racing and there’s a good choice of quality state and private schools for employees with families.
So there are four reasons Melbourne’s a business hotspot for startups — there’s no doubt your enterprise can excel in this environment.
Do you run a Melbourne startup? Share your advice in the comments section.