Trade Minister says Australia has a 'healthy disrespect' for rules and conventions

A healthy irreverence of the rules is in the DNA of every great entrepreneur, and the minister believes it's rampant down under.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham has praised entrepreneurs in Australia, mostly for their ability to bend the rules to create "great" innovations.

"Australia is a country that doesn't take itself too seriously, where indeed people have a healthy disrespect sometimes for the rules and conventions," he said.

"And what that means is we're able to think outside the square, and that's what driven some of the great innovations out of this country."

According to Birmingham, the government is trying to make sure that it is doing its part to help entrepreneurs and their startup ideas.

"Whether it's in government policy settings, to encourage angel investors, or whether it's in trade deals, such as those I've struck just this week in Indonesia, we facilitate the free-flow of data and ideas, recognising that data really is, of course, the oil of the new century of this time in terms of the way in which we can build new business models and new opportunities," he said.  

In offering advice as to how best to turn an idea into a viable business model, Birmingham said the key is "collaboration".

"Collaborate. Collaborate of course with each other, collaborate with government. We want to be as open as we possibly can. Take advantage of the opportunities we've created, such as the establishment of our Launching Pads in various locations across the world -- we know that to succeed out of a country of Australia 's size, you've got to be outward looking," he continued.

"That's why we keep tearing down trade barriers, that's why we encourage our companies to get out to the world and really by working together, sharing that knowledge, and seizing things such as our research and development grants and tax offsets."

The minister's comments were made during the opening keynote of Salesforce World Tour in Sydney on Wednesday, appearing on stage with Salesforce president and chief product officer Bret Taylor in announcing a new investment from the CRM giant into the Australian startup ecosystem.

Salesforce Ventures, the company's corporate investment arm, announced the Australia Trailblazer Fund, aimed at helping local startups scale.

With $50 million in tow, Salesforce expects the dedicated fund will allow Australian startups to scale and invest in innovation.

"Salesforce Ventures recognises the incredible opportunity to invest in Australian entrepreneurs to create world-class startups that will grow the opportunity within the Salesforce ecosystem and deliver customer success," Salesforce EVP of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures John Somorjai said. 

Birmingham said he was "thrilled" to have Salesforce make the commitment to Australia, calling it a great initiative for all of the many "innovators of today and those to come".


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