Australian startup landing pad to launch in Berlin

The federal government has revealed Berlin as the fourth location for its AU$11 million startup landing pad initiative.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian government has confirmed Berlin as the next location for its AU$11 million startup landing pad initiative, aimed at helping Australian entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market.

Making the announcement overnight in Germany, Minister for Trade and Investment, Steven Ciobo, said that given Berlin's vibrant and creative culture, the city was ideally positioned as a landing pad site for emerging Australian companies.

Ciobo hopes the Berlin landing pad will help Australian startups think globally, by tapping into entrepreneur, industry, and capital networks.

"It will also contribute to stronger ties with Europe's largest economy as Australia seeks to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union," he said.

In a joint statement with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, the Liberal duo called Berlin a leading source of global innovation and disruptive technology, as well as a low-cost business centre and the startup hub of Germany.

Pyne anticipates the landing pad will help market-ready startups access local partners with expertise, infrastructure, and innovation, as well as marketing networks.

"Berlin is an emerging major tech hub with an increasingly international startup community," Pyne said.

"Placing landing pads in innovation hot-spots will help entrepreneurial Australian companies access complementary entrepreneurial talent, mentoring, investors, and a wider connected network of innovation hubs."

"Both our countries see the importance of innovation, science and technology as drivers of economic prosperity."

According to both Pyne and Ciobo, Germany is one of Australia's key science collaboration partners, with 516 active bilateral agreements between Australian and German institutions.

Silicon Valley was revealed in February as the inaugural landing pad location, with the initiative taking up tenancy at RocketSpace technology campus in San Francisco.

Tel Aviv was then announced as the second host city for the government-funded project, and Shanghai was unveiled as the desired location for the third landing pad.

Each of the five landing pads will have its own locally engaged coordinator who the government said will bring their unique knowledge and experience to the table.

"Entrepreneurs accessing the landing pads will be assisted to commercialise their products and services through access to the expertise, infrastructure, and innovation and marketing networks of local partners," Pyne said previously.

"Landing pads are a key component of our agenda because they will build international collaboration performance by emerging Australian companies, enabling them to leverage the entrepreneurial expertise in these strategic hubs."

The AU$11 million cash injection given to Austrade for these landing pads forms part of the government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

In December, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged a total of AU$36 million over five years for its Global Innovation Strategy, aimed at improving Australia's international innovation and science collaboration.

"Innovation in our economy is key to our nation's future jobs and growth which is why the government is vigorously implementing its National Innovation and Science Agenda," Pyne said at the time.

"Landing pads form part of our global innovation strategy, a key component of the agenda, which will give Australian entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete globally.

"Our global innovation strategy will advance Australia's international collaboration performance and encourage Australians to leverage entrepreneurial expertise found in key locations overseas."

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