A NSW Government website

Accelerating NSW: Insights from startups and startup support organisations

The second Accelerating NSW report, supported by Investment NSW, presents an analysis of CAISH-focused data from the 2023 Startup Muster survey of the Australian startup ecosystem. The new report contains quantitative analysis and targeted recommendations, building on the ecosystem mapping, literature review and insights from qualitative interviews in the first Accelerating NSW report.

Startup support organisations including coworking spaces, accelerators, incubators, and startup hubs (what we call CAISH entities) have increased in recent years but there is limited understanding of their impact on NSW and Australian economies.

The NSW Innovation and Productivity Council’s latest Accelerating NSW report analyses CAISH-focused data from the Startup Muster 2023 survey of the Australian startup ecosystem. It builds on ecosystem mapping, literature review and insights from qualitative interviews in our first Accelerating NSW report with new recommendations to increase CAISH impact.

The report finds:

  • the NSW CAISH ecosystem is maturing and scaling
  • many NSW CAISH entities actively collaborate with other CAISH entities and startup networks, but a large minority do not
  • half of regional NSW CAISH entities that responded to the survey are university-run but regional CAISH entities are less able to support as many startups as their counterparts in capital cities
  • startups most value CAISH entities’ networks and the mentor and peer-interactions they can access through CAISH entities
  • startups across Australia reported a low percentage of international customers, but a large proportion want to expand overseas in coming years
  • less than one third of startups that responded have female founders, highlighting an underrepresentation of women in the startup ecosystem
  • only a small percentage of startups are led by First Nations entrepreneurs, highlighting an opportunity for dedicated, Indigenous-led programs to support First Nations entrepreneurs
  • almost half of CAISH entities surveyed don’t track or report on their impact; only around a quarter of NSW CAISH entities track founder diversity metrics, job creation and the economic impact of supported startups.

The Council makes 6 overarching recommendations in the report to enhance the impact of CAISH entities in NSW.

These recommendations are mainly directed at the NSW Government, but all stakeholders across the innovation ecosystem will need to partner with government to produce results.

  1. Develop better data on the impact of CAISH entities
  2. Explore the need for greater capacity and awareness of CAISH entities in regional and rural NSW as they are core to supporting diverse founders
  3. Determine the best way to provide CAISH support for startups and scaleups to internationalise
  4. Support CAISH initiatives focused on gender equality in the startup ecosystem, including researching which initiatives are having the most impact
  5. Continue to fund and research the development of Indigenous-led CAISH initiatives for First Nations entrepreneurs and build on successes to date
  6. Amplify support for entrepreneurs from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

You can read the first report in this series, Accelerating NSW: the impact of coworking spaces, accelerators, incubators, and startup hubs.