Population: 4.5 million
Start-up survival rate: 73.4% (2007 to 2009)
While few people – even Melburnians – would dispute Sydney’s position as the financial and big business hub of Australia, the city has suffered from a series of setbacks in recent years.
Dragged down by NSW’s anaemic economy and Sydney’s own problems, the city is in danger of being overtaken by Perth and Melbourne in terms of GDP importance.
Indeed, a recent report based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures shows that Sydney’s contribution to overall GDP has halved in the last 20 years, with Sydneysiders’ frequent grumbles about the cost of housing and clogged transport arteries seemingly well justified.
That said, Sydney is still a heavy hitter when it comes to the start-up world, although some budding entrepreneurs have complained about the lack of “community” between new ventures.
The innovative heart of Sydney still beats, however, and a number of initiatives launched in the city by the state government and entrepreneurs should start to bear fruit.
Seed accelerators PushStart and Startmate were founded in Sydney, while incubator Pollenizer continues to churn out graduates that hit the big time, ranging from group buying business Spreets, which was sold to Yahoo for $40 million, to Twitter payment app Pygg, which is tipped for big things after raising $600,000 in funding.
The Silicon Beach networking meet-ups are now well established in Sydney and co-working spaces are beginning to take hold too, with Fishburners recently opening an additional space in Darlinghurst for start-ups eager to share ideas, and desks, with others.
Indeed, such is the growth in nimble, tech-savvy businesses that local incubator BlueChilli has put together this rather fun map of the leading Sydney players.
Following a worrying dip in 2009, Sydney’s position as a premier tourist destination has been strengthened by a 13% year-on-year jump in visitors in 2011, with 7.7 million people spending their money at local Sydney businesses.