NSW government invests AU$35m in new startup hub in Sydney

A number of existing coworking operators have already signed on as tenants of the Sydney Startup Hub on York Street in the CBD.

The NSW government announced on Thursday that it is investing AU$35 million into a new startup hub in Sydney, which it hopes will create 6,500 new jobs by housing and supporting local and international entrepreneurs and innovators.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sydney Startup Hub will be funded by Jobs for NSW, led by former Telstra CEO David Thodey.

Located in Sydney's Wynyard Green, the hub will be spread across more than 17,000 square metres and 11 floors, and will be occupied by approximately 2,500 residents.

"This is an unprecedented investment from the NSW government, which will support businesses and drive jobs growth across the state," Berejiklian said in a statement.

"More than 40 percent of the nation's startups are in NSW already and with the addition of this hub and the White Bay precinct we want to see that figure grow."

Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said the hub will "turbocharge the startup ecosystem".

A number of startup coworking operators -- including Fishburners, Stone & Chalk, Tank Stream Labs, and The Studio -- have signed on as tenants, either relocating their existing coworking space or adding a new branch.

Stone & Chalk is among the tenants relocating their existing hub. Its new Sydney home will span two floors in the new development, housing up to 600 residents -- 250 more than what is currently possible -- across more than 4,200 square metres of secure labs, coworking, meeting, and collaboration space.

The fintech coworking operator said this marks a 70 percent increase in residential capacity compared to its current space in the AMP building in Sydney CBD.

"This is a monumental milestone for Stone & Chalk, and more broadly for the Australian fintech scene," Alex Scandurra, CEO of Stone & Chalk, said in a statement.

"Affordable space remains the single largest barrier to build sustainable startup ecosystems ... Having reached capacity in 2016, the move to the Sydney Startup Hub will enable us to continue to support some of Australia's top scale-ups, and help the fintech sector contribute to more growth across the country."

Stone & Chalk said its residents have attracted more than AU$180 million of direct equity investment, and created 500 direct new jobs in the areas of fintech, cybersecurity, insurtech, data science, and connected devices.

Maile Carnegie, CDO at ANZ Bank, a corporate partner of Stone & Chalk, welcomed the news, saying that the new hub will help more Australian startups succeed.

The Sydney Startup Hub is expected to open in November this year.

In its 2017-18 Budget, the NSW government revealed it would be handing out more than AU$2.2 billion across skills training and business-related initiatives to help startups and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs).

One such initiative is the Business Connect Program, launched on January 1, 2017, which supports startups and SMEs through assisting the establishment of new businesses; supporting those already established; delivering workshops and seminars; referring startups and SMEs to services; and promoting digital readiness and engagement in the digital economy to businesses by increasing digital skills and knowledge.

The Budget has also committed AU$96 million to the Jobs for NSW initiative, aimed at encouraging continued business development and investment, as well as to stimulate jobs growth across the state.

Jobs for NSW recently handed out AU$10 million to grow the state's network of incubators and accelerators, and AU$3 million in 2016-2017 for direct grants to startups.

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