The New South Wales government has officially opened its Startup Hub in Sydney, with Microsoft announced as one of the main tenants.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian opened the hub on Wednesday morning, saying that it will house 2,500 entrepreneurs and create thousands of job opportunities across the whole of the state.
"NSW we know is already leading Australia when it comes to the startup community, but now we are a global and regional leader," Berejiklian said.
"NSW is always edging beyond the 40 percent mark for the proportion of startups we have in the nation, and I'm convinced we'll become at least half the startup capital of the nation in a short amount of time."
Announced last July, the Sydney Startup Hub spreads across more than 17,000 square metres and 11 floors. Located on York Street in Sydney's CBD, it is set to create 6,500 new jobs in the state. Its opening comes on the back of AU$35 million of investment over five years, funded by Jobs for NSW, led by former Telstra CEO David Thodey.
The state government detailed three main objectives for the hub: To support the creation of jobs across NSW; to grow the size and strength of Sydney's startup community; and to increase the diversity of the NSW startup community, with more startups from regional NSW and non-IT industries.
Fishburners, Stone & Chalk, Tank Stream Labs, and The Studio are among the tenants, which are either relocating their existing coworking spaces or adding a new branch.
Microsoft is making the hub one of eight locations globally to house its Microsoft Scale-Up accelerator program, which Berejiklian said will specialise in quantum computing.
Originally launched by the company in 2012, Microsoft Scale-Up has enabled around 650 startups to raise $3 billion in funding in programs based in Bangalore, Shanghai, Beijing, London, Berlin, Seattle, and Tel Aviv, according to Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall.
"Our aim is to be the 'glue' that connects the startup ecosystem in Australia," Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said. "Being part of the Sydney Startup Hub enables us to realise that ambition. For any business to succeed, it needs strong local and global connections, and we believe Microsoft can help a startup be global from the outset."
Microsoft said it will be an active tenant of the hub by running hackathons, investor pitch opportunities, and CEO sessions.
"The decision by Microsoft to move in is a huge vote of confidence in our city, our economy, and the people that make up our startup community," Berejiklian added.
"The most important thing for me is jobs growth; jobs for people in different industries across the board. And not just jobs that we've heard of today, but jobs for the future, literally things that we can't even imagine."
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-sized enterprises (SMEs).
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