The NSW Government has pledged $20,000 in sponsorship to Fishburners, the Sydney-based incubator and collaborative working space for innovative start-ups.
State deputy premier Andrew Stoner announced the funding at yesterday’s Tech23 event, with the money set to be spent on upgrading internet and audio visual facilities, as well as support the commercialisation of tenants.
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Fishburners, named after a ship in the First Fleet, was launched in March this year. Located in the Sydney suburb of Ultimo, the office space consists of 60 desks and offers start-ups a desk, chair and internet access for $250 a month.
The space filled up within six weeks of launching, with around 45 early-stage ventures taking up residence.
A NSW Government spokeswoman says that the $20,000 sponsorship will run over the next financial year, with talks underway with “top tier” businesses for further sponsorship and investment.
At the Tech23 event, Stoner said: “This grassroots innovation factory supports the creation of innovative new companies by allowing technology start-ups to establish inexpensively, learn rapidly, create powerful networks of talent, become better entrepreneurs, and attract mentors, strategic resources and potential investment opportunities.”
“The NSW Government support for Fishburners complements our other efforts in the start-up and early stage sector which has included support for Tech23, the MEGA entrepreneurship masterclass, the Sydney Startup Weekend, the Australian Technology Showcase, and the Innovation Pathways Program.”
Peter Davison, PayPal investor and Fishburners co-founder, tells StartupSmart that he was hopeful that the concept would expand beyond its Sydney base.
“I threw down the challenge to the Government by saying that we wanted to open the doors to entrepreneurship and that there’s real movement at a grassroots level,” he says.
“They came and saw that we’d packed the place out and were very keen. I’m hopeful that sponsors will get on board, but only if they understand that we are fostering an economy organically, not picking winners.”
“Any business that gets involved has to understand that it’s not a commercial venture. It works well as a non-profit, but that also means that someone has to take the risk of opening new spaces.”
“However, the cost to a large organisation is miniscule. They think it will cost tens of millions of dollars, but for a few hundred thousand dollars, you can have three or four floors of Fishburners. They throw that kind of money away on an ad campaign.”