Boosting Entrepreneurship

I spoke in parliament today about the launch of Entry 29, Canberra's newest place for start-ups.
Innovation in Canberra, 27 March 2013

Last Wednesday, I attended the launch of Entry 29, a co-working innovation space located just on the edge of the ANU campus in Acton. The name Entry 29 has a terrific connection to Canberra's history. In the federal capital design competition to design Canberra, 137 entries were submitted and the winner was the 29th entrant. In memory of Canberra's history and with an eye to Canberra's future, the Canberra community decided to call this innovation space Entry 29.

Entry 29 is a community-driven, not-for-profit company, whose aim is to provide a social and inspiring work space, where entrepreneurs can connect, create and collaborate on new and exciting opportunities. It also offers meeting facilities, access to mentors and service providers, including access to business advisers and financiers. Entry 29 has been driven by Canberra's start-up community in direct response to the need for affordable, collaborative accommodation for entrepreneurs and start-ups. It adds significantly to Canberra's track record as Australia's ideas capital—and we need to turn these ideas into business ventures. This is where Australia has great potential but has historically been weak.

Canberra has a wonderful record of innovation: Wi-Fi from the CSIRO; Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt's work on the expanding universe at ANU; and the great public policy entrepreneurs who populate the Australian Public Service. But the success of Entry 29 will be when one sees the office spaces around the ANU precinct being taken up by new business innovators, as one sees around the campuses of MIT and Stanford in the United States.

The hard work of volunteers from this community has gotten the facility ready for business. I want to thank Rory Ford, Nick McNaughton, Marcus Dawes, Craig Thomler, Anna Pino, Mick Cardew-Hall from the ANU, Peter Davison as well as my friend Andrew Barr, the Minister for Economic Development, for the ACT government's support for this vital innovation space.

I have spoken many times in this parliament about the need to support innovation. It was my pleasure last year to participate in a roundtable at Government House, along with Senator Sinodinos, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The roundtable was organised by Brian Schmidt in order to boost innovation in Australia. I regularly hold breakfast meetings for social entrepreneurs in my electorate because I believe we need to do more to encourage start-ups in the not-for-profit space. Entry 29 adds to that. It fills the gap that Australia has between the creation of ideas and the commercialisation of them. I wish the team at Entry 29 every success.

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